Voters say Luce Research called them last week to test different ways for business candidates to attack District 3 city council candidate Alex Hudson and District 4 city council candidate Ron Davis. Right now it’s unclear who exactly paid for the survey, but its questions offer a preview of how the big money will frame the rest of the election ahead of the November 7 deadline. As always, it appears the conservatives plan to try to scare voters into supporting candidates who think we can punish the addiction and poverty out of people, which is the same strategy we’ve been using for the last several decades. 

A D3 voter told The Stranger he received a call from Luce Research, a vendor that pollsters use to make calls, earlier this week. The caller asked him if he felt positively or negatively about sitting City Council Member Kshama Sawant and who he planned to vote for. The voter said if he had to vote today, he would pick Hudson. Then, the caller ran down different potential attacks on Hudson and asked if the claims would change his mind.

The caller asked if he would be swayed by the following messages: Hudson plans to defund the police, to hire fewer cops than Hollingsworth, to ignore “open-air public drug use,” and to align with council extremists.

The D3 voter told The Stranger that some of those statements would actually make him more likely to vote for Hudson. 

A D4 voter told The Stranger that he received a call from the same company testing the same messages. The voter recalled Luce Research asking about his opinion on current D4 representative Alex Pedersen, business-backed candidate Maritza Rivera, and Davis, who takes up the left lane in the race. 

The caller asked who he planned to vote for. The voter said he would vote for Davis, triggering basically the same questions that Luce Research asked about Hudson. 

In both cases the caller did not suggest that any of the “negative” claims were true, but if the pollster finds that voters reacted negatively to those sentiments, then conservative candidates will likely highlight those issues to give the pearl-clutchers something to clutch about. On top of that, the PACs will seize on the most salient negative messaging and use it in their mailers and TV spots, presenting voters with caricatures of the candidates that will make them appear much cooler than they actually are. 

For one, Davis told The Seattle Times that he would not defund the police, and Hudson did not give a firm answer in the same survey. Not exactly agents of antifa.

Secondly, Davis told the Seattle Times he would not support hiring 1,400 cops, but that number, which Rivera wants, is totally unrealistic given the Seattle Police Department’s staffing projections and the national cop shortage, and so, he’s argued, saying he supports it would amount to trying to sell voters a bill of goods. Hudson does not want 1,400 cops either, and Hollingsworth did not give a firm answer to the Times anyway.

Thirdly, Hudson and Davis do not want to “ignore” open-air drug markets. These candidates reject the idea that prosecuting public drug use will effectively solve the drug epidemic that conservatives care about, and to support their view they point to every expert ever. And for the record, Hollingsworth said the City should not prosecute public drug use, either. 

Finally, which council extremists? In relation to the other “negative” questions, the pollster clearly means to evoke the council members on the left. However, the only council member who could qualify as far-left is lone socialist Sawant, who won’t be on the council to “align” with next year anyway. Otherwise, based on the results of the August primary, progressives Tammy Morales and Teresa Mosqueda seem to be incredibly popular–not fringe extremists. 

Hudson doesn’t seem too worried about the silly polls because she believes people want real policy solutions, she said. 

“These conservative special interests are so afraid of having an effective progressive on council that they have to make up a false narrative and tell lies about me, what I’ve done, and what I stand for,” Hudson said. “This boogeyman rhetoric is so tired, Seattleites are sick of it, and D3 residents are smart enough to see through it.”