PPIC’s Trend-Confirming Poll

Fresh on the heels of a batch of Field Polls, the Public Policy Institute of California is out with its latest big all-in-one statewide poll. And it confirms some of the trends we’ve already identified in the recent batch of Field Polls, including:

Meg Whitman now leads Jerry Brown. PPIC has Whitman up 44-39 over Brown; Field had Whitman up 46-43. Steve Poizner is about 50 points behind Whitman in both polls, and as KQED’s John Myers notes, Poizner’s immigrant-bashing attempt to dig himself out of that hole is backfiring badly with Latino voters, driving them more strongly into Brown’s arms. At this point it’s hard to see any way Poizner can win this primary. Jerry Brown must prefer being the underdog to Whitman, since he isn’t likely to begin hard campaigning until the summer.

Boxer is facing a very close re-election battle. PPIC has Boxer up 44-43 over Fiorina (Field had Boxer leading 45-44 over Fiorina) and Campbell up 44-43 over Boxer (the same numbers as Field). Considering that the PPIC poll was done before the passage of the health care bill, however, this has to be seen as Boxer’s baseline. Now that she’s got a bill she can bring home to Californians, more Democrats and Boxer-friendly independents may return to the likely voter universe. And since Boxer hasn’t yet begun her campaign, there’s further reason to expect her numbers to improve. But this one will be close. PPIC also shows a closer race between Campbell and Fiorina than Field did.

Everybody still hates Arnold. PPIC is a bit more favorable to Arnold – they have 64% of all adults and likely voters disapproving of his performance, whereas Field found 71% disapproved. Still, it’s further sign that Californians are done with the Governator, and will be glad to see him back in Hollywood for good in 2011.

Spending cuts still aren’t popular. Unfortunately, PPIC chose not to ask the kind of specific and therefore extremely valuable questions about specific spending cuts that they asked in January. But they did find that only 39% of all adults wanted “mostly spending cuts,” with 38% supporting a mix of cuts and new taxes. When they asked about whether “higher taxes and more services” or “lower taxes and fewer services” were preferred, all adults were evenly split (46-45 for higher taxes) but likely voters favored lower taxes, 55-39, again indicating that November 2010 is a turnout election.

PPIC added a few new things to the mix:

Majority support for marriage equality. By a 50-45 margin, Californians support same-sex marriage. And a whopping 75% support repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Prop 14 is probably going to pass. In what should be a surprise to nobody, voters are indicating they’ll pass the top-two primary in June, 56% favoring and 27% opposing. 59% of Democrats are supportive, which is unfortunate since Prop 14 is designed to screw Democrats in particular by pushing primary fights out into the general election and attempting to push the party to the right.

5 thoughts on “PPIC’s Trend-Confirming Poll”

  1. Brown’s probably going to wait until October to start campaigning.

    Though I joke and have a bit hard on him in the past, I do have some sympathy for his situation. It’s difficult to run against someone who’s already spent tens of millions of dollars to beat a little known opponent who’s 50 points below her. Whitman’s signaling a willingness to buy the seat at any cost with those expenditures, and Brown’s fearing instigating a fight where she spends 20 million a month until the election to swamp the airwaves. That creates voter fatigue, and in the end there’s the risk of only radical right wingers still having the emotional impetus (of ressentiment) to vote.

    I think it’s a wrong strategy–she’s going to spend roughly the same amount of her personal wealth that she’s already budgeted for this campaign regardless of whether Brown campaigns or not. And that kind of consistent spending can cement perceptions and will create a very uphill climb. I can understand where others would disagree, though.

    Best of luck to him, whatever strategy he chooses. Can’t say I’ll give any money his way until I see the kind of campaign he’s running, though.

  2. The text of Prop 14 prohibits political parties from nominating candidates in primaries, but permits them to endorse, support, and “informally ‘nominate'” candidates by action of a party convention (or any other procedure chosen by the party, except for a primary).  Chosen candidates will be able to campaign as the endorsed candidate of the party, and the party may expend money on their behalf.  The endorsement will not be printed on the ballot, but the parties will be free to communicate the endorsement any other way they see fit, such as TV advertising, slate cards, and direct mail.

    This represents a potentially enormous transfer of power from registered voters to party insiders, reversing a few generations of reform that shifted party nominations from the control of insiders, to the registered voters of the party.  The “nomination” will now return to the control of the party cadre.

    This is why some people at the top of the parties are less than enthusiastic in opposing Prop 14.  They are theoretically against it, but they also know that if it passes, it will greatly enhance their role as gatekeepers to elected office, because they, and not primary voters, will control which candidate is identified as the party’s nominee (or “nominee”).

  3. Robert, I agree it’s frustrating to see PPIC not breaking out different kinds of cuts in the poll.  But isn’t it equally frustrating to see them not break out different kinds of tax options?  Every time the issue of revenue comes up, the GOP yells that Dems wants to “raise taxes,” which is heard by the average member of the public as meaning that his or her personal tax rate will go up.  I think this flaw in the PPIC poll is an example of the way our discourse, and ultimately the way we think about these issues, has been so affected by anti-tax rhetoric that we don’t even think to differentiate between different kinds of taxation, on different kinds of things.  

    At this point, just for balance, I’d like to see PPIC poll on different kinds of tax options – and include not only a variety of new taxes, but also the rollback of various tax breaks instituted over the last 30 years (or even just by the current administration).  I think we have to start acknowledging this long history of tax cuts when we talk about the budget.  But treating all taxation as one unitary (evil) item will make that impossible.

  4. so we hate Arnold but like eMeg who is Arnold 2.0

    Prop 14 is passing because nobody really knows or cares what it is but it sounds like something about something and it has “reform” in it and yeah, it’s those politicians and their politicianing that’s all to blame

    don’t cut spending but don’t raise taxes

    conservatives have destroyed this state but the worst thing you can be is a dirty hippie librul

    i friggin give up

Comments are closed.