When Big Bill Clinton endorsed Prince Gavin of San Francisco, Calbuzz was not convinced that it would be what one analyst called a “potential game-changer.” We also suggested that Newsom was ill-advised to have said: “Mark my words, these polls are going to change dramatically.”
So when the Field Poll, which is released today, found that Crusty the Attorney General Brown is leading Newsom by 20 points — 47-27% among registered voters (compared to 26-16% in March) — well…as Nikki Finke says: TOLDJA! And game-change-predicters take note: the poll was conducted Sept. 18-Oct. 5 — right when His Gavinship should have been getting a big, fat, sloppy, wet Clinton bounce.
Oops. Worse for Newsom, because it’s so early (eight months out), the Field Poll was based just on registered voters, not likely voters. And so only 49% of the voters surveyed were age 50 and older and. In fact, according to the best private pollsters who model elections, more than 60% of the June 2010 electorate is likely to be 50 and older. And guess who does better among the older voters? Well, in the new Field Poll, Crusty beats the Prince 51-21% among those 40 and older and 62-17% among those 65 and older.
We’ll come back to the Democrats in a minute. But there’s some cool findings in the Republican race as well: Mr. (or Ms.) Undecided is leading the race with 49%, followed by eMeg Whitman at 22%, Pretty Boy Tom Campbell at 20% and the Steve “The Commish” Poizner at a measly 9%.
Wow! Meg has spent millions already and has got herself a whopping 2-point lead over Campbell, who hasn’t got a pot to piss in. And Poizner, despite all his Sturm und Drang, hasn’t shown he can break out of a paper bag. If Campbell had money, he might just win the damn thing – which would put the Democrats in a real bind in November ‘cause (though he’s plenty conservative on economic issues) there’s no way you could make him out to be a knuckle-dragger.
It’s worth noting, of course, that the poll was taken while the eMeg non-voting story was bubbling which tells us either a) the voting issue has kept Meg from pulling ahead or b) the voting issue has knocked Meg on her keister or c) nobody cares about the voting issue.
Bad news for the Reeps though: not only does Brown crush the Republican field in simulated match-ups (50-29% over Whitman, 48-27% over Campbell and 50-25% over Poizner), but Newsom beats ‘em too (albeit a lot less convincingly: 40-31% over Whitman, 39-33% over Campbell and 39-30% over Poizner.)
What the Field Poll shows – almost identically to the J Moore Methods Poll we covered at length in June – is that younger voters don’t know Jerry Brown and older voters don’t know what Gavin Newsom stands for (except for Proposition 8, which hurts him among this age cohort). Overall, Brown’s favorability rating among Democrats, 57-18%, is much stronger than Newsom’s at 41-22%. Worse for Newsom: While Brown’s favorable-unfavorable among independents is 44-26%, Newsom’s is 35-35%. Brown’s even got a 26% favorable among Republicans, compared to Newsom’s 9% favorable.
The brightest spots for Newsom in the survey are that Brown only leads him 43-38% in Northern California, compared to 50-19% in Southern California. Also, he actually beats Brown among voters 18-39 by 41-32%. Too bad for Newsom that even in Field’s estimation, that age cohort is just 24% of the voters while others – like Jim Moore – predict the 18-39s will comprise just 14% of the vote in June 2010.
Nobody knows who the hell the Republicans are. Even Whitman, with her millions and her magazine covers and her corporate cachet, is unknown to 68% of the voters, including 61% of the Republicans. Among those Republicans who have an opinion, it’s 29% favorable and 10% unfavorable.
About the same for Campbell: He’s a little better known than Meg statewide, with 59% of voters who have no opinion about him, including 60% of the Republicans. His fav-unfav among the Republicans is 25-15%.
Likewise Poizner statewide: 61% of voters have no opinion about him, including 60% of Reeps, who split 24-16% fav-unfav on the Commish.
Just to cover their behinds, the Field Poll threw Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein into the mix on some questions, although she has made clear she doesn’t plan to run, confirming the Calbuzz thesis set forth back when we launched March. And of course, if thrown into the Democratic race, Feinstein leads with 40%, compared to 27% for Brown and 16% for Newsom.
The Field Poll surveyed 1,005 registered voters, including 496 Democratic primary voters and 373 Republican primary voters in English and Spanish Sept. 18-Oct. 5. Voters were selected at random from the list of registered voters in California and were called both on land lines and cell phones. Results were weighted to known distributions of registered voters by party and other demographics. The margin of error for the overall sample is +/- 3.2% and for the sub-samples it is +/- 4.5%.