The most intriguing point in the curious new Daily Kos survey is the odd finding that half of California Democrats say they are undecided between Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom in the 2010 primary for governor — a reported factoid that is likely to fuel speculation about a third candidate entering the race.
The survey of 600 likely voters (400 Democrats, we think*), done for the influential lefty web site by Research 2000, shows that General Jerry leads Prince Gavin, 29-to-20. (Note: the survey also shows gay marriage in a dead heat, with a whopping 54% of independents in favor — another puzzling result.)
Half the voters are also supposedly undecided on the GOP side (400 of them, too?*), where Meg Whitman leads Tom Campbell, 27-to-21 and Steve Poizner brings up the rear at 9. In general election match-ups, Brown leads all three Republican wannabes, with margins between 6 and 9 points, while Newsom ties all the GOP contenders.
With some Democratic insiders unhappy about the choice between Brown and Newsom — “What’s that old Leiber-Stoller song: ‘Is That All There Is?’” one grizzled SoCal pol told Calbuzz –- there’s been a spate of stories in recent days about a late entrant into the race, with the names of rich techie Steve Westly and Rep. Loretta Sanchez thrown around most often.
But Westly couldn’t beat Phil Angelides, fercrineoutloud, and Sanchez has about 12 cents in the bank despite the good optics her campaign could present. If forced to name a long shot, Calbuzz would grudgingly go with Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who’s at least sitting on a wad of campaign cash. But we lean towards today’s conventional wisdom, propounded by our friend John Wildermuth that “the speculation is for entertainment value only.”
“Like them or not, the folks out there on the campaign trail right now — and that includes you, Jerry Brown –- are the ones you’re going to see on the primary ballot come June,” John Boy posted over at Fox and Hounds Daily.
Calbuzz has some questions about the poll’s methodology, but it reports data about both the race for governor and Barbara Boxer’s re-election bid, so at the least it’s fun to talk about. While Newsom and his faithful cheerleaders will doubtless trumpet the survey as proving that the race with Brown is tight, they’re unlikely to mention that the poll shows Prince Gavin is viewed negatively statewide: 42 percent have an unfavorable opinion while 40 percent view him favorably, which compares poorly to Brown who has a 48-to-37 percent positive image.
* Pollster weedwhacker questions: Research 2000 says, “A total of 600 likely voters who vote regularly in state elections were interviewed statewide by telephone. Those interviewed were selected by the random variation of the last four digits of telephone numbers. A cross-section of exchanges was utilized in order to ensure an accurate reflection of the state. Quotas were assigned to reflect the voter registration of distribution by county. . . There was an over sample conducted among Democratic and Republican primary voters totaling 400. The margin of error is 5% for both.”
Calbuzz, with considerable experience at statewide polling in California wants to know: 1) If the survey had 600 “likely voters who vote regularly in state elections,” was the sample drawn from the voter list or was it a random distribution of telephone exchanges (RDD)? If the former, what’s the deal with a “cross-section of exchanges”? If the latter, how were likely voters identified? 2) Were voters called who only have cell phones? 3) If quotas were assigned, what’s with the “over sample” and how did the survey come up with 400 Democrats and Republicans from a total of 600 likely voters? 5) The demographics say there were 271 Democrats, 180 Republicans and 149 Independents (600) and also that there were 172 Democratic men and 228 Democratic women (400) and also 208 Republican men and 192 Republican women (400). We don’t get the math. 6) How did the surveyors decide that 21% of the sample should be Hispanics? 7) Why are voters age 60+ only 19% of the sample? 8. Were independents included in the primary match-ups?
If it’s news, it’s news to us: In what we thought at first was an exercise in self-parody, the By God L.A. Times ran a Monday piece discovering the Parsky Commission, which has been laboring for months to rewrite California’s tax code, amid widespread reports and analysis of ideological battles within the group.
Earnestly hewing to the Times’ unwritten code – OK to write it last, as long as you write it long – Eric Bailey churned out a 1,000 word snoozer including such astonishing scoops as this:
“A 14-member panel of political appointees dubbed the Commission on the 21st Century Economy has been meeting quietly since the start of the year to ponder potentially revolutionary changes.”
(Uh, actually, not all that quietly, bro).
“As envisioned by Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders, the notion was to bring together a collection of mostly apolitical wonks to settle issues that deeply divide the Capitol.
It has not been easy.”
Stop the presses, Maude – the Times says there’s politics afoot at the Parsky Commission!
Why Terry Gross should be enshrined: Calbuzz pick for smartest political piece of the week is Geoffey Nunberg’s NPR essay on Terry’s “Fresh Air” about the Republican success in reframing political debate by reinventing usage of the word “government.”
Nunberg, a professor of linguistics at UC Berkeley, said the GOP is winning the fight over health care reform primarily by deriding Democratic proposals as medicine-by-government:
“In sickness and in health, Republicans have always been better than Democrats at singing from the same hymnal, and right now they’re all turned to the page that’s headed “government takeover.” The charge makes supporters of the Democrats’ health care plans apoplectic. There’s nothing remotely like that in the plans, they say — it’s like equating the provision of public toilets with a takeover of the nation’s bathrooms. Even so, the supporters would as soon leave the word government out of the conversation, which is why they describe the proposed federally run insurance program as the “public option.” Public is the word we use when we want to talk about government approvingly, by focusing on its beneficiaries -– as in public schools, public servants, public lands, and public works.”
Nunberg traced the roots of “government” as epithet back to Wendell Wilkie, but credited Ronald Reagan with finishing off the partisan task of turning it into a curse word:
“Reagan’s real contribution was to shrink the cast of characters to a simple opposition between government and “the people.” Big business was eliminated from the political landscape, absorbed into “the market,” where everyone was free to shop around for the ripest tomatoes. You could no longer ask the question, “Whose side is government on?” — government simply was the other side.”
Not so fast there: Chronster Carla Marinucci had the best second day story on the decision by Equality California, the state’s leading gay rights group, to delay until 2012 a new gay marriage initiative, reporting on the anger amid more populist gay groups determined to push a measure for 2010.
Equality California set forth all the political reasons for waiting until 2012 in an analysis you can download here and took a bunch of incoming fire for their trouble.
Equality California “is following the wishes of some of its donors who have cold feet, and not the wishes of the grassroots and the common man and woman in the community,” John Henning of an L.A. group called Love Honor Cherish told Ms. Carla. “They’re ignoring an enormous amount of momentum that is out there. People want this to be voted on and they expect it to be — and soon.”
Calbuzz says: Careful what you wish for.