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Poll: Brown, Props 1 & 2 look good; 45 & 46 lagging

Gov. Jerry Brown is cruising to re-election and the ballot measures he supports are looking good, while voters aren’t sure about two other, more contentious measures, according to the Hoover Institution’s Golden State Poll.

The survey, administered by the survey research firm YouGov from Oct. 3-17, sampled 1,273 California adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.65 percent for the full sample.

“The poll’s numbers reflect a California election that contains little in the way of political intrigue or public enthusiasm,” Hoover fellow Bill Whalen, a California politics expert who leads question development for the Golden State Poll, said in a news release. “However, there are signs of trouble on the horizon. The public isn’t sold on some contentious tax and social issues.”

Brown leads Republican challenger Neel Kashkari 48 percent to 31 percent among registered voters – a 17-point gap not unlike the average of four other recent polls. Yet Brown, seeking an unprecedented fourth term, doesn’t achieve majority support in this poll.

43 percent of voters planning to cast ballots in this election said strengthening California’s economy should be the governor’s top priority next year; 17 percent said balancing the state’s budget should be the top priority; 16 percent said improving the state’s public education system should be the top priority; 10 percent reducing the state’s long-term debt burden should take precedence; 7 percent said improving roads, bridges and public transportation is most important; and 6 percent said protecting the environment is most important.

Voters planning to cast ballots in this election are split on what to do with Proposition 30, Brown’s 2012 ballot measure that temporarily raised income taxes on the rich and increased sales taxes by a quarter-cent. The poll found 21 percent want it made permanent; 9 percent would extend it for six to 10 years beyond its scheduled expiration in 2018; 17 percent would extended it for one to five years; 17 percent would let it expire; and 29 percent would repeal it as soon as possible, while 8 percent weren’t sure.

Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, is supported by 52 percent of voters planning to cast ballots in this election and opposed by 22 percent, with 26 percent unsure.

Proposition 2, to beef up the state budget’s “rainy day” reserve fund, is supported by 47 percent and opposed by 19 percent, with 34 percent unsure.

Proposition 45, to grant the insurance commissioner authority to reject unreasonable health insurance rate hikes, is supported by 42 percent and opposed by 30 percent, with 29 percent unsure.

Proposition 46 – to raise the cap on non-economic medical malpractice lawsuit damages, require drug testing of doctors, and require use of a state database to avoid “doctor shopping” by drug abusers – is supported by 34 percent and opposed by 37 percent, with 30 percent unsure.

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Damon Dunn named Hoover Institution fellow

Damon DunnDamon Dunn, the pro football player turned businessman who was last year’s Republican nominee for secretary of state, has been named a visiting fellow in the Hoover Institution, the internationally renowned think tank at Stanford University.

Dunn, 34, of Irvine, will hold an appointment through Aug. 31, 2012. Hoover Institution fellows take part in “assembling and disseminating ideas directed at positive policy formation in economic, political, and social changes in societies, at home and abroad,” Dunn’s news release said; a Hoover Institution spokesperson confirmed his appointment.

“I am proud and honored to be named a visiting fellow in the Hoover Institution at Stanford,” Dunn said in his release. “I look forward to working with pre-eminent leaders in public policy as we help the Golden State regain some of its luster.”

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Upcoming Bay Area political events

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris will headline a fundraiser for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 10, in the Franklin Square Wine Bar, 2212 Broadway in Oakland. $25 gets you in the door and puts a wine glass in your hand, but organizers say you should “bring a checkbook.” Other speakers include San Francisco attorney Brian Ferrall, a law-school buddy of Obama’s; Peralta Community College District board member Abel Guillen; and Facebook Causes CEO Joe Green.

Attorney, author and activist Christine Pelosi – daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco – will speak to the Lamorinda Democratic Club about the upcoming elections at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, in the Orinda Community Church, 10 Irwin Way; admission costs $5 for members, $10 for nonmembers, but students enter for free. Call 925-210-7337 for more information.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, is holding his 45th “Congress At Your Corner” constituent meet-and-greet from 2 to 3 p.m. this Sunday, Sept. 14, at the Cold Stone Creamery, 349 Main St. in Pleasanton.

The Alameda County Republican Party seeks volunteers to phone-bank for John McCain and other GOP candidates from 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday through Election Day at its San Leandro headquarters, 1039 MacArthur Blvd., and its Pleasanton campaign office, 4637 Chabot Dr. Suite 102. Contact Ryan Hatcher at ryan@alamedagop.org or 510-638-3414 to RSVP.

The Commonwealth Club of California is about to kick off its “Decision ’08” series of events, inviting advisers to Barack Obama and John McCain to come discuss issues that affect voters closest to home. The first event will be at 6 p.m. (after a 5:30 p.m. wine-and-cheese reception) next Tuesday, Sept. 16, in the club’s offices on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco, focusing on health care: Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Daniel Kessler, a McCain surrogate, will face off against UCLA Center for Health Policy Research director E. Richard Brown, an Obama adviser, in a forum moderated by KCBS 740 AM reporter Doug Sovern; it’s free for club members and non-members alike. An international security event is scheduled for Oct. 14, and a forum on the economy is scheduled for Oct. 16; those won’t be free.

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Loads of upcoming political events

Get out your calendars and start scribbling:

  • Thursday, March 6, 7-9 p.m. — Green presidential candidate and former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney headlines an evening of art, spoken word, humor, and music to celebrate International Women’s Day at the First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison St. Performers include Bushra Rehman, a Brooklyn-based Pakistani poet and co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism; Brooklyn-based spoken word/performance artists Climbing PoeTree; and Oakland-based R&B world music singer Jennifer Johns.
  • Thursday, March 6, Noon — Political commentator and former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers discusses her new book, “Why Women Should Rule the World,” at the Commonwealth Club of California’s offices, on the second floor of 595 Market St. in San Francisco. Tickets cost $8 for club members, $15 for nonmembers or $7 students and are available through the club’s Web site.
  • Saturday, March 8, noon-1 p.m. — Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, holds another “Congress At Your Corner” meet-and-greet to hear constituents’ comments and concerns at the Safeway supermarket at 1801 W. 11th St. in Tracy.
  • Wednesday, March 12, 7 p.m. — Israeli Gershon Baskin and Palestinian Hanna Siniora — both authors, activists and educators, and leaders of the first joint Israeli-Palestinian think tank, Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information — share a first-hand assessment of the state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the Kehilla Community Synagogue at 1300 Grand Ave. in Piedmont. This is part of a national tour sponsored by the national organization Brit Tzedek v’Shalom. A $10 donation is requested at the door.
  • Saturday, March 15, 9-11 a.m. — Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, cofounder of the Out of Iraq Caucus and member of the House Appropriations State Foreign Operations Subcommittee, hosts a special town-hall briefing on the fifth anniversary of the failed U.S. occupation of Iraq at the Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Ave. in Oakland. The event includes a special screening of War Made Easy, a documentary exploring parallels between the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq.
  • Thursday, March 20, 5:30-9 p.m. — The Eden Area United Democratic Campaign holds its 10th Annual Democratic St. Patrick’s Day Dinner in the Carpenters Hall at 1050 Mattox Road in Hayward. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer will be the special guest, and state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, will emcee. Individual tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door; seniors and students, $20 in advance or $25 at the door; children 12 or under get in free. Patrons can pay $150 for four tickets; sponsors can pay $300 for a table of eight. For more information or reservations, 510-264-0444 or 510-635-3121 by March 17.
  • Thursday, March 27, Noon — U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey speaks on “Public Corruption and Public Confidence” before the Commonwealth Club of California at the Intercontinental Hotel, 888 Howard St. in San Francisco. Tickets cost $15 for club members, $30 for nonmembers or $7 for students and are available through the club’s Web site.
  • Wednesday, April 2, 6 p.m. — Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry — distinguished and senior fellows, respectively, at the Hoover Institution — discuss “Toward a Nuclear-Free World” before the Commonwealth Club of California in the Gold Room of the Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St. in San Francisco. Tickets cost $15 for club members or $30 for nonmembers and are available at the club’s Web site.