Californian voters don’t much like the idea of re-electing President Barack Obama but they like the alternatives even less, according to today’s new Field Poll.
Only 45 percent of the Golden State’s voters say they’re inclined to have the president serve a second term. Still, he leads the top two Republican contenders by double digits: The poll shows its Obama at 50 percent and Mitt Romney at 40 percent, or Obama at 55 percent and Gingrich at 35 percent.
The survey of 1,000 California voters was conducted Nov. 15 through 27 and has a 3.1-percentage-point margin of error.
The Field Poll found Obama’s job approval rating stands at 48 percent, with 44 disapproving. That’s better than his national numbers; an average of five national polls conducted in recent weeks shows him with 43 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval. On the economy specifically, Californians’ opinion of his work has improved in the past two months, with approval rising from 40 percent to a still-meager 45 percent.
The Field Poll also found that 70 percent of California voters believe the nation overall is seriously off on the wrong track – almost the same proportion as believed so during President George W. Bush’s last year in office.
In a state where big turnout delivers Democratic victories, apathy is anathema to that party’s candidates. Sadly for the president, this poll found 43 percent of California voters don’t believe either re-electing Obama or electing the eventual GOP nominee will do much to solve the nation’s economic problems. Among those who believe otherwise, 27 percent believe Obama’s a better bet and 25 percent believe the GOP is.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remains on top while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged to a strong second among GOP presidential candidates, but California’s Republican voters still aren’t thrilled with their options, according to a new Field Poll.
While candidates strive to solidify their support in the final months before the first caucuses, this poll also shows an increasing proportion of California Republicans – 26 percent, up from 16 percent two months ago – are undecided about who they want as the nominee. More than three in four who expressed a preference for one of the candidates say it’s still early and admit they’ve not made a final decision of who they’ll vote for.
Perhaps that’s because only 16 percent are very satisfied with the field of GOP candidates; 47 percent say they’re somewhat satisfied; and 33 percent are not too satisfied or not at all satisfied.
Romney has the support of 26 percent of California Republican voters; Gingrich has 23 percent; former Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain has 9 percent; and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has 5 percent. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who’d entered the race amid much buzz – and 22 percent report in September – but fizzled in his debate performances, has plummeted and now is tied at 3 percent with Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Bring up the rear are former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., at 2 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 1 percent.
Gingrich’s strongest base of support is among the 26 percent of Republican voters who identify a lot with the Tea Party movement; in that group, he leads Romney 38 percent to 18 percent. But among all other Republican voters, Romney leads Gingrich 29 percent to 18 percent.
Among the slightly less than half of California Republicans who call themselves strongly conservative, 84 percent have picked a candidate while 16 percent are undecided; within this segment, Gingrich leads Romney 31 percent to 29 percent. But more than a third of Republican voters who consider themselves moderate remain undecided; in this segment, Romney leads Gingrich 24 percent to 17 percent.
GOP men are dividing almost evenly between Romney (28 percent) and Gingrich (27 percent), while women prefer Romney over Gingrich 25 percent to 19 percent. And Romney’s support skews younger: He leads Gingrich by 10 percentage points among Republican voters under 50, although 52 percent of that age group is still undecided; those 50 or older prefer Gingrich by three percentage points.
The Field Poll surveyed 330 California Republican voters from Nov. 15 through Nov. 27; the poll has a 5.7-percentage-point margin of error.
Metz and Lewis wrote that they did their survey in the public interest, not for any third-party client.
“Our employees either live in Oakland or in neighboring East Bay cities; the Snow Park encampment is next door to the office we work out of every day; and the encampment in the Plaza was just a half mile down the street before the November 14 raid brought it to an end,” they wrote. “Our business is finding out what people think, and the Occupy Oakland movement is a subject we all wanted to know more about.”
They acknowledge they couldn’t capture a statistically representative sample of so fluid and self-defined a movement, so they sent professional interviewers out with the goal of talking to as diverse a selection of protestors as possible. The interviewers were out in Frank Ogawa Plaza on Wednesday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 12, at various times between noon and 6 p.m., talking to campers and visitors.
“While we certainly can’t say that our results reveal the views of Occupy Oakland with statistical precision, we can say that over the course of 109 interviews, we were able to learn a lot about the Oakland movement and the opinions and attitudes of the people who identify with it,” they wrote.
Among other things, they found persistence: 64 percent of those interviewed identified themselves as “frequent” participants in Occupy Oakland events, while 21 percent said they were “occasional visitors.” About 74 percent said they were from the Bay Area, including 48 percent from Oakland, 12 percent from elsewhere in Alameda County and 14 percent from other Bay Area locales. And almost everyone said they would keep participating in the movement “indefinitely.”
The protestors were fed up with both political parties, seeing widespread corruption throughout the system, and were lukewarm about President Barack Obama. Still, there is a partisan leaning – while 43 percent view the Democratic Party unfavorably, 74 percent see the Republican Party unfavorably and 67 percent see the Tea Party movement unfavorably. Views of the president were split about evenly: 33 percent favorable, 30 percent unfavorable and 34 percent neutral.
But 70 percent said they’re registered to vote and intend to do so in the 2012 presidential election, and that subset was slightly more likely to have a favorable opinion of President Obama; those who said they would not vote were more likely to view him negatively.
Mitt Romney has a small but solid lead in California among Republican presidential candidates, according to a new poll from the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times.
The former Massachusetts governor has support from 27 percent of registered Republicans in the state, followed by Herman Cain with 20 percent, Newt Gingrich with 14 percent and Ron Paul with 6 percent.
“What has remained unchanged for the better part of the year is that Romney maintains support from roughly a quarter of Republican primary voters in California,” Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and director of USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics, said in a news release. “The only thing that has changed is the identity of his chief opponent.”
But Romney is still trying to consolidate his support among conservatives; 22 percent of GOP voters are still undecided. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, once near the top of the polls, now has only 3 percent support in the Golden State. But among self-identified Tea Party supporters in California, Cain holds three-percentage-point lead over Romney, 29 percent to 26 percent.
Meanwhile, the poll also found 50 percent of California voters approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance, the same as in September; 42 percent disapprove. The president’s numbers are buoyed by 81 percent approval from black voters and 64 percent approval from Latino voters.
“Make no mistake about it, African American and Hispanic voters are President Obama’s political lifeline in California. More likely than not, their overwhelming support for his re-election is probably going to make this state less than competitive in November 2012,” Schnur said.
Asked whether they would vote for Obama or Romney in a hypothetical match-up, 52 percent of California voters picked Obama while 35 percent picked Romney. In other match-ups, Obama led Cain 54 percent to 31 percent and led Perry 55 percent to 31 percent. “Californians are not particularly enthused about the president’s job performance or his re-election campaign, but what makes him a solid bet for winning California in next year’s general election is that most voters don’t see the Republican party as a viable alternative,” Schnur said.
And the poll shows 47 percent of California voters favor the Occupy Wall Street movement while 33 percent oppose it. Asked if they agree or disagree with what the movement is saying about the country, 48 percent said that they agree and 29 percent said that they disagree. Along party lines, 62 percent of registered Democrats agree with the statement and 15 percent disagree, while 21 percent of registered Republicans agreed and 55 percent disagreed.
The poll found 35 percent of Californians consider themselves supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement and 27 percent consider themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement.
“Both represent roughly one-third of their respective parties: the Occupy Wall Street movement for the Democrats and the Tea Party movement for Republicans. So both movements have some ability to have an impact on the direction their party’s nominee takes next fall not only in a presidential campaign, but in a congressional race as well,” Schnur said. “However, neither will determine the party nominee or policy agenda a nominee takes into a general election.”
The poll was conducted Oct. 30 through Nov. 9, surveying 1,500 California registered voters. The poll’s margin of error is 2.52 percentage points.
On Friday night’s edition of “This Week in Northern California,” we talked about what recent California polls mean for the President, Congress and Republicans, as well as about the state GOP convention, plus the Solyndra bankruptcy debacle. Also, Belva Davis’ interview with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
As the Associated Press reports, “a Field Poll released Wednesday shows support for President Barack Obama is falling even in reliably Democratic California, where the shaky economy and persistently high unemployment have created pessimism about the future.”
As Field put it, the current proportion approving of his performance (46 percent) is now only slightly greater than the proportion disapproving (44 percent), which is a big change from three months ago when Californians approved of the job he was doing 54 percent to 37 percent. Also, those who are inclined to re-elect President Obama outnumber those not inclined by just five points (49 percent to 44 percent).
Although the overall personal regard that Californians have of the President remains quite positive – with 55 percent viewing him in a generally favorable light and 41 percent holding a negative impression – that’s an extremely partisan number. Democrats view him positively by a five-to-one margin, while Republicans see him negatively four-to-one; independent voters tend to see him favorably by a five-to-three margin.
Given the state’s current voter registration – 44 percent Democratic, almost 31 percent Republican and 20.4 percent decline-to-state – this doesn’t exactly make California a prime battleground state in next year’s general election. The numbers beg the question of whether more Californians upset with Obama are angry about what he has done, or about what he hasn’t; that in turn begs the question of how hard it’ll be to mobilize voters in 2012, and what it’ll mean for newly redistricted Democrats trying to ride the President’s coattails.
Note that this poll didn’t pit Obama against any of the potential Republican challengers; I’ll be curious to see such a survey of Californians.
“The drop in Obama’s polls numbers in California is a direct result of the poor economic performance of Obama’s and Jerry Brown’s policies,” he said in a statement e-mailed late this afternoon. “Rather than funding more government programs, both need to restore confidence and incentives to the private sector. It’s a simple formula for success that neither seems to appreciate.”
This Field Poll was conducted Sept. 1-12 among a random sample of 1,001 registered voters in California; it has a 3.2-percentage-point margin of error.
There has been a flurry of poll results released recently in the two big races on California’s ballot this November, and although we’ve been rolling ‘em out as they come, perhaps it would be useful to have them all together in one place, so everyone can get an idea of which way the wind is blowing (with the caveat, of course, that it’s still a loooong way to Election Day).
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.