Washington Poll: Liquor initiative leads, road tolls measure too close to call

Poll conducted by University of Washington also shows support for tax increases

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A state ballot initiative that would privatize liquor sales leads by a significant margin in the new statewide Washington Poll, but one on project-specific road tolls is too close to call.

The poll also indicated that in the 2012 governor’s race, Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, leads Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, by 6 percentage points among all voters and by 16 among independents. In the presidential race, Barack Obama is far ahead of Republican rivals.

If Initiative 1183 is passed in the Nov. 8 election, state liquor stores would be closed and assets auctioned off. Private parties would be licensed to sell and distribute liquor, set license fees, regulate licenses and change regulation of wine distribution. In the poll, 50 percent of voters favored the initiative; 43 percent opposed it.

Initiative 1125 would prohibit use of motor vehicle fund revenues and vehicle toll revenues for non-transportational purposes. It would also require the Legislature to set road and bridge tolls and make them project specific.

The survey showed voters evenly divided: 41.4 percent in favor of the measure, 40 percent against, with 19 percent undecided.

Almost 45 percent of voters favored McKenna in next year’s gubernatorial race while almost 38 percent favored Inslee.

In the presidential race, voters said they would favor Obama over former Gov. Mitt Romney, 50 percent to 41 percent, and would favor Obama over Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 54 percent to 41 percent.

Voters said they have more confidence in Obama and Democrats than in Republicans but it was close: 41 percent versus 37 percent.

Nearly half of those polled – 47 percent — said they favor a law to allow gay marriage, while 31 percent said no.

Asked whether they would favor legalization and regulation of marijuana in Washington, 48 percent approved, 42 percent disapproved.

Asked about remedies for the $1.5 billion state budget deficit, the largest percentage of voters, 39 percent, favored both spending cuts and tax increases.

The poll surveyed 938 registered voters from Oct. 10-30. Interviews were conducted via both land-line telephone and cell phones. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. The survey is administered at the University of Washington Center for Survey Research and directed by Matt Barreto, an associate professor of political science.

Full results are posted at http://www.washingtonpoll.org.