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Voting red, blue or purple? ‘Significant shift’ expected nationwide, but locally?

For the past 10 years, Chelan and Douglas county voters have mostly favored Republican candidates. There are pockets of blue in places like Leavenworth, south Wenatchee and Rock Island, but the two counties are mostly red.

Whether the trend continues remains to be seen until Tuesday’s election, which includes federal, state and local races.

Cornell Clayton.

I think the fundamentals suggest that you’re going to see a significant shift in favor of Democratic candidates” nationwide, said Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University.

According to a Gallup poll for the week ending Sunday, President Donald Trump’s approval rating nationally was 40 percent.

Between that and successful fundraising efforts by Democrats, it looks like the odds are in that party’s favor, Clayton said. The party holding the presidency typically does worse in mid-term elections, he added.

Now, in many ways, it’s hard to predict just because we’re in sort of uncharted political waters with the Trump presidency and his intense base strategy, which he’s cranking up now,” he said.

That is clearly having some impact in terms of increasing motivation on the Republican side. If you look at the results so far of ballots cast to date … Republicans have a slight advantage there. And you would expect that, especially in red states. In a state like Washington where we’re so divided, it’s hard to tell how that will play out.”

Clayton said he’s noticed an increase in “purple” districts since the last mid-term election.

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Wenatchee World

A blue wave or a ripple? 5 things to watch in Tuesday’s election

Democrats in Washington state are gearing up to have a big election night Tuesday. Just how big will it be? Here are a few things to watch for as the results come in.

Democrats in Washington state may have ample reason to celebrate Tuesday night. The August primary, which often serves as a predictor of general-election results in state legislative races, saw Democrats outperforming GOP candidates in 16 races for legislative seats now held by Republicans.

Meanwhile, Democrats are making strong runs for three of Washington’s Republican-held congressional seats, including that of U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, who is retiring from the 8th Congressional District. Elsewhere, Republican U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is fending off a challenge from Lisa Brown, a former state Senate majority leader, while U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is locked in a tight race against Democrat Carolyn Long.

President Trump has gone all out in recent days to stoke fears surrounding illegal immigration, including sending thousands of troops to the U.S. border to meet a still-distant migrant caravan and pledging to end birthright citizenship.

Cornell Clayton.

But those issues are unlikely to motivate Republican voters in Washington state—and could end up alienating highly educated suburban women, said Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy at Washington State University.

This could hurt Rossi in the 8th District, which includes suburbs in east Pierce and King counties, as well as Herrera Beutler in Southwest Washington’s 3rd Congressional District, Clayton said.

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Seattle Times

Facebook, Google and Twitter shine light on campaign ads — but only so far

The companies acted under threats of federal regulation after reports that Russian operatives bought politically divisive social media ads under fake names.

A push this year by tech companies to open a window on the political ads that they sell has failed to satisfy lawmakers and researchers who worry that shadowy groups could still use the services to manipulate voters before an election.

Facebook, Google and Twitter all launched searchable databases this year that allow people to see details of election-related advertisements that run on theirs sites. People who visit the databases online can see videos and images from the ads, as well as spending data and, in theory, who is behind each of the ads. But huge loopholes in the databases remain, lawmakers and researchers say.

Travis Ridout.
Travis Ridout

Travis Ridout, a Washington State University political science professor, said the tech companies’ databases are better than what existed before, “which was nothing,” he said. But their efforts aren’t everything that advocates for transparency hoped for.

“They sort of have a bargain right now: that government will not intervene if the companies take some responsibility,” Ridout said. Whether that bargain continues, he said, “I’m not certain.”

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NBC News

In Oregon Governor’s Race, The 30-Second TV Ad Still Rules

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and Republican challenger Knute Buehler, locked in the most expensive gubernatorial race in Oregon history, are pouring most of their money into a form of campaigning that hasn’t changed much in decades: 30-second TV ads.

Buehler, a state representative from Bend, has spent more than $8.3 million on broadcast and cable advertising while Brown has spent more than $7.1 million, according to campaign disclosure reports.

Travis Ridout.
Travis Ridout

“If you want to send a message quickly to a lot of people, then TV is still the best way to do it,” said Travis Ridout, a political science professor at Washington State University who is a co-director of the Wesleyan group.

Although an increasing amount of political advertising is being directed toward the internet, traditional TV still gets the lion’s share of political spending.

Kantar Media, a firm that works with Wesleyan to track advertising, projects that campaigns across the country will spend more than $3.2 billion on broadcast and cable by the time people are done voting on Nov. 6. In contrast, digital spending will total about $600 million in this campaign.

Ridout and other experts say politicians are attracted to broadcast and cable for a number of reasons. For one, older voters are still more apt to stick to traditional TV viewing—and they are also the people most likely to vote.

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Herald and News
KLCC – click to view
Jefferson Public Radio


Spokane voting heavy in early balloting

Spokane County voters are sending in their general election ballots in record numbers, far ahead of previous midterm elections and even ahead of 2008, when the county set a modern-day record for turnout.

Whether that’s good news for Democratic challengers like congressional candidate Lisa Brown or Republican incumbents like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers remains to be seen.

Cornell Clayton.

“This would suggest a wave election,” said Cornell Clayton, professor of political science and director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University.

Wave elections tend to favor candidates from the party other than the president, Clayton said, and that would be Democrats like Brown. But there are more Republican voters overall in Eastern Washington.

The 58,238 ballots received by Thursday afternoon represent more than 18 percent of those mailed to county voters last week.

Predictions of an election surge benefiting Democrats—the so-called blue wave—are based on President Donald Trump’s relatively low approval rating, the Democratic advantage in generic polls asking voters which party they prefer, and higher reported enthusiasm among Democrats, Clayton said.

But Republicans are trying to make a comeback, and Trump is “doing everything he can” to encourage that, he added.

“We’re in uncharted political waters,” Clayton said. “Things are incredibly polarized.”

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