Hot on the heels of yesterday’s poll showing Republican senatorial nominee Carly Fiorina with the slight edge in her statistical dead heat with incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., comes another poll today showing Boxer with the slight edge.
A CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation survey released today shows Boxer leading Fiorina 48 percent to 44 percent among registered voters; Boxer’s lead just barely exceeds the poll’s 3.5-percentage-point sampling error. Much like the Rasmussen Reports poll released yesterday, a mere 3 percent are undecided, an impressively low figure this long before Election Day. The poll surveyed 866 voters from Sept. 2 – the day after Boxer’s and Fiorina’s first, and perhaps only, televised debate – through yesterday.
“In a battle between two women, female voters will be a key constituency. Right now, 48 percent of women would pick Boxer compared to 43 percent for Fiorina. Six years ago, Boxer won 65 percent of the women’s vote,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
“The suburban vote has always been important in California, and it looks like that’s the home of the California swing voter this year as well,” adds Holland.”Boxer piles up a 19-point lead in urban areas and Fiorina has a 27-point advantage in rural California. Among suburban voters, the two are running fairly evenly, with 48 percent of the suburbs currently saying they would choose Fiorina and 44 percent picking Boxer.”
The same survey shows Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman leading Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown by two points, 48 percent to 46 percent, which falls within the sampling error.
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.
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.
Mike Murphy, the chief strategist for Meg Whitman’s gubernatorial campaign, has been itching to release his own internal polling showing that his boss has resumed her dominance over her GOP rival, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.
Campaign sources say that, with two weeks left in the race, he may gather reporters real soon for a conference call trumpeting Whitman’s internal numbers, now that polls appear to be consistently going her way.
Last week, Murphy had downplayed the Public Policy Institute of California survey showing Poizner closing to within 9 percentage points, saying it hadn’t captured a mood shift that was breaking Whitman’s way big time — after she’d blown a 50 percentage-point lead.
A SurveyUSA poll, released Sunday night, gave glimpse to that apparent momentum shift, with Whitman stretching her lead from 2 percentage points to 27 (54 percent to 27).
The SurveyUSA poll, which critics don’t much like because of the robo-call, push-button mechanics, had more certainty than one commissioned by Daily Kos, which gave Whitman a 10 percentage point lead and had more undecided voters. Murphy said the SurveyUSA poll matched up with numbers he’s seeing in other private polls. Republican primary voters, he said, are returning to Whitman after giving her a second look.
“Every private track and our own internals are showing similar numbers, give or take 5 or 6 points,” he said. “To me, that’s a confirmation that things are moving our way.”
Murphy said that a number of factors have turned the momentum around. First, Democrats’ attacks on Whitman have backfired. “Republicans are starting to understand that Jerry Brown is doing everything he can to help Steve Poizner. That’s the wrong kind of endorsement.”
Murphy said he is convinced that the much-maligned ad of Whitman speaking directly to the camera and complaining about Poizner’s attacks worked.
“It worked like a charm,” Murphy said. “People are starved for information. They like ads when candidates talk to the camera. So we did 60 seconds to break through the clutter and push back on two things bothering voters the most” about Whitman’s campaign, which were her position on immigration and her past endorsement of U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. Here it is:
Pivoting off that ad, the campaign put up new 30-second spots tearing into Poizner as a liberal, as seen here:
And the ads were supplemented by a heavy voter-to-voter contact effort — unanswered by Poizner: through the mail and by phone.
helped raise his profile, but “he hasn’t done anything” to fill out a larger picture of who he is and how he’d govern, Murphy said.
He noted that Poizner’s team, which touted internal polls a couple weeks ago when it was riding a strong anti-Whitman wave, hasn’t been so loud about its internals lately.
Jarrod Agen, spokesman for Poizner, said that polls — internal and public — are showing “this race is much closer and that we’re within striking distance. The reality is it’s going to come down to the last two weeks and which candidate can convince more undecided voters.”
Poizner’s tough, bracing talk on illegal immigration is “cutting through” to voters and works better with primary voters than the establishment backing Whitman has played up, Agen said. Whitman on Monday released an ad with Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate (and her ex-boss), Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, and Jon Coupal, president of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, showing their support:
“We think that’s a huge error on their part, showing other establishment Republicans endorsing Meg,” Agen said. “Last week, we saw everybody who used that method lost (in primaries around the country). We’re in a cycle of changing the status quo, reforming the establishment. And Meg is running as the establishment candidate.”
Poizner’s team doesn’t plan on showing internals any time soon, but not because they lack for confidence, Agen said. “When we released them last time, we were in a gap when there weren’t any polls out and we wanted to show people that things were shifting. With the PPIC poll just out and others to come out, there’s no reason to release another poll.”
Unless you’re Mike Murphy, and you have another momentum shift you’d like to share.
For the first time in the history of the Public Policy Institute of California’s survey history, the state legislature’s approval ratings among likely voters have dropped to a single digit — 9 percent.
“Pessimism about the economy, disdain for the major parties and low approval ratings for elected officials are creating an unusual amount of political turbulence this election year,” said PPIC president and pollster Mark Baldassare. “The candidates cannot take any voters for granted — regardless of their party identification and past loyalties — because Californians want answers to problems that won’t go away.”
In other poll findings:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s record low approval rating of 25 percent hovers near former Gov. Gray Davis’ lowest level before the recall of 21 percent.
Congress’ approval rating is 14 percent, a 15-point drop in three months.
When asked to rate their own members of Congress, the numbers rise to 44 percent favorable but that is a new low, too.
When it comes to the political parties, 41 percent have a favorable impression of Democrats while 31 percent gave passing marks to Republicans, while 55 percent say the county needs a new third party.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman holds a 50-point lead over primary opponent Steve Whitman. In a potential November match-up with Democrat Jerry Brown, Whitman leads Brown 41 percent to 36 percent.
In the U.S. Senate race, Carly Fiorina and Tom Campbell are battling for top spot, each is deadlocked with Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.
A slim majority of those surveyed support Proposition 14, which would end the partisan-based primary process in California.
Half of those responded, for the first time, support same-sex marriage.
Half also support health care reform although the partisan split is strong — 70 percent of Democrats like it, 76 percent of Republicans are opposed.
On immigration, 70 percent say illegal immigrants who have been living and working in the United States for at least years should be allowed to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status.
Former Congressman, state finance director and Cal business school dean Tom Campbell fares best in a head-to-head match-up, with Boxer at 45 percent and Campbell at 41 percent among November’s likely voters. While 79 percent of Democratic likely voters favor Boxer, 84 percent of Republican likely voters favor Campbell; independents are more divided but favor Boxer over Campbell, 42 percent to 37 percent. Boxer has a 14-point lead among female likely voters (50 percent to 36 percent), and Campbell has a 6-point lead among men (46 percent to 40 percent).
Boxer has an eight-point lead over both former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (48 percent to 40 percent) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine (47 percent to 39 percent).
Among likely voters in the GOP primary, Campbell leads at 27 percent, with Fiorina at 16 percent and DeVore at 8 percent. Campbell leads among likely voters with household incomes both below and above $80,000, and among both men and women. This survey of likely voters includes the 12 percent of independent voters who say they will choose to vote on a Republican ballot.
The margin of error for the 1,223 November likely voters is three percentage points, and the margin for the 425 Republican primary likely voters is five points.
Campbell’s camp says their man might be doing better than this poll indicates; they think PPIC’s methodology short-sells older voters, who seem to like Campbell more.
Fiorina’s camp said the poll “confirms yet again that Barbara Boxer is a highly vulnerable incumbent.”
“More and more Californians are disenchanted by her lackluster record and, despite having been in office for 18 years, she is still unable to break the 50 percent threshold in this poll against any Republican candidate. Carly will continue to hold Boxer accountable for her disappointing tenure in the U.S. Senate, and as voters get to know Carly better in the coming months, her name identification will rise – as will her poll numbers. Meanwhile, Tom Campbell’s performance in both the primary and the general election matchups shows his electoral weakness, despite the higher name recognition that comes with having run for office nine times before. Once voters learn about his record championing higher taxes and bigger government, his support will erode quickly.”
DeVore’s campaign manager, Leisa Brug Kline, said it’s “an interesting and welcome poll for several reasons.
“Though there’s a long way to go, Chuck DeVore’s support is quietly building on the enthusiasm and support of Republicans and conservatives across California – and across America,” she said. “It’s useful to note that this poll was conducted in the week before Scott Brown’s upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race – an event that has generated tremendous interest in Chuck DeVore and his message of a winning conservatism in California.”
DeVore campaign communications director Joshua Treviño took the fight more directly to Fiorina:
“As Chuck DeVore’s support steadily grows, Carly Fiorina’s is steadily collapsing. The establishment that supported her is defecting to Campbell, and the conservatives who want the real deal are turning to Chuck. With the margin of error on the PPIC poll, and the identical results on the hypothetical general-election matchup, Fiorina and DeVore are in a de facto tie for second place. Even worse for Carly, Chuck DeVore is at dead parity with her in support from women, a demographic she thought was hers.”
“Carly Fiorina’s inevitability narrative died when Tom Campbell entered the race. Now her electability narrative dies as she can’t do better than Chuck DeVore either against Barbara Boxer, or in appeal to the women’s vote. If these trends continue, we’ll see this primary race end as a real choice between a real liberal in Tom Campbell, and a real conservative in Chuck DeVore.”
The Public Policy Institute of California’s latest poll shows that as interest has grown in the May 19 special election, opposition has grown to the ballot measures with five of the six headed for defeat:
Prop. 1A, the spending cap/rainy-day fund: 52 percent no, 35 percent yes
Prop. 1B, restoring money cut from education: 47 percent no, 40 percent yes
Prop. 1C, borrowing against future lottery income: 58 percent no, 32 percent yes
Prop. 1D, diverting money from children’s programs: 45 percent no, 43 percent yes
Prop. 1E, diverting money from mental health: 48 percent no, 41 percent yes
Prop. 1F, preventing raises for state officials when the budget is in deficit: 73 percent yes, 24 percent no
“The voters who are really tuned in are really turned off,” PPIC president, CEO and survey director Mark Baldassare. “They see the state’s budget situation as a big problem, but so far, they don’t like the solution.”
PPIC found voters most likely to be following news of the special election very closely are older than age 55, men and those who disapprove of the governor and legislature.
That latter category would be most of you, apparently: The poll found the governor (34 percent) and legislature (12 percent) at almost-record-low approval ratings. Californians feel less trust in state government now than PPIC has ever seen: Just 16 percent of likely voters say they can trust the government in Sacramento to do what is right just about always (2 percent) or most (14 percent) of the time. Among Californians overall, 23 percent hold this view (4 percent always, 19 percent most of the time).
But it’s not all gloom and doom. For the first time since PPIC started asking in 2003, most Californians – 57 percent – and most likely voters here – 52 percent – think the nation is generally headed in the right direction. That’s a marked increase even from when January, when it was 32 percent of Californians and 31 percent of likely voters. (Apparently, yes he can!)
The findings are based on a telephone survey of 2,005 adult Californians interviewed from April 27 through May 4 in English or Spanish; the margin of error all adults is ±2 percent, and for the 1,080 likely voters, it’s ±3 percent.
The Public Policy Institute of California’s February statewide survey shows that while Californians strongly favor pro-choice public policies, the are shifting ground on their views about restrictions.
Since January 2000, the percentage of Californians who oppose limits on access to abortion has dropped 10 points to 71 percent while those who back abortion restrictions has increased 8 points to 27 percent.
In other findings,Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval rating drops to 33 percent, down from 40 percent in January. The state Legislature’s approval rate remained at a record-low 21 percent. By comparison, President Barack Obama enjoys a 70 percent approval rating for his first month in office.
– 66 percent support the retention of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that provides a woman’s right to access to legal abortions.
– 68 percent would support a state law that requires parents to be notified before a minor obtains an abortion. This is curious finding since voters have rejected three statewide parental notification initiatives.
– 89 percent believe access to birth control and contraceptives is an important factor in the reduction of unwanted pregnancies but only 46 percent were aware that the federal government funds these services for the poor.
– Only 9 percent believe schools do more than enough when it comes to teaching sex education.
– 51 percent say immigration is the biggest reason for California’s population growth and 52 percent say that growth is a bad thing for them and their families.
– 42 percent say two is the ideal number of children for a family.
– 44 percent say the 2010 gubernatorial candidates’ views on abortion are very important to them.
The PPIC conducts monthly surveys on a variety of public policy and political issues. For the full February survey, visit PPIC’s web site.
Capitol Weekly just published results of its quarterly survey and apparently, Californians like the idea of a part-time Legislature and open primaries.
Here is the top of the Weekly’s story:
About half of Californians support the concept of a part-time Legislature, and are similarly divided about changing state elections to make them less partisan, according to a new Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research Poll.
The survey also found that more than half of those polled – 53 percent – believe that at least some environmental regulations should be eased in order to expedite infrastructure construction projects and take advantage of a looming federal economic stimulus package. Estimates of California’s potential share of that federal funding range from $37 billion to $42 billion, or more.
California’s likely voters prefer the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joseph Biden to Republican contenders John McCain and Sarah Palin by 10 points, but they’ll be watching closely to see how the candidates perform in a series of televised debates before marking their ballots. Eight in 10 say the debates, which begin Friday, will be very important (38%) or somewhat important (41%) in deciding who gets their votes, according to a statewide survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) with funding from The James Irvine Foundation.
Two new polls by the Survey and Policy Research Institute at San Jose State University offer insight into the state of voters’ minds on the presidential primary, term limits, residency for illegal immigrants and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s job performance.
A second poll shows that a majority of voters favor a measure headed for the February ballot that would alter state legislative term limits. It is more popular among Republicans and Independents than among Democrats.
“The partisan and ideological breakdowns suggest that the ballot language, written by Secretary of State Jerry Brown, emphasizing the overall reduction in years a legislator may serve,” said survey director Melinda Jackson, a political science professor at San Jose State University, “is persuasive to voters who otherwise would be likely to oppose the measure because it also increases the amount of time a legislator may spend in either house.”
The California Term Limits Defense Fund, which opposes the measure through U.S. Term Limits, quickly seized upon the results to say it “confirms both the deception at the heart of the efforts by (Senate President Pro Tem) Don Perata and (Assembly Speaker) Fabian Nunez to fool the voters into weakening term limits and the fundamental flaw of their initiative.”
UPDATE: The proponents of the term limit measure sent out a statement in response to U.S. Term Limits:
“The San Jose State poll is the 4th independent, statewide poll that shows this initiative passing with a clear majority,” said Gale Kaufman, chief strategist for the measure. “This confirms what our own polling indicates and shows a clear and continuous pattern of support for this initiative. With every poll that shows us well ahead, the opposition finds itself grasping at straws to explain to their out-of-state paymasters why the voters of California support our initiative.”
In other issues, a majority of Californians support the formation of a legal path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. They also give Schwarzenegger high marks, with 61 percent of California voters saying they approve of his job performance.
For the full poll data, margin of error and methodology, click on the links above to each poll.