The Los Angeles Times has released their final poll on the primary election with 26 pages of data and analysis based on interviews with voters between May 20 and 25. There is a treasure trove of information here that bears not only on the June primary, but gives an indication of where the voters are today as to the November election.
I recommend to anyone who seriously follows California politics to read the poll itself. There’s a lot of meat on the bone here, including what the political consultants call “the cross tabs.” Its results are certain to be spun by the campaigns, the candidates, and the media.
This poll, like the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll recently released, show Angelides ahead by 3 points, 37 to 34% amongst likely voters, which is within the margin of error of the poll. More about the Governor’s race in a bit. Let’s look at the other races.
As to the “down ticket races,” the largest group in all the races, except for Attorney General and Insurance Commissioner, is the undecided. Most do not know the candidates.
Jerry Brown is far ahead in the race for Attorney General. He leads Rocky Delgadillo by 60 to 27%. Only 13% remained unsure. Brown has the name recognition—and a favorable/unfavorable rating of 67 to 16% amongst the 83% of Democratic primary voters who have an opinion about him. Despite his ads (attacking Brown), Delgadillo remains unknown to about two-thirds of those voters. The Times poll calls this race a “mismatch.”
For Lieutenant Governor, 46% of the voters had yet to make up their minds. Of those who had decided, State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has 30%, compared with 16% for State Senator Jackie Speier, and 11% for State Senator Liz Figueroa. The analysis shows that both Speier and Figueroa have launched television ads just this week. Speier has more money for ads, but she is going to have to take a commanding lead in the undecideds to have any chance of prevailing.
For Secretary of State, a full 58% of likely voters did not have a choice. State Senators Bowen and Ortiz were tied at 21% each. This is a definite move towards Bowen, as she had been behind with only 13% and 22% favoring Ortiz in the Times poll a month ago. It seems that the undecided voters are breaking her way, but this race is currently up for grabs.
In the State Controller’s race, State Senator Joe Dunn has 25% of the vote and Board of Equalization member John Chiang has 20%. Once again, 55% of the voters had not made up their mind. Dunn has launched a series of ads based on his work as a State Senator uncovering Enron abuses. With those ads, he probably has the edge, but not that much of one.
In the race for the Democratic nomination for Insurance Commissioner, Cruz Bustamante, not spending any real money, is ahead 59 to 21% against unknown John Kraft.
The ballot propositions data show that most voters do not have opinions and that both are passing when the voters are read the ballot description. But there is a torrent of ads on the airwaves right now, and how those affect the final vote is one of the big unknown questions.
The Governor’s Race: Where to begin?
The current 37 to 34% edge that Angelides has over Westly is within the margin of error of 5% of the poll and a large 28% of what the Times defines as likely voters have yet to make up their minds. As the Times states, the ultimate outcome will be determined by turnout. They analyze the surges by both candidates and what has been behind one candidate racing ahead of the other and then being overtaken at the next turn, and the neck and neck race at the finish.
There is fodder here for everyone and the analysis of different groups of voters is fascinating. So is the polling data on Schwarzenegger, theoretical matchups in the Fall, and whether the state is going in the right direction.
The Times concludes that so far the negative ads do not seem to have hurt either Angelides or Westly. Angelides has a 62 to 18% favorable/unfavorable rating amongst Democratic primary voters. Westly has a 65% to 13% favorable/unfavorable rating. More Westly voters have an unfavorable opinion of Angelides than Angelides voters have of Westly by 36 to 21%.
Arnold’s approval ratings are the same as before, 44% approve of his performance as Governor and 51% disapprove. In the strongly approve/disapprove categories, he loses 13% to 27%. Amongst independent voters, he has a 40% approval rating, an improvement. He has slipped a bit in Republican support. Latinos are unhappy with Schwarzenegger by 58 to 31%.
When asked who they planned to vote for in November, 32% said they definitely or probably would vote for Schwarzenegger, and 47% said they would definitely or probably not.
But when faced with the choice of Westly versus Schwarzenegger, Westly has 50% to the Governor’s 40%. When the same question is asked about a race with Angelides, there is a virtual tie with Angelides getting 46% to Schwarzenegger’s 45%.
There appears to be some contradictory findings here. Both Angelides and Westly will make their best arguments as to electability, and Westly has won that part of the argument, according to the poll, so far.
The infrastructure bonds are ahead (whatever that means at this point) and voters say that Schwarzenegger’s support of them will not change their minds on who they will vote for in the Governor’s race. The Times analysis is that the bonds are not helping Schwarzenegger gain any more support than he had before.
By 55 to 34% amongst all registered voters, California is on the “wrong track’ rather than going in the “right direction.” Democrats are 2 to 1 in this direction and even Republicans are 45 to 42% in this direction.
US Senator Feinstein will get reelected unless there is a catastrophe.
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