Susan Hutchison leads Dow Constantine in the King County Executive race, 47% to 44%, not that this information would be available to you if the Seattle Times were your primary source of local news; a search of their website this morning found no mention of the King5/SurveyUSA poll conducted September 1st through 3rd.
The Seattle P-I does a bit better; they report the results, but with the rather misleading headline, “Poll: Constantine closes gap on Hutchison in exec’s race.”
While not an outright lie, the P-I is playing Spin the Headline and making a good game of it. To arrive at this conclusion, the P-I compares the new results to pre-primary poll results, when the Democrat vote was split between three relatively strong candidates – Constantine, Fred Jarrett and Ross Hunter. If the P-I wanted to call attention to the real news, wouldn’t a more appropriate headline have been, “Poll: Constantine fails to take lead over Hutchison in exec’s race?”
Both headlines are true, after a fashion, but one cuts right to the heart of the news; the other, well, deliberately directs attention away from it.
The lead is within the margin of error. Even so, it’s extremely interesting that Hutchison, the more conservative of the two candidates, is quite possibly leading this race. The fact that Constantine isn’t polling ahead in a field cleared of liberal competition in ultra-liberal King County is actually rather astonishing, evidenced by the fact that the local media is busy providing cover. Here’s to hoping it’s a sign of things to come.
(How liberal is King County? For those of you who don’t know, Seattle, in the heart of the county, will have two liberal Democrats on the mayoral ballot this fall as a result of Washington’s misguided top-two primary system. So much for choice.)