1

New poll: Brown leads Kashkari by 25 points

A new poll finds Gov. Jerry Brown leading Republican challenger Neel Kashkari by a much wider gap than previously reported.

The latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll found that if the election were held today, Brown would beat Kashkari 57 percent to 32 percent – a significantly larger lead than the 16 points that the Field Poll reported last week.

The USC/LAT poll found Brown has the support of 82 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of no-party-preference voters, and 18 percent of Republicans, while 72 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats support Kashkari.

The poll also found Brown’s job-approval rating at 57 percent, slightly higher than his 54 percent job approval rating in May and a double-digit increase from his 44 percent approval rating in April 2011, soon after he took office.

“Incumbents are defeated when the challenger gives the voters a compelling reason to make a change, and Kashkari simply hasn’t been able to attract enough attention to make that case to voters,” said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and executive director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

“California is an uphill challenge for any Republican running statewide. California is an uphill challenge for any underfunded candidate running statewide,” he said. “But California is a very, very steep hill to climb for an underfunded Republican candidate running for statewide office.”

Much of Brown’s lead might have to do with name recognition. When Californians were asked if they knew the name of the current governor of California, 78 percent of voters correctly identified Brown, with 20 percent unsure. Only 20 percent of voters identified Kashkari as the Republican candidate for governor, with 79 percent unsure of the candidate’s name.

Californians are feeling better about the state’s future, though most still aren’t happy, the poll found – 37 percent now say the state is on the “right track” while 48 percent disagree, but that’s a vast improvement from November 2010, when only 15 percent felt it was on the right track and 77 percent said it was headed in the wrong direction.

The USC/LAT poll also found:

    The Legislature has a 43 percent disapproval rating and 38 percent approval, showing a slight increase from May 2014 when voters reported a 40 percent disapproval rating and a 41 percent approval.
    Proposition 1 — a $7.5 billion bond measure for water infrastructure projects — is backed by 66 percent of voters, a considerably higher level of support than the 52 percent figure reported by the Field Poll last week. But when provided with more information – including that the measure would increase state bond repayment costs but also providing savings to water projects for local governments – support dropped to 57 percent.
    The number of voters who see California’s historic drought as a crisis is on the rise, up 11 percentage points from a May 2014 poll.

The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll of 1,507 voters was conducted Sept. 2 through Sept. 8 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.

0

Poll: Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval rating rises

Gov. Jerry Brown has a higher approval rating than at any time since he took office in 2011, according to a new University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll.

The poll found 55 percent of registered voters approve of the job Brown is doing as governor; that’s up from 49 percent in September 2012 and 50 percent in June of this year. This latest poll shows 33 percent disapprove.

The poll of 1,503 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5 by Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Republican polling firm American Viewpoint; the full sample has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats like Brown best – 78 percent approval to 11 percent disapproval – but independents like him solidly as well, 68 percent to 22 percent. Republicans disapprove heavily: 68 percent, while only 22 percent approve.

Brown has tremendous support among minority voters – 67 percent to 9 percent among black voters, 65 percent to 17 percent among Asian-American voters, and 61 percent to 20 percent among Latino voters – while the white vote is somewhat more split, 51 percent approval to 41 percent disapproval.

Even so, 49 percent of all voters surveyed said California is pretty seriously on the wrong track, while 37 percent said things in the state are going in the right direction. Unhappiness with the state’s direction is highest among Republicans (79 percent), while 59 percent of nonpartisan voters say it’s on the wrong track and only 27 percent of Democrats feel that way.

“It’s impressive that Brown’s approval has increased at a time when perception of politicians are generally at historic lows,” said Drew Lieberman, vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. “The government shutdown tends to reflect on all politicians at all levels, but I think Governor Brown has built some insulation from that. This data shows Brown with a strong foundation and a solid core, but also with some work left to do.”

Indeed, the poll shows that even though Brown’s favorability continues to rise, it’s too early for voters to pronounce his re-election chances a slam dunk. Only 32 percent said they would pick him again for the job, while 37 percent said they would elect someone else.

Lots more, after the jump…
Continue Reading

13

USC/LAT Poll: Californians support gun control

California voters support a wide range of gun-control measures and say it’s more important to protect people from gun violence than to protect Second Amendment rights, according to a new statewide poll.

When asked whether they felt it is more important to protect people from gun violence than protect American’s right to own guns, a majority of California voters — 51 percent — said that they felt it is more important to protect people from gun violence; 46 percent agreed “strongly” with that statement. In comparison, 37 percent of voters said it’s more important to protect the right to own guns, with 32 percent agreeing “strongly.”

The University of Southern California Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll of 1,501 registered voters, conducted March 11-17 by two polling firms – one Democratic, one Republican – has a 2.9-point margin of error.

The poll found about a quarter of Californians own a firearm, compared to about 34 percent of American households as estimated by a recent General Social Survey.

“Politics is a natural outgrowth of culture,” poll director Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist who directs USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics, said in a news release. “And because the percentage of Californians who own guns is so much lower than the ownership rates of guns in other parts of the country, it shouldn’t surprise us that Californian’s attitudes toward gun control are much stronger than places where people are more likely to own or maintain a firearm.”

The gap between those emphasizing gun-violence reduction and protection of gun rights in this poll isn’t as large as that reported by the Field Poll last month; that earlier poll found 61 percent preferred imposing greater controls while 34 percent preferred protecting gun rights.

Asked about potential ways to curb gun violence, 92 percent of California voters told the USC/Times poll that they support background checks for all gun sales, which the state already requires; only 6 percent were opposed.

On other proposed gun-control measures:

    89 percent favor updating the national database used for background checks by improving the reporting of mental health records, while 8 percent oppose;
    87 percent favor increasing penalties for those who commit crimes with guns, while 9 percent oppose;
    85 percent favor increasing penalties for those who illegally buy, while 12 percent oppose;
    79 percent favor requiring ammunition buyers to provide a thumbprint and ID for background checks, while 19 percent oppose; and
    71 percent favor requiring all gun owners to be registered, licensed and insured, while 26 percent oppose.

Lots more, after the jump…
Continue Reading

0

Course offerings at the Schwarzenegger Institute

We received a news release this morning announcing that the University of Southern California’s Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy has announced the participants in its first-ever symposium, coming up next Monday, Sept. 24.

Hilarity ensued. One colleague wrote:

The “Schwarzenegger Institute?” Is this a Saturday Night Live skit? I can see the classes now:

– S101: Doubling State Deficits by Cutting Car Registration Fees
– S102: Workshop in Transitioning Your Approval Rating From 65 percent to 30 percent
– S103: Hydrogen Highway: From Hype to Bust
– S104: Extracurricular Activities With Staff

How much did he pay to get his name on that building? What’s next, USC’s Rosanne Barr Charm School?

Another responded:

don’t forget:

S105: Ruining Your Legacy By Having a Love Child
S106: Pro Tip: Don’t Mess with the Kennedys

As for me, Schwarzenegger in academia makes me think:

Please share your own suggestions for Schwarzenegger Institute course offerings in the comments; keep it clean.

UPDATE @ 3:40 P.M.: Sharon Cornu, the former Alameda Labor Council executive secretary-treasurer and former Oakland deputy mayor who’s now running Rep. Pete Stark’s re-election campaign, asks “shouldn’t he invite Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, and that governor from South Carolina to a zipper workshop? I can get the Society of First Wives to sponsor it!”

Anyway, the Sept. 24 event will feature “top elected officials discussing bipartisan cooperation; entertainment industry leaders offering perspectives on the power of people and innovation and its impact on their business, as well as the impact the entertainment industry has on popular culture; and a dialogue on how to explore local solutions while addressing global environmental challenges,” according to the USC news release.

“During my time as governor of California, I learned that the best solutions to the challenges we face come only when all sides are willing to meet in the middle and engage respectfully. That’s why I am so excited about the group of leaders we’ve assembled from across the spectrum,” Schwarzenegger, the institute’s chairman, said in the release. “These are some of the most thoughtful and respected individuals I know, so I’m 100 percent confident that big ideas are going to be born and shared at our inaugural symposium.”

The institute is housed at the USC Price School of Public Policy, where Dean Jack Knott said Schwarzenegger “has the unparalleled ability to bring together this diverse program. While USC is honored to be visited frequently by world leaders and industry experts, this historic symposium will collect a wealth of experience and an exchange of ideas such as this school has never seen before.”

Participants in a two-hour panel on post-partisanship will include Schwarzenegger; former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist; former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.; U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; former U.S. Energy Secretary and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, all moderated by ABC News political commentator Cokie Roberts.

An lunch panel on local solutions to global challenges of environment, energy and climate will include Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, moderated by host of NBC “News Conference” Conan Nolan.

And a panel on “The Power of People and Innovation – Perspectives of Media and Hollywood Leaders” will include Schwarzenegger; Academy Award-winning movie director James Cameron; Rob Friedman, co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group; Brian Grazer, chairman of Imagine Entertainment; Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine; and Universal Studios and NBCUniversal President and CEO Ron Meyer, moderated by Buzzfeed.com Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith

0

Sam Blakeslee forms Munger-funded think tank

State Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, announced today that he’s forming the California Reform Institute, “a think tank designed to create practical, implementable, politically viable solutions to current public policy issues,” according to his news release.

Sam Blakeslee“As a state legislator for eight years I saw first-hand how difficult it was to advance pragmatic, common sense solutions to our state’s problems,” said Blakeslee, who served three Assembly terms before being elected to the state Senate in 2010. “There is no existing support system for leaders who are willing to work across the aisle for the good of the state. The California Reform Institute will provide that infrastructure and occupy the space where cooperation and results can happen.”

The institute will be seeded with $750,000 from Charles Munger Jr., 55, of Palo Alto, who bankrolled California’s recent redistricting reform ballot measures.

“I have experienced first-hand the challenges of advancing reform in the state of California,” Munger said in the news release. “Many view the divisions in our legislature with cynicism and have given up; but I believe the passage of reforms that would be supported by a large majority of our citizens is both possible and worth fighting for. The California Reform Institute will provide the infrastructure to develop and pragmatic proposals for those who are similarly reform-minded. I have worked with Sam for many years on a variety of reform projects and have been impressed with his unusual combination of political and policy insights. He is just the kind of leader who can apply common sense principles to forge innovative solutions.”

California has often felt like a think-tank farm, replete with pundits, politicos and blue-ribbon commissions galore but still coming up short on solutions. But Blakeslee is insisting his institute is different from other groups because it won’t craft unrealistic proposals that the Legislature would never pass; rather, he’s aiming at “sound, innovative public policy that is both pragmatic and implementable.”

Of course, that’s what all of them say. Blakeslee did, however, include some statements of support to buoy his claims. Longtime GOP campaign strategist Dan Schnur, who chaired the Fair Political Practices Commission and now directs USC’s Unruh Institute of Politics, said Blakeslee “has earned a reputation for working across the aisle and putting the best interests of the state ahead of his own personal ideology. He is exactly the right person to lead an institute that will support leaders who value pragmatism over partisanship.”

Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino said in his region, “the global capital of innovation, entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and perspectives come together – left, right and center – to pull together for the collective good.

“Regrettably, in Sacramento, our state capital, legislators from diverse backgrounds and perspectives – left, right and center – have a more difficult time pulling together for the common good,” Guardino said. “It is why the mission of the California Reform Institute is so important. It will help foster real change by supporting legislators who want to make our government more reflective of the excellence of its people.”

Hector De La Torre, the Democratic former Assemblyman from South Gate now serving on the California Air Resources Board, noted he served with Blakeslee for six years in the Legislature.

“Sam has always played an important role in the legislative process because he is deeply principled but also fiercely independent,” De La Torre said. “He has a track record of looking for ways to make the system work and unite people around a good idea. I am hopeful that through the California Reform Institute, Sam can continue to bring people together with a combination of good ideas and bipartisanship, to show that our system can be made to work for the people of our great state.”

3

Poll: Romney leads GOP pack in California

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.