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caption: Students hold up signs during a walkout to protest the election of Donald Trump as president, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Seattle.
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Students hold up signs during a walkout to protest the election of Donald Trump as president, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Seattle.
Credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The number of Democrats in Washington is growing under Trump

Washington state has the biggest partisan spread since 1992, according to the most recent poll.

The number of voters identifying as Republican is slipping in Washington state, while the number for Democrats is growing.

A new Crosscut/Stuart Elway poll shows just 21 percent of registered voters identify as a Republican, 41 percent as a Democrat, and 38 percent independent or don't know/not available. The margin of error is 4.5 percent. The poll surveyed 500 registered voters in the state in early August.

"The Democrats' party identification seems to do well when Republicans are in the White House, in Washington state," Elway said.

He said more people started calling themselves Democrats during the George W. Bush Administration.

"By the end of Bush's first term the Democrat advantage was about 8 points. By the end of his second term the gap was 14 points in favor of the Democrats. Then it pretty much stayed that way through the Obama Administration, and now [under] Trump it's a 20 point gap," Elway said.

Washington state's Republican party is focusing attention right now on opposing Governor Inslee's run for re-election.

Chairman of the state Republican Party, Caleb Heimlich, says there is a dichotomy within their party when it comes to national politics but he wants people to look past it. "So there's people in our party do support the president, but at the end of the day when you're voting for governor, for state house and state senate you need to ask yourself what's happening here at the local level," says Heimlich.

"Do you want a state income tax? Because that's what's in the state Democratic Party platform," he says.

The Washington State Democratic Party does support a state income tax, if offset by cuts in regressive taxes.

Heimlich says the Republican party is working to gain supporters as it heads into 2020. "We've trained over 1,600 activists, just getting people active in communities, talking about what Republicans are doing at the local level."

Their message to voters is that the Democratic leaders have worked to raised taxes and that Governor Inslee spent taxpayer money running for president. Heimlich says they are not yet ready to endorse a candidate for governor and anticipate more Republicans will enter the race.