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PPIC Poll: Poizner’s Immigrant Bashing Looks Lame

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

On the high-profile races for governor and U.S. Senate, the survey out Wednesday night from the Public Policy Institute of California breaks little new ground. But, combined with the Field Poll from last week, it does offer some insight into whether it makes any sense at all for Steve Poizner to be using illegal immigration to make himself the preferred candidate for conservatives in the Republican primary against Meg Whitman.

The answer? We don’t get it.

According to PPIC’s polling, 66% of registered voters believe illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in the U.S. for two years or more should be given a chance to keep their jobs and apply for legal status. And that includes 78% of Democrats, 68% of independents and even 49% of Republicans, compared to 46% of Republicans who say deport ’em.

In other words, this is not a slam-dunk issue with Republicans. Apparently Poizner thinks he can goose the issue a bit (see Pete Wilson, 1994, “They Keep Coming”), feeding off a sentiment PPIC found: that while 64% of Democrats and 52% of independents say immigrants are a benefit to California, 68% of Republicans say they are a burden.

“It’s somewhat fertile ground,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “But it doesn’t have the salience and relevance that it had in earlier downturns . . . That’s not to say it won’t resonate with some of the more conservative voters, but it doesn’t seem like a topic that’s going to attract broad support among Republican voters this time around.”

True, the Field Poll found, illegal immigration is a top-tier issue for Republicans (fourth in importance after the state budget deficit, jobs/economy and taxes) compared to a lower-level issue for voters overall. As Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo noted of Poizner: “He’s singled out an issue that is of greater importance to Republican primary voters. It’s red meat . . . Whether it’s going to make a difference, I don’t know. He’s so far behind.”

Indeed. Poizner is in a huge hole: PPIC found him 50 points behind Whitman at 61-11% — about the same as the Field Poll’s 63-14%. It’s hard to see how he can gain enough ground on Whitman on this issue. On the other hand, maybe the Commish is part of a secret GOP plot to make eMeg look more moderate in the general election: if Poizner comes up short, he will have succeeded in making Whitman look more reasonable to Latino voters in November.

Heavens knows she needs some help on that front: while PPIC has her ahead of Brown 44-39% overall, he’s beating her 45-35% among Latinos (it was 54-25% for Brown in the Field Poll). Even before Brown makes a serious case to Latino voters, as Calbuzz noted the other day.

BTW, in case you missed it, catch Tony Quinn’s bitch-slap of Poizner at Fox & Hounds under the headline “Poizner’s Suicidal Mission” in which he argues:

Facing political collapse, he has resorted to the historic tactic of a political scoundrel, race baiting, in this case making immigrant bashing the central theme of his faltering campaign . . . Poizner has accomplished one thing; he’s made himself unelectable in November, and further damaged his own party.

PPIC, meanwhile, found that Whitman now leads Attorney General Jerry Brown 44-39% among likely November voters. Partisan support moved just a skosh between January and March – Democrats now 65-17% for Brown, were 69-12% for Brown in January; Republicans now 77-10% for Whitman, were 73-10% for Whitman in January.

But independents – those who have no roots in either party and who are most susceptible to Whitman’s TV ad campaign – moved big time. They were 36-28% for Brown in January and by March they had lurched to 43-37% for Whitman – a net 14% shift in two months. In other words, eMeg’s positive ads for herself, her attacks on Poizner and his attacks on Whitman have helped boost Meg with independent voters.

Looking at the electorate by age, Brown runs best – 71-17% — among Democrats age 55 and older, compared to 61-17% among Democrats age 18-54. But Whitman creams Brown among Republicans, 76-8% among Republican age 18-54 and 79-11% among Republicans 55 and older.

All of which suggests Brown’s challenge is to move independents of all ages back into his column and knock Whitman down among the nearly two in 10 Democrats who are currently enamored with her. This is where – if Calbuzz is reading the tea leaves correctly – Brown will use eMeg’s stand against AB32, the pioneering climate change law, to drive her supporters to him.

Other findings, lifted straight out of PPIC’s press release:

Fiorina, Campbell vs Boxer

“The Republican primary race for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat has tightened since January, when Tom Campbell led both Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore among Republican likely voters (27% Campbell, 16% Fiorina, 8% DeVore). Today, Campbell and Fiorina are in a close race (24% Fiorina, 23% Campbell), and DeVore’s level of support is unchanged (8%). In this campaign—which has seen little advertising—the largest percentage of likely voters (44%) is undecided, similar to January (48%).

“In hypothetical November matchups, incumbent Boxer is deadlocked with Campbell (43% to 44%) . . . A plurality of independents support Campbell (48% Campbell, 32% Boxer, 20% undecided). Since January, support for Boxer has dropped 10 points among independents, and Campbell’s support has increased 11 points . . . “Boxer is in a similarly tight race with Fiorina (44% to 43%) . . . Among independents, Fiorina leads Boxer (41% Fiorina, 35% Boxer, 24% undecided).”

First ever: half the voters favor same-sex marriage

“Among all Californians, residents are more likely to favor (50%) than oppose (45%) same-sex marriage for the first time in the PPIC Statewide Surveys. Support among all adults has never surpassed 45 percent since the question was first asked in January 2000. There are clear partisan divisions: majorities of Democrats (64%) and independents (55%) are in favor, and most Republicans (67%) are opposed.

“There is much more consensus on the issue of gays and lesbians in the military. In the wake of Obama’s announcement that he would like to repeal the federal “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy passed in 1993, 75 percent of Californians say that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.”

Stanford Movement: “Boot Condi for War Crimes”

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

US-CONDOLEEZZA RICEAbout 150 protest veterans, who led the fight 40 years ago to dislodge Stanford University from the War in Vietnam, on Sunday called on Stanford to sever relations with former Provost Condoleezza Rice, arguing that she committed war crimes while on leave as Secretary of State.

They understand it’s a long shot: Stanford relishes having a former Secretary of State on the faculty and is unlikely to conclude, as a Faculty Advisory Board would have to, that while on leave, Rice engaged in false statements, misrepresentation of sources and a pattern of egregious intellectual dishonesty. Unless, of course, Rice is actually prosecuted for overseeing and approving of torture – which would require the Obama administration and/or Congress to hold Bush administration officials responsible for breaking the law.

Whether this happens or not, the anti-war left wants Rice to go. As longtime campus peace activist Rachelle Marshall put it at a panel discussion on Saturday: “Stanford is harboring a war criminal.”

The former students, faculty and outside agitators who gathered at Stanford this weekend were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the April 3rd Movement, in which a nine-day take-over of the Applied Electronics Laboratory and ensuing street protests brought an end to secret military research at Stanford.

That movement began in October 1968, when many of those now attending the reunion had nailed a document on the door of the trustees’ office demanding that Stanford “halt all military and economic projects and operations concerned with Southeast Asia.”

Recalling that moment, the veterans on Sunday delivered a petition from “Stanford Say No to War” that stated: “Our former Provost, current Political Science Professor, and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Condoleezza Rice, should be held accountable for any serious violations of the law (including ratified treaties, statutes and/or the U.S. Constitution) through investigation and, if the facts warrant, prosecution by appropriate legal authorities.”

A3M leader Marjorie Cohn, now president of the National Lawyers’ Guild, said, “By nailing this petition to the door of the president’s office, we are telling Stanford that the university should not have war criminals on its faculty. There is prima facie evidence that Rice approved torture and misled the country into the Iraq war. Stanford has an obligation to investigate those charges.”

Rice didn’t help herself when she was asked, at an earlier meeting with students, whether waterboarding is torture:

“The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the Convention Against Torture,” she replied. “So that’s — and by the way, I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency . . .By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture.”

As widely noted, her statement echoed Richard Nixon’s circular, self-referential Watergate logic: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” You can see the whole Rice exchange here.

Note: Calbuzzer Phil Trounstine was a member of A3M and participant in the 2009 reunion.