Meg’s Trouble With Women, Jerry’s With Youth


Your faithful Calbuzz datasluts couldn’t wait to mine last week’s Field Poll crosstabs for the governor’s race, so we could tell you about nuggets like:

While Jerry Brown is beating Meg Whitman 44-32% overall, he’s ahead 48-33% among women who give eMeg a pathetic favorable rating of 19-20%.

Facing numbers like that, Meg’s multi-million-dollar consulting corps must be scrambling to figure out how in the world they can sell their candidate to women voters.

On the other hand, we already noted that eMeg is crushing Commish Steve Poizner in favorability among Republicans – she’s at 34-8% positive and he’s gasping at 18-19%. Down in the crosstabs, however, we find that the former eBay CEO is killing the Insurance Commissioner among the conservative GOP primary voters Poizner is trying to capture by 45-15% and among what Field called “tea party enthusiasts” by 51-12%.

So excuse us if we pay a bit more attention at this stage of the race to a Brown-Whitman match-up than to a Brown-Poizner contest. Which leads us to the fact that although  Brown’s overall favorable rating overall is 44-32% positive, among people most likely to actually vote in November – those age 50 and older – his favorable is 51-34%.

However, the Attorney General’s favorable among those under 50 is just 36-29% and among those under 30 — who can’t even remember when he was governor — it’s just 24-17%. Six in 10 younger voters have no opinion about him.

The good news in this for Crusty the General is that our best estimate – from pollsters we trust – is that about six in 10 voters in November are likely to be 50 and older.

The bad news for Brown is that no matter who emerges as his Republican opponent -– and at this point it sure looks like eMeg with her unlimited self-funded campaign budget — Brown can expect to get hammered on TV starting in about March with ads aimed at younger voters portraying him as old news, over-the-hill status quo.

“Jerry Brown and his entrenched allies will be spending millions to defend failure and the status quo in Sacramento, and Meg is committed to defeating them,” Whitman mouthpiece Sarah Pompei told Contra Costa Timesman Steve Harmon last week, limbering up for some serious trash talk.

And even if, as we hear, Brown’s got $12.5 million in the bank (some of which is restricted for the general election), he’s not likely to have enough to strike back with much force -– at least not in paid media. Which means he’d better have some nifty op-research up his sleeve and hope it’s strong enough to put eMeg on the defensive.

There is an opening for the AG there: Meg’s favorable is just 25-20% overall, so 65% of the voters don’t even have an opinion about her yet. And though she’s doing better in Southern California and the Central Valley, in her own Bay Area back yard her favorable is a negative 27-30%.

Brown’s goal right now is to pre-frame the onslaught against him as an attack by the silk-stockinged, white-gloved, greedy, corporate bastards against his Little Guy Campaign, to wit, his uberpopulist comment last week on KGO radio:

“Her whole theory is that she can buy the mind of California and whoever fights her will be so small, compared to the amount of money that she’s gathered up on Wall Street, that she will pulverize any opposition through the paid takeover of the airwaves of California.”

We noted last week that Brown is beating Whitman 71-15% among Democrats and – importantly – 47-25% among independents, while Meg leads 69-13% among Republicans.

GOP Primary and General Election Match-Ups

But in the crosstabs we also find that while Brown kills Whitman 81-8% among liberals, and Whitman wins handily at 66-18% among conservatives, it’s Jerry who’s got the self-identified “middle of the road” voters at this point, by 47-30%. They represent 46% of the likely voters in the Field Poll’s November projection.

It’s no surprise that Brown leads 59-33% among union households while Whitman leads 51-40% among those with incomes of $100,000 or more.

Brown and Whitman run almost dead even among white voters at 43-42%, but among Asians and Pacific Islanders Brown leads 39-19%, among Latino’s he’s ahead 52-29% and among blacks the AG is ahead 76-7%.

Calbuzz Bottom Line: To get in the game, the Commish  is going to have to go negative on eMeg with something that rings true and can peel away conservatives, otherwise, he’s dead in the water.  As long as Poiz remains irrelevant, eMeg has to boost her status among women and begin to create a Jerry-as-aged-incumbent narrative. Crusty needs to hold the women and independents, make a positive impression on younger voters and prepare for the negative attacks about to come.

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  1. avatar Devon says:

    “Calbuzz Bottom Line: To get in the game, the Commish is going to have to go negative on eMeg”

    That is the problem, he has gone negative and it started months ago. Poizner has even gone so far as to launch a website dedicated to trashing Meg Whitman. And we can’t forget the Poizner backed antics against Whitman at the CRP Fall convention in Indian Wells. Voter’s generally don’t like negative campaigns. It’s no wonder Poizner’s message isn’t resonating with conservatives and Whitman’s is. Just listen to interviews and spend some time on their websites, the difference is clear: Whitman is on point with her plan and Poizner spends way to much time focusing on his primary opponent. The more Poizner attacks Whitman the better chance he has of distracting voters into believing he is the “real” conservative in the race. The problem with that tactic is voters can see thru it and according to the polls, they have.

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