Sprint to the Finish (55 days to the election)

We love where we are – our reservations, small towns, Spokane, Bellingham, Seattle – you get the picture.  But we are especially grateful for the fact that we live in a state where Native American voters make up approximately two and a half percent of the State’s voters which is north of 120,000 Indian votes here.  That’s a lot of votes and it means that the Indian vote has a serious impact on a lot of races – from the much ballyhooed Obama versus McCain presidential race to the Governor’s race, to the competitive Congressional matchups, and to the State House and Senate races.


We don’t have to remind you that the margin of victory for Governor Christine Gregoire in 2004 was only 133 votes.  Or that Senator Maria Cantwell eked out a 2,229 vote win in 2000 over Slade Gorton.


But we will remind you that if just 60% of our eligible Native American voters register and vote, that means there will be more than 70,000 Native votes up for grabs. 


A review of voting data in the 2004 elections show that voting on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and the Zuni Reservation in New Mexico, averaged almost 80-20 for John Kerry over George Bush.


We will be conducting a Native preference poll in the next couple of weeks, but until then, let’s make a rebuttable projection that has Washington Natives voting along the 2004 lines.  That means Obama and Gregoire would hold a 42,000 vote advantage in Washington over McCain and Rossi.


But that’s not in line with the most recent Survey USA poll that shows the Obama vs McCain race neck and neck!  Obama’s 7 point lead has shrunk to 4 points (close to the margin of error) and Rossi has surged ahead of Gregoire by 1 point, which while a statistical tie, represents a 3 point drop for the Governor.


SO, a wise word to the Campaigns – If you want to tap into the Native Vote, you need to do so quickly and with gusto!  The votes that can determine the outcome of your races are there for the taking.  But if you don’t do your field work or don’t tell us you care about issues that matter to Native voters you are going to end up GIVING the election away.


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