The first truly independent poll of voters in WA-08 shows that Jason Rittereiser (left) does well with independents.
The first truly independent poll of voters in WA-08 shows Jason Rittereiser (left) beating Dino Rossi 50 to 47. Courtesy of the Rittereiser, Schrier, and Hader Campaigns

A poll from a national Democratic group shows former King County prosecutor Jason Rittereiser defeating Republican Dino Rossi by three four points in a head-to-head race to replace Congressman Dave Reichert in Washington's 8th Congressional District, according to four people briefed on the results.

Public health doctor Shannon Hader ties Rossi, according to the poll, while pediatrician Kim Schrier loses by five points.

The poll was commissioned by the Nancy Pelosi-affiliated House Majority PAC.

Soruces briefed on its results requested anonymity for fear of being accused of meddling in the primary. One source hasn't donated to any of the campaigns, but the the rest have supported multiple candidates. Three of the sources have given to Rittereiser's campaign, two have donated to Hader's, and one has contributed money to Schrier. All say they will throw their full support behind whichever Democrat wins the primary.


Here's the poll. Read it if you want to learn one pollster's recommendation for defeating Dino. A few of the numbers I reported on Friday are a little off, so please read my corrections below. Though some of the numbers are a little different, the takeaway remains the same: 1.) all the Democratic candidates are competitive, but Rossi basically has the advantages of an incumbent 2.) Independent voters seem to like Rittereiser's profile the best 3.) Democrats need to woo Independent voters if they want to win.

I could not obtain a copy of the poll, but a representative from the House Majority PAC confirmed they recently surveyed in the district. Sources say on May 15th the PAC invited select people to participate in a conference call about the poll on May 18th. During that call, representatives from the PAC relayed their findings.

I called each source and asked what they heard over the phone and what they wrote down. All of the numbers they provided matched perfectly or were off by one point. Some of them wrote down information the others didn't. I'll go over the poll results all four sources agree on, and indicate numbers only two or three of them confirmed.

The pollsters surveyed 900 likely voters in the 8th District in mid-April.

From this sample, pollsters tested name recognition, favorables and unfavorables for Rossi, and the job performances of other politicians.

All sources remember the poll indicating that the district cares about "middle class pocket book issues," and that Rossi's positives from previous campaigns have stuck but his negatives haven't. "They think he's a bipartisan moderate," one person said.

Rossi beats all the Democrats on name recognition by a wide margin.

Two sources say Trump's net approval rating in the district is negative 18 percentage points, Gov. Jay Inslee is up 8 points 52 percent of people think Gov. Jay Inslee is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, and Senator Maria Cantwell approval rating stands at 57 percent beats Patriot Prayer dude Joey Gibson with 57 percent of the vote. This 900-person sample had a 3 to 3.5 percent margin of error.

The poll then broke down the 900-person sample into three 300-person samples to test head-to-head match-ups between Rossi and each of the Democratic candidates. These polls had a 5 percent 5.7 percent margin of error.

Before reading positive or negative information about any of the candidates, Rossi beats Schrier and Hader by 6 points and he beats Rittereiser by 9 points. Rossi wins 51 to 45 against Schrier and Hader, and he beats Rittereiser 52 to 43.

After reading positive and negative information about each of the candidates, Rittereiser beats Rossi 50 to 47 46, Hader ties Rossi 48 to 48, and Schrier loses 51 to 46.

All sources said Rittereiser's gains came largely from Independents, and two sources specifically said Rittereiser saw the biggest gains among women who identify as Independents.

Schrier currently leads the pack in terms of fundraising and size of endorsements. She also appears to have gotten a little help from the Washington State Democrats, though she and the party deny any preference from state party leaders. But the House Majority PAC poll shows Rittereiser and Hader doing better than Schrier in a face-off with Rossi, particularly among Independent voters.

Now, these results come from only one poll, and negative/positive profiles of the candidates are different than entire campaigns, but the House Majority PAC poll is the first and only independent poll of voters in WA-08 that I know of. All the other polling has come from the campaigns.

*Further Updates*

Jeb Fain with HMP sends along the following statement:

The most important takeaway from this poll is that Dino Rossi can be beaten and, despite spending tens of millions of dollars losing three statewide elections, finds himself in an incredibly vulnerable position. The poll also shows that all of the leading Democrats are competitive with Rossi. Our focus is on making sure voters in the 8th District know who the real Dino Rossi is – not a friend of the middle class who opposed increasing the minimum wage and paid family leave – and we look forward to strongly supporting the Democrat who emerges from the primary.