Although a recent entrant to the contest, former Congressman Tom Campbell leads the Republican primary race for the U.S. Senate, with 30% of the vote, followed by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina at 25% and Orange County Assemblyman Chuck DeVore at 6%, a new Field Poll shows today.
Campbell also runs best in simulated match-ups against Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. She leads Campbell 48-38%, Fiorina 50-35% and DeVore 51-34%.
According to Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field: “Campbell’s lead over Fiorina is somewhat larger among GOP primary voters in Northern California, those who are moderates or moderately conservative, women and seniors. On the other hand, Fiorina is running about even with Campbell among GOP primary voters in Southern California, those who are strongly conservative, men and voters under age 65.”
As a Campbell supporter noted in an email we received curiously at 5:52 am (8 minutes before the embargo), Campbell is the only Republican candidate whose favorable rating is better than his unfavorable among general election voters.
He’s at 22-14%, Fiorina is at 16-18% and DeVore is at 6-9%. Of course, it’s also true that 64% of voters and 63% of Republicans have no opinion about Campbell; 66% of voters and 70% of Republicans have no clue about Fiorina, and a staggering 85% of voters and 81% of Republicans have no opinion about DeVore.
Boxer, on the other hand, has a 49-39% favorable rating among all voters: 71-17% among Democrats and the reverse, 15-74% among Republicans. Democrats love her; Republicans can’t stand her.
Here’s the best news for Babs: at the moment, her favorability is 55-27% among independents — a crucial voting bloc in the general election. If she keeps those numbers, she likely can’t be beaten. At the moment, Campbell’s favorability among independents is 17-10%, Fiorina’s is 18-15% and DeVore’s is 5-7%.
Because Calbuzz does not receive the Field Poll in advance (NB: we offered to pay for a subscription, but were rejected because Field executives fear the wrath of their MSM clients, some of whom have complained behind our backs about us getting the survey) we don’t have data to provide full analysis yet. [Update: We could see the basic release at 6 am and we're adding to this story now.]
But a few thoughts suggest themselves:
1 — We argued in an earlier post that based on the USC/LA Times poll, there appeared to be some overlap between Campbell and DeVore voters and we suggested – contra conventional wisdom – that Campbell might actually draw votes from the more conservative DeVore. These results suggest that may well be the case.
2 –-The gender card is not necessarily an asset for Fiorina in GOP primary. We suspect there’s not much difference in preferences of Republican women and men at this point. In fact, the data show, Campbell has a slightly larger lead over Fiorina among women 28-19% than he does among men 32-30%. This is probably due to the fact that Republican women are more moderate than GOP men and are more likely to be swayed by ideology than gender. This is confirmed by the poll’s finding that Campbell leads Fiorina by 13 points (30-23%) among those who say they are moderate or moderately conservative and by just 2 points (29-27%) among those who say they’re strong conservatives.
3 –- Campbell hasn’t spent a dime compared to Fiorina, so his lead has got to be based on the fact that he’s been known to Republican voters for a long time – or at least he’s better known than his opponents.
4 – With four in 10 Republicans still undecided and no serious media in play yet, these are little more than baseline numbers that should be expected to shift dramatically in the weeks and months to come.
The Field Poll surveyed 958 likely voters Jan. 5-17, including 202 likely Republican primary voters. The margin of error for the overall sample is plus or minus 3.3% and for the GOP sample it is 7.1%.
PS: Regarding the email we got at 5:52 am with the Field Poll results, our tipster writes: “I didn’t know what time the embargo was supposed to have lifted. I woke up, I refreshed the Field Poll public website, and saw the link. I had time to read it and write that email before I sent it out, too.”
We also note with interest that the San Francisco Chronicle’s web page shows the Field Poll story was posted at 4 am. Here’s the screen capture: