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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Trump Effect? Pollster Finds Many More Self-Described Independents In Washington State

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What effect will Donald Trump have on down ballot Republicans in Washington state?

It’s the question everyone seems to be asking. What effect will Donald Trump have on down ballot Republicans?

We’ll have to wait to see until after the election, but a longtime Washington state pollster said he’s already seeing a possible Trump effect on voters, with fewer of them self-identifying as Republicans.

Stuart Elway said one of his stand-by poll questions is: if you had to register by party to vote in Washington, which party would you choose?

“We’ve got the most independents that we’ve had since 2000,” Elway said. “We’ve had the fewest Republicans that we’ve had since 1992, since I’ve been doing this Elway poll, so that’s the underlying story.”

Elway’s latest poll gives Democrats a 16-point advantage over Republicans in terms of party identification. The poll also shows Democrats leading in four of six down-ballot statewide races.

Elway spoke with Austin Jenkins Thursday on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” program.