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Lowest amount of Washingtonians identifying as Republicans in years

The Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. (AP)

It’s always long been a bit difficult for Republicans in Washington state to say the least, as those who aren’t Republican love reminding them.

So it’s not entirely surprising to hear the seemingly-gleeful report that the gap between the parties in Washington state appears to be the largest it’s ever been. According to a study from Crosscut and state pollster Stuart Elway, there is a 20 point differential, with 41 percent of state voters now identifying as Democrat, and 21 percent identifying as Republican.

“It’s actually interesting because there are also less people as a whole identifying as Democrat,” said KTTH’s Jason Rantz, joining the Tom and Curley Show. “But there is a pretty significant gap between it. It’s going back to the idea of the Trump effect, that there are a lot of Republicans here who are disgusted by the president and a lot of moderates or independents who are disgusted so they end up going with the Democratic Party.”

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“I just don’t know if this is the right way to make that point, that there’s this gap between Democrats and Republicans because there’s always been a gap. Yes, it’s a little bit lower, but when we’re talking about these local races, I don’t know this is as important … You’re seeing a whole bunch of Seattleites identifying as a Democrat. OK, but that’s going to skew the numbers a little bit.”

According to The Seattle Times, this has trended precipitously worse for state Republicans over time, with 35 percent identifying as Republicans about 20 years ago, 30 percent in 2012 and 25 percent by 2016. For KIRO Radio’s John Curley, the issue is partly how locals perceive being a Republican, especially considering exaggerated media portrayals.

“If you want to take somebody who is a Democrat in in King County, let’s say, and you say, ‘Do you agree with this, this, and this, like income taxes and other things?’ They would most likely say, ‘Yeah, I’m OK on those things,'” Curley said.

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“But then you say, ‘Well welcome to the Republican party,’ and they say, ‘Absolutely no way I won’t be associated with the Republican Party.’ As soon as they hear ‘Republican,’ it fires off a bunch of headlines that they’ve heard, of crazy people that are on the hard right and that do horrible things. So, therefore, you wouldn’t want to be associated with them.”

“Or how they will be judged by colleagues and friends and neighbors because we’ve got a rather loud contingent of people who want to pretend conservatives are all literal Nazis,” Jason added.

Listen to the Tom and Curley Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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