DHM Research

How Are Washingtonians Feeling Going Into 2024?

In December, DHM Research surveyed likely voters in Washingtonian to gauge public opinion across a variety of topics heading into 2024. Here are some of our key takeaways.

A majority of Washingtonians still feel the state is on the wrong track.
Line chart depicting responses over time from 2008 to 2023/2024 to the prompt "All in all, would you say Washington state is headed in the right direction or are things on the wrong track?"

54% say Washington is on the wrong track compared to only 33% who say the state is headed in the right direction—a pattern that has persisted since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Opinions on Washington’s direction are highly partisan; 63% of Democrats say Washington is headed in the right direction compared to only 12% of Republicans. Those who describe themselves as independent or outside the political party binary also lean negative; 23% say right direction compared to 63% wrong track.

Homelessness, cost of living, and public safety continue to top the list of most important problems facing Washington today.

Consistent with DHM’s August 2023 survey, homelessness (26%), cost of living (16%), and crime/public safety (9%) remain the top three issues voters flagged as most important. Homelessness is most pressing in King County where 35% say it is the top issue (compared to 25% in the rest of western Washington and 16% in eastern Washington. Homelessness has been on the radar as a top issue in Washington since 2017, but the situation is starting to gain attention nationally. The 2023 U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Homelessness Report indicates that homelessness nationwide grew by 12% from 2022 to 2023. As more communities and community members are impacted by homelessness, local and federal policy makers alike will continue to look for solutions to increase housing stock, decrease housing prices, and provide other services for those affected.

Voters continue to feel worried about their personal financial situations despite feeling split about the direction of Washington’s economy broadly.

Overall, Washingtonians are split on the economic conditions, with 46% indicating they view conditions as good while 49% view them as poor—a split consistent with the rest of 2023. However, while only 49% say the economic conditions are poor, 65% say they are worried about their personal financial situation; nearly 1 in 6 feel positively about Washington’s economic conditions but negatively about their personal financial situation.

Data visualization lollipop chart depicting splits between worry about personal financial situations and rating Washington’s economic conditions. Splits are demonstrated by income level and political party.

The data suggest that income levels drive some of the observed disconnect. Folks with household incomes under $50K per year have a 25-percentage point difference between their worry about personal finances and their negativity toward economic conditions. However, partisanship is again at play. Democrats are more willing to say they view the economic conditions as positive while worrying about their personal economic situation. We see a 29-percentage point difference for Democrats and only a 4-percentage point difference among Republicans. We also asked folks what would most improve their personal financial situations in the next year. The top answers: lower taxes (27%), lower housing costs (24%), and a higher wage (24%).