Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘opinion poll’



PPIC: Boxer, Brown Slim Leads; Big Gender Gaps

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

In the wake of the GOP upset in the U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, a new public poll finds California’s Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer – thanks to a big advantage among women – clinging to a narrow 4-point lead over  Republican Tom Campbell, who entered the race only two weeks ago.

The survey, from the Public Policy Institute of California, also shows Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown – trailing among men but leading among women — with a slim 5-point advantage over Meg Whitman, the Republican former CEO of eBay.

The results mirror those reported last week by the Field Poll, but with closer margins than the earlier survey: Field had Boxer and Brown each with 10-point leads over Campbell and Whitman.

Both widely respected, the two polls use wholly different sampling methods to determine who is a likely voter. Another key factor: the distribution of voters by age in the Field Poll is considerably older – and closer to our projections — than in the PPIC survey.*

In the GOP Senate primary field, Campbell leads with 27% of the likely voters, followed by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina at 16% and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore at 8%.  Interestingly, Campbell holds an 8-point edge over Fiorina among men but a 14-point lead over her among women. Nearly half of GOP voters — 48% — remain undecided in the Senate race, PPIC reported.

Boxer has long run better among women than among men, and the findings in the PPIC survey underscore that dynamic.

Against Campbell, Boxer is trailing among men, 40-46%, but leads among women, 50-36%. Against DeVore, Boxer loses the men 41-45% but carries women 53-33%. And against Fiorina, Boxer loses men 41-46% but interestingly has her largest margin among women – 55-33%.

Against all three challengers, she takes about eight in 10 Democrats while they capture eight in 10 Republicans. But Boxer holds an important lead among the independents: 42-37% over Campbell, 45-35% over Fiorina and 45-34% over DeVore. Assuming either Boxer or her challenger holds his or her partisans, the battle in the Senate race will come down to who can carry the independents.

This is where Campbell – who is pro-choice, pro-gay rights and moderate on the environment – could, with significant resources, pose a more serious threat to Boxer than either Fiorina or DeVore.

Over in the GOP primary for governor, Whitman, who held a 20-point lead over Campbell in December, before he switched races, now holds a 30-point lead over Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, her lone remaining major rival.

Even with 41% of the vote compared to Poizner’s 11%, however, an additional 44% of the GOP primary voters remain undecided.

The PPIC findings also suggest Whitman has a problem among women voters, much like the Field Poll showed. For example, Whitman leads Poizner by 35 points (48-13%) among men in the primary vote but by 25 points – one-third less – among women (34-9%).

In the primary, that’s a gender difference but in a general election match-up against Jerry Brown, it’s a genuine gender gap: It’s Whitman over Brown 43-38% among men but Brown over Whitman 44-30% among women. That’s a 19-point gender gap in Brown’s favor against the woman GOP candidate, giving Brown his overall 41-36% edge over Whitman.

The same is not true for a Brown-Poizner match-up: he leads Poizner 43-34% among men and 46-24% among women for an overall advantage of 44-29%.

Other findings in the PPIC poll:

Most Californians would be willing to pay higher taxes to maintain current funding for public schools and most favor spending cuts in prisons and corrections . . .

But while majorities want to protect K–12 schools and cut spending on prisons, Californians are as divided as their leaders on the overall strategy to deal with the state’s $20 billion budget deficit: 41 percent favor a mix of spending cuts and tax increases and 37 percent favor mostly spending cuts (9% favor mostly tax increases).

They are in more agreement when it comes to asking the federal government for help, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has done: 66 percent say California should seek federal aid to help meet its budget obligations.

PPIC surveyed 2,001 California adults Jan. 12-19, including 1,223 respondents deemed to be likely voters or whom 445 were identified as likely voters in the Republican primary. The margin of error for the overall survey is ±2 percent at the 95 percent confidence level, ±3 percent for likely voters and ±5 percent for the GOP primary.

Get the whole thing here.

* The differences between Field and PPIC are significant. Field calls only registered voters from the voter file and uses past voting behavior in the file to determine who is a likely voter; PPIC calls households at random (thereby reaching households with unlisted numbers)  and asks people if they are registered and likely to vote.

Field’s callers know how people are registered — Democrat, Republican, Decline to State or Other; PPIC asks people to tell them. Field makes voters who only use a cell phone (younger voters) a key part of their survey; PPIC includes 200 cell phone users but not necessarily people who have no land line.

One result:  While 45% of likely voters in the Field Poll are age 55 and older, just 39% of the voters in the PPIC poll are in that age bracket.  Because Brown has a powerful advantage among older voters, his percentages are likely understated in the PPIC survey. (BTW, the Calbuzz estimate, based on our experience and extensive review with pollsters and analysts, is that 59% of the electorate in November will be age 50 and older and about 46% will be age 55 and older.)


Does the Money Primary Matter in GOP Gov Race?

Monday, June 29th, 2009

emegcoverForty-nine weeks before California Republicans pick their candidate for governor, Tom Campbell is winning the Press Corps Primary, Steve Poizner leads the Attack Dog Primary and Meg Whitman is way ahead in the Fred Barnes/Weekly Standard  Sloppy Wet Kiss Primary.

The shape of the GOP nomination race remains unformed and uncertain, unlike the Democratic contest, which has settled — at least for now — into a mano-a-mano match-up. In contrast to Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom, the GOP contenders have been less visible, their competition to date waged largely for the benefit of the cognoscenti over endorsements, free media and the occasional cheap shot zinger.

The only reliable data we’ve seen is a Field Poll from March that found Whitman at 21%, Campbell at 18% and Poizner at 7%. But these numbers have little meaning since only 28% of Republicans have any opinion about Whitman and just 40% have a view on Campbell. And even though Poizner is a statewide officeholder, only 42% of Republcans have an opinion about him.

poiznerpointing1A key tactical moment for the Reeps will come Tuesday, however, when the rivals show their cards — and balance sheets – for the first big cash-raising period of the Money Primary. With eMeg and the Poison Commish, the two self-made Silicon Valley zillionaires, maneuvering to emerge as the favorite moderate of the right-wing primary voters, media coverage of the new fundraising reports will be crucial in shaping the narrative of the early stage of the campaign. (Even if most of the media coverage misses the point. See #1 below.)

With no clear front-runner among the three candidates now running – a fourth is still playing Hamlet – the campaign at this point is all about fundamentals: money, organization and message. With that in mind, here is a look at five key questions about the GOP primary:

1. Who wins the money primary – and does it really matter?

As a practical matter, neither Whitman nor Poizner needs to raise a dime from outside sources, since they’re both wealthy enough to finance their campaigns for governor and buy a couple of small island nations with the leftover change. For them, political contributions are not about raising the funds to run a campaign operation –- as they are for most mortal candidates. For Whitman and Poizner, fundraising is a kind fiscal Potemkin villagism –- done mainly for symbolic reasons to demonstrate that someone other than the candidate believes enough to invest in the campaign.

That’s why the Whitman campaign for months has been talking up expectations about her reporting at least $5 million raised this week, much of it from individual and organizational donors rather than from her own bank account. Raising a bunch of dough she doesn’t really need, the campaign hopes, will establish Whitman as a viable candidate who is more than a business executive dabbling in politics: “We will not disappoint,” said Whitman spokesman Mitch Zak. “The fundraising primary is a good indication of who can move voters.”

Poizner – who, in the past, has argued that campaign contributions are a measure of external support — has been more circumspect about how much he’ll report.  But his handlers  set out to inoculate their guy from a big eMeg money report, writing in a memo to his steering committee today:tomcampbell

“Many candidates are either ‘money’ candidates who rely on fundraising but lack a strong connection with voters or activists while others are ‘grassroots’ candidates who have difficulty raising the money necessary to get their message out and can rely only on volunteers and activists. Steve Poizner is unique in that he will have a fully-funded campaign with the resources necessary to get his message out as well as have impressive grassroots support that is vital in GOP primaries.”

As for Campbell, he will be the poor church mouse of the race and knows that no matter how much raises, his well-heeled foes will always have more.

2. How much do endorsements matter?

Poizner jumped out early in the campaign, starting last year to begin rounding up dozens of local, legislative and congressional endorsements that gave him a head start in putting together a statewide campaign organization. With a wide-open race, the endorsements of elected officials matter more than usual for 2010, because they can provide the infrastructure for registration, absentee and turnout operations, by offering volunteers, mailing lists and contributors.

For Poizner – who isn’t as personally wealthy as Whitman – endorsements are a kind of political currency. He’s been racking ‘em up like Phil Angelides did in the Democratic primary in 2006 – hoping to build a firewall against eMeg’s money.

In the last several weeks, however, Whitman has succeeded in flipping half-a-dozen former Poizner endorsers, including three legislators, a House member and a county chairwoman, all of whom withdrew their endorsements of the insurance commissioner and started singing the praises of eMeg. That’s the same as snatching Poizner’s purse.

At one point amid the rash of defections last week, Poizner chairman Jim Brulte responded by sending out a letter to GOP lawmakers in a bid to settle things down, contrasting his guy’s political and start-up business experience with Whitman’s CEO gig at eBay: “Though she has much to offer,” Brulte said of eMeg, “her campaign is once again proving why first time candidate business executives never win.”

“Voters simply don’t buy the connection that running an online auction company is the best training ground for our next governor,” he added. “And never in modern history has there been a worse time to be running on the ‘corporate CEO’ brand.”

Whitman’s sudden entry into the grassroots endorsement race, which clearly stung Team Poizner, followed several months when she gave a series of interviews to national media and became the flavor of the month for Beltway establishment Republicans. Among other props, she earned a gushy cover piece in the conservative Weekly Standard by Fred Barnes and the backing of high-profile GOPers, from ex-presidential candidate John McCain to congressional wunderkid Eric Cantor.

To a large extent, the jousting over endorsements is total inside baseball; like the battle of perception over fundraising. However, it matters as a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy: if members of Congress and the Assembly who’ll be facing election themselves next year stand up for a candidate for governor, it sets a marker for voters in their districts about who they should think about backing.

3. What do the candidates stand for?

With the economy and the state’s failing budget the only issues that matter for now, Whitman and Poizner have both been content to stand atop the hill, watching the battle and mouthing conservative platitudes that could be drawn from the 1996 Steve Forbes for president campaign, or the Milton Friedman script for almost any GOP nominating contest in the nation.

Campbell, by contrast, has been aggressive in analyzing, commenting and proposing on the state budget issue, partly because of his experience and background as an economist and public finance expert and partly because he has no choice. Unable to compete with Whitman and Poizner for money, Campbell needs to keep a high profile in the news; he’s helped in this effort because reporters generally respond favorably to his mix of specific, thoughtful ideas about the state’s problems, regular guy persona, and his instant accessibility to anyone with a notebook or a microphone.

As a policy matter, Campbell’s disciplined brand of fiscal conservatism comes with a strain of non-ideological realpolitick – as shown by his support for a short-term increase in the gas tax to ease the deficit, a proposal that may cause him a world of hurt in the primary. Whitman and Poizner for their parts have both largely avoided talking to California reporters familiar with the issues (about that interview with Calbuzz…) and so far have offered little but empty rhetoric and knee-jerk Republican talking points on fiscal issues.

4. Who is Peter Foy and why would he matter?

Foy is a conservative Ventura County supervisor who’s been doing a dance of the seven veils for months about whether or not he’ll enter the race.

Foy has never run statewide and has the naïve and breezy assurance of an overconfident former business executive who hasn’t learned that this stuff is harder than it looks. The reason anyone is still paying attention to him is that, unlike the trio of contenders now on the field, he’s pro-life and conservative on other cultural issues. As we wrote several months ago, the evangelical and social conservative bloc of the GOP does not have a horse in the race, and if Foy ever stops flapping his gums long enough to make a decision to get in, he’d likely begin with a double-digit base and shake up the race.

Were he to get in, Calbuzz thinks the most likely casualty would be Poizner, who has been trying to roll up conservative support for his anticipated battle with eMeg.

5. How bad will the economy get?

With all the signs suggesting that California will be in a deepening recession well into next year, it’s impossible to know whether voters in 2010 will be in the mood for a dose of Republican tax-cut, slash-and-burn orthodoxy, or looking to government to help ease the economic pain.

At this point, Whitman and Poizner have not offered even a hint that they think the government should do much beyond fire tens of thousands of employees and offer more tax breaks to business to help those affected by the recession. Campbell alone has put forward a proposal that offers a strategic look at what government can and should do to help create jobs and stem the loss of business to other states.

One night last week, Campbell got on the phone with several thousand voters who’d responded to a mass robo call inviting them to talk to the candidate on a teleconference, one of the cheapo campaign tactics he’ll be counting on. At one point, the several thousand people on the call were asked to do a touch tone poll to indicate what they identify as the state’s most important issue: the economy and the budget finished far ahead at one and two, a result that had the Campbell camp smiling.

Brown vs. Newsom: The Tale of the Tape

Friday, June 26th, 2009

chartThe latest J Moore Methods survey finds Jerry Brown leading Gavin Newsom in a two-way race for the 2010 Democratic nomination for governor 46-to-26 percent.  It’s the first serious poll we know about that considers a Brown-Newsom match-up.

Because at least half of us at Calbuzz have been in the polling business (hint: it’s the much younger guy), we’re pretty darn careful about putting much stock in private polls. In this case, however, we’ve got data (and crosstabs) from a guy whose work and reputation we know is rock solid, whose client is NOT one of the candidates and who has no horse in the race.

So with 525 completed surveys with Democrats and independents and a 4.7 percent margin of error, this June 20-23 phone survey of California voters is packed with reliable data about the shape of the Democratic race.

Newsom’s spinners see a 46-26 percent race as a half empty glass for Brown. It’s a sign of weakness, they argue, that a current statewide official, former governor and son of a governor, who’s been on the state ballot 13 times can’t manage 50% against a statewide newbie from San Francisco.

Good spin, but just that.

Not only does Brown – who has yet to announce his candidacy — hold a 20-point lead more than a year before the primary, but among voters age 60 and older, the AG’s lead is 54-20 percent. And that matters because, as Moore told us:  “The average age in the June 2010 Democratic primary electorate will likely be over 60.”

As Calbuzz sees it, Newsom has a humungous challenge.

According to data from the Secretary of  State, the average age of a voter in November 2008 (that’s the Obama election, for Calbuzzers with short memories) was 50, and Moore’s polling suggests the average age of voters in the November 2010 general will be about 57.

The aging electorate – a function of both the Baby Boom bubble working its way through the system and a younger generation of voters who are not as politically engaged – not only favors Brown over Newsom in the primary but also is likely to help the General in the general as well.

Newsom’s best numbers against Brown come among voters age 18-39, where he is ahead 37-26 percent in a two-man contest.  But Moore’s projections show this cohort would represent just 20 percent of the primary electorate.

Brown holds strong leads within other age categories: 49-to-28 percent among voters 40-59 (41 percent of the primary electorate) and 54-to-20 percent among voters aged 60 and older (38 percent of the primary voters).

Newsom also shows strength on his Bay Area home turf.  Democrats and independents hold a favorable view of him – 55-to-21 percent  – and he runs slightly ahead of Brown — 41-to-37 percent in the head-to-head match-up in the Bay Area.

However, Brown’s favorability in the Bay Area is even stronger – 54-to-13 (plus 41 percentage points) compared to Newsom’s plus 34 points). Brown also leads the one-on-one match-up in all other regions of the state: 46-to-24 percent in LA County; 52-to-16 percent in other Southern California, and 52-to-26 percent in other Northern California counties.

Moore’s poll included statistically significant measures both before and after L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa dropped out this week.

On the key measure of ethnic voters, Tony V held 34 percent of Latinos, compared to 28 percent for Brown and 9 percent for Newsom.

But with Antonio out of the way, Brown zooms to a 51-to-22 percent edge over Newsom among Latinos — a 23-point gain for the old guy and 13-point gain for the fresh-faced kid.

Latinos obviously know Brown a lot better than they know Newsom: 63 percent say they know who Brown is and his favorable-unfavorable among them is 42-to-3. By comparison, 41 percent of Latinos know Newsom, and his favorable-unfavorable is 15-to-8 percent.

Brown’s biggest problem lies squarely in the area where Newsom and campaign strategist Garry South have him in their sights:

“Younger people don’t know what Jerry stands for,” Moore said.

chart2While 46 percent of Democratic and independent voters overall say they agree with Brown on important issues, that number is just 24 percent among the 18-39 voters, compared to 50 percent among those 40-59 and 53 percent among voters 60 and older.

Overall, 38 percent of voters think they agree with Newsom on the issues, but he’s strongest among those 18-39 years old (41 percent) and 40-59 (43 percent) and weakest among voters 60 and older (30 percent).

Newsom’s problem is the opposite of Brown’s: “He has to tell older voters he’s got what it takes to be governor,” Moore said.

Among all Democrats and independents, just 41 percent agree that Newsom has “sufficient skills to be governor,” and the view of his readiness to be governor declines as voters get older: 47 percent among those 18-39 say he’s ready, compared to 44 percent among those 40-59 and 35 percent among those 60 and older.

Brown currently enjoys a huge advantage on this fundamental measure, as 69 percent of  primary voters say he’s got what it takes, which breaks down this way:  40 percent among those 18-39;  74 percent among those 40-59; and 78 percent among those 60 and older.

Moore emphasized the importance of this measure. Among voters who actually cast ballots in June 2008, Newsom scores just 39-to-23 percent compared to 77-to-8 percent for Brown.

Bottom line: To have a chance in a one-on-one primary race against Brown, Newsom is going to have to go beyond a straight generational pitch and find a way to convince large numbers of middle-age and geezer Democrats he’s got the Right (or Left) Stuff.

Calbuzz Emptor Caveats (that’s Latin for covering our ass)

1. There hasn’t been a campaign yet, and things always change when punches get thrown.

2. External events – an initiative challenge to Prop. 8 or an extraordinary Newsom registration and turnout effort among young voters – could change the makeup of the June 2010 primary electorate.

3. Time’s running short, but it’s not too late for a wild card candidate to jump in the race and scramble the dynamics.

4. Jerry’s really old.

5. Conventional wisdom is always wrong.

– By Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine