A new Rasmussen survey shows more likely voters trust Republicans (49%) more than Democrats (38%) to handle crime and law enforcement issues.
By no small coincidence, this poll might be good news in a gubernatorial race in Washington state, where former King County sheriff and former seven-term Congressman Dave Reichert is running as a Republican in a state that hasn’t elected a Republican gubernatorial candidate in nearly four decades.
The Rasmussen survey, released last week, suggests Democrats are in trouble on the crime issue. In the Evergreen State, there is much to be troubled about, as indicated on Reichert’s campaign website. There, one finds this statement: “Washington has become a haven for crime, drugs, homelessness, human trafficking, and other serious problems. In fact, the latest Washington State crime report detailed how murders and armed robberies are up, car jackings are up, and domestic violence continues to rise.”
The latest report from the state Department of Licensing shows Washington concealed pistol license number are on the way back up, following a four-month slump. On Oct. 2, the agency reported there were more than 696,500 active CPLs in the state, which is no small thing for a state that has voted “blue” nationally for decades. Apparently, even liberals are alarmed at growing violent crime, which many believe is the result of policies pushed by Democrats whose political support comes from those same liberals.
According to the Rasmussen survey, “Sixty-six percent (66%) of Republicans believe the issue of crime will be Very Important in the 2024 election, as do 42% of Democrats and 49% of voters not affiliated with either major party.”
Overall, Rasmussen said, “Eighty-three percent (83%) believe crime will be an important issue in the 2024 presidential election, including 52% who expect the issue to be Very Important. Only 15% don’t think crime will be an important issue in next year’s election. These findings are nearly unchanged since August.”
Violent crime, and especially homicide, has gone up over the past eight years as Washington voters have approved two restrictive gun control initiatives and Seattle adopted a special tax on gun and ammunition sales in the city. All of those measures were sold to the public as preventative measures against violent crime, but according to the body counts since 2015, all three have been abject failures.
Into this scenario enters Reichert, who says on his campaign website, “As a detective and then as Sheriff, I was fortunate to lead an outstanding investigative team that worked tirelessly to capture and apprehend the ‘Green River Killer’ – the second most notorious serial killer in U.S. history…As Governor, I will use my experience on the street and in the trenches to change this lawlessness and make you and your family feel safe again.”
The leading Democrat in Washington’s 2024 gubernatorial race is Attorney General Bob Ferguson. In his third term, he has supported tougher gun control laws, appeared at gun control events, and appears likely to continue the policies of outgoing Gov. Jay Inslee, whose climate change agenda is unpopular with many voters.
Ferguson was recently slammed by the state Supreme Court for his office’s prosecution of a case against Value Village, a thrift chain. A judge in the case called the state’s lawsuit against the chain “needless,” and last week, the court ordered Ferguson’s office to pay the company more than $4.2 million in legal fees, according to the Daily Olympian.
If Rasmussen’s survey is correct, and crime does become a major 2024 campaign issue, the debate will look at polling data which says “Republicans (86%) and Democrats (77%) trust their own party more to deal with the crime issue. Unaffiliated voters are more than twice as likely to trust Republicans (51%) as Democrats (23%) to handle crime and law enforcement issues.” Those “unaffiliated voters” are Independents, and in Washington state they sway elections.