PPIC: Gov, Senate races tight, drilling a no-go

The latest Public Policy Institute of California poll shows likely voters are closely divided between Democrat Jerry Brown (37 percent) and Republican Meg Whitman (34 percent) for governor, with 23 percent undecided. Independents voters are split – 30 percent for Brown, 28 percent for Whitman and 30 percent undecided.

The same poll shows a similarly tight U.S. Senate race, with 39 percent of likely voters supporting Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer, 34 percent supporting Republican nominee Carly Fiorina and 22 percent undecided. Boxer’s lead is similar among independents, with 35 percent backing her, 29 percent backing Fiorina and 25 percent undecided.

The numbers came as part of PPIC’s survey of “Californians and the Environment.” Of those likely voters saying that a candidate’s environmental positions are very important in determining their vote, 50 percent would vote for Brown and 16 percent would vote for Whitman; among those who say a candidate’s environmental positions are somewhat important, Whitman is favored 42 percent to 33 percent. Similarly, those who view candidates’ positions on the environment as very important are three times as likely to support Boxer (54 percent) as Fiorina (18 percent), while those who say candidates’ views on the environment are somewhat important are evenly divided, 37 percent to each candidate.

Among the poll’s findings on other environmental issues:

  • The Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster’s effects are clearly visible, as a solid majority of the state’s residents now oppose more offshore drilling (59 percent of California adults oppose, 36 percent favor), which is a 16-point increase in opposition from last year. It’s a partisan split; 72 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents oppose more drilling, while 64 percent of Republicans favor it.
  • Just 21 percent have either a great deal (8 percent) or good amount (13 percent) of confidence in the government to make the right decisions in dealing with the Gulf of Mexico spill; residents also lack confidence in the federal government’s ability to prevent future spills, with about three in 10 very (7 percent) or fairly (21 percent) confident, 32 percent not very confident, and 37 percent not confident at all.
  • Californians are divided (49 percent oppose, 44 percent favor) about building more nuclear power plants to address the nation’s energy needs and reduce dependence on foreign oil; 57 percent of Democrats are opposed, while 67 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independents favor building more plants now. Overwhelming majorities favor increasing federal funding to develop wind, solar, and hydrogen technology (83 percent), and requiring automakers to significantly improve the fuel efficiency of cars sold in this country (83 percent).
  • Support for AB 32 – the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction law, now under fire by Proposition 23 – remains strong at 67 percent of California adults; it was at 66 percent last year. Asked whether the government should act to reduce emissions right away or wait until the state economy and job situation improve, a slim majority (53 percent) said California should act right away, while 42 percent said the state should wait.
  • And among other political findings:

  • President Barack Obama’s approval rating is at 56 percent among all adults, 54 percent among registered voters and 50 percent among likely voters.
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval rating is at 25 percent among all adults, 24 percent among registered voters and 25 percent among likely voters.
  • The California Legislature’s approval rating is at 15 percent among all adults, 12 percent among registered voters and 10 percent among likely voters.
  • Only 15 percent of all adults believe California is generally headed in the right direction; that number drops to 11 percent among registered voters and 8 percent among likely voters.
  • Only 25 percent of all adults see good economic times ahead for California; that number drops to 22 percent among registered voters and 19 percent among likely voters.
  • Findings are based on a telephone survey of 2,502 California adult residents reached by landline and cell phones throughout the state from July 6 through 20, with interviews conducted in English, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese), Vietnamese, and Korean. The margins of error are two percentage points for all adults; 2.2 percentage points for the 1,971 registered voters; and 2.7 percentage points for the 1,321 likely voters.

    Josh Richman

    Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

    • Steve Harmon

      And, if anyone’s interested in a deeper look at the governor’s poll numbers, take a peek at my story, at:


    • For Liberty


      Californians aren’t satisfied with their two party options in the gubernatorial race, as indicated in the polls, no matter how much money the candidates have to spend. The only constitutionally and liberty minded choice for governor is Chelene Nightingale, otherwise, it’s over for the Golden State. Mark my words. Brown or Whitman will be soon standing in line at the White House with their hands outstretched, asking for a bail out. With the bail out, goes our state sovereignty. Nightingale is our last chance, our last hope!!

    • Bob Mulholland

      Good analysis by reporter Steve Harmon.
      The problem Whitman & Fiorina have is they are Republicans who are basically running on the argument that Bush Jr’s economics policies were correct and President Clinton’s (the best economy the world has ever seen and budget surpluses) were wrong.
      And with Fiorina, the more voters find out she was a failure as HPs CEO and got fired in 2005 for arrongance and incompetence, the worse it gets for Whitman & Fiorina.

    • Sara and Meg WHO ??!!

      What the woman from Atherton and her handelers do not appear to grasp (amongst other things) is that you cannot, on one hand, claim fiscal conservatism and responsibility while, on the other hand, attempt to do so by outspending any comparable effort.

      One measure of EFFECTIVENESS is doing more with less and, unfortunately, Meg, with one of her first and most public actions to date, has given California electorate many 10’s of millions of reasons to believe that she is incapable of planning and executing without outspending.

      This obvious “elephant in the room” is simply ignored by the Whitman handelers, presumably in hopes that voters wont notice.

      Perhaps CA electorate are not as ignorant as Whitman had first believed (?)

    • CA Voter

      Chelene Nightingale remains the best choice as governor and thanks to media blackouts of all third party candidates, the best kept secret. One would think that when an intelligent candidate has concrete solutions to illegal aliens, jobs, the economy, and education that newspeople would be all over it. And they would if there were in fact still newspeople. She will turn the water on for our farmers and end all state funds to sanctuary cities. Unlike Moonbeam and Mega-RINO, she favors SB 1070 and Prop 187. See for yourselves at http://www.nightingaleforgovernor.com

    • RR, Uninvited Columnist

      To S&M(?): Since when did spending too much disqualify a candidate? Lib heroes such as the Kennedys, the Clintons and Barack H.O. outspent their opponents royally. Oh, spending your own money is bad. Yeah, let the politicos spend your tax dollars instead when they campaign. That’s more honest.

    • CA Voter

      Even though the CA legislature has a 10% approval rating among likely voters, what is the likelyhood that America’s most obtuse voters will reelect the same bunch again to continue to destroy us? I say 100% because one can never loose when betting on the dumbest voters in the nation. I’ll bet anyone $100 that 75% of all encomberants get reelected. Any takers?

    • strugra

      Chelene Nightingale for governor 2010 AIP is not a realistic candidate for governor. She is unemployed has no education is a “community organizer” (obama?) and the kicker has file for bankruptcy!!! Just beccause she can say what she thinks people want to hear does not give her and credentials to do so. She has never held an elected office, and the fact that she was unable to handle her own finances, should be a HUGE red falg to all voters. personally I have heard she works for the democrats as a party spoiler for the republicans to siphon votes so BORWN CAN WIN!


      aGREE WITH ABOVE POSTER!! tHIS nightingale fool is going to get Jerry Brown in office!! She is a stupid woman! Do some investigation….CP is a racist party they ran George Wallace in the 70’s!!! Come on!!

    • Josh Richman

      For the record, #8 Strugra and #9 3RD PARTIES came from the same e-mail and IP addresses. No sock-puppeteering here, please.

    • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

      Ditto to Josh’s comment.


      But words are the truth! so try again! Nightingale is a fraud, bankrupt liar! She lies to her supporters. go to Chelene nightingale/splc see what that site says about this horrible racist woman. Quit trying to ruin CA with this dope!