Jerry Brown Has Some Work To Do

The latest Field Poll is out, and it shows a virtual tie in the race for governor. Jerry Brown has 44%, Meg Whitman has 43%, and 13% are undecided or backing someone else.

In itself, that’s not so bad for Brown. Whitman has been dominating the airwaves since February, and won a big victory in her primary race, whereas the Brown campaign has been relatively silent. Yet Brown has a better favorable rating – 42-40 – than Whitman, who has a slightly negative rating at 40-42.

The problem comes when you drill down into the numbers and find that Brown is in trouble with some important segments of the electorate.

Young voters – those of us age 18-39 – support Whitman, 45-42, while voters over 50 back Brown by a similar margin.

Brown’s lead among Latinos is just 11 points – 50-39. And Decline to State voters, who lean Democratic, give Brown another narrow lead, 42-39.

It’s not easy for any Democrat to win an election without strong support from young voters and Latinos, and with a wider margin among independent voters. Brown may well be able to pull out a narrow victory here, but it’s going to be a very bumpy ride between now and November 2, with no room for error.

The numbers for younger voters and Latinos are influenced by the fact that Field is polling likely voters – which indicates that a LOT of young people and Latinos are planning to sit out the November election, at least as of right now. Younger voters usually go strongly for the Democratic candidate, and although Field’s definition of “young” is a bit broad, reaching into the more right-wing Generation X cohort, it’s still a concern that Whitman has a lead here at all.

With Latino voters, Brown should be doing better than an 11 point lead. Whitman got caught up in an ugly Republican primary that featured a lot of Latino bashing. But perhaps Whitman has so far avoided the worst effects of it. If she can hold Brown to 50% among Latino voters, she has a real shot at winning.

Brown needs to ramp up his outreach to Latino voters, whose interests he has championed for over 40 years, and he needs to get working on articulating a clear vision of California’s future that can inspire the younger voters who turned up to elect Obama in 2008 to show up and elect Brown in 2010. He could also embrace Prop 19, the cannabis legalization initiative, which is one of the few options we’ve got to drive younger voters to the polls this fall, in the absence of an inspiring Obama-style campaign, which nobody really expects Brown to run.

Jerry Brown clearly has some work to do to win this election. He needs to do better with these core Democratic constituencies to have a better chance of holding on a beating Whitman. Brown may be hoping that a barrage of negative ads will make the difference, but all that will do is reinforce the current likely voter universe and won’t draw out the younger voters and Latinos (an overlapping group, to be sure) he needs to put some distance between himself and Whitman.

6 thoughts on “Jerry Brown Has Some Work To Do”

  1. Jerry Brown is killing his political chances by opposing Proposition 19. He needs to be helped to understand that it is only Proposition 19 voters who will have the margin to give him the victory. If he were neutral, and said he would let the voters decide, and be bound by those results, he might not lose the entire progressive grass roots. But opposing this measure is political suicide for him.

  2. Brown needs to do ANYTHING other than replaying that “Meg didn’t vote” commercial. Whitman has multiple ads on TV (at least in the LA market). The only Brown commercial I’ve seen (over and over and over) is the one where he talks about how Meg didn’t vote for 28 years. In my opinion, there are far worse things about Whitman than the fact that she did not vote.

    Brown needs to remind people that Meg is part of an “entitlement” class and that she believes she can buy her way to the governorship.

  3. Brown has already wasted so much potential, hopefully this will be a wake up call that he needs to campaign. Slow and cheap aren’t campaign virtues.

  4. Brown’s website is useless for anything on issues. He needs to affirm his approach to governing California in 2010. The past is not important and not being Whitman will not be enough. He needs to affirm the priorities and quell fears against tax hikes without making unrealistic commitments. He needs to create an affirmative set of plans for small business owners who will naturally be fearful of a Democrat. And a Brown message about Brown needs to be all arounf the airwaves, signage, and radio. Create a little excitment, Jerry!  

  5.  I think its banking on the debates.

    Actually his web site is very useless.

    I am not going to be staying in California if eMeg becomes Governor. Its time for the people to stop relying meaningless jobs. I do mean meaningless, how much are those dollars going to be worth with hyper inflation? If we keep going down this road, that’s what will happen.

    Why continue to leave here? I don’t get it, its going to get worst before it gets better because nobody cares. I should say a large enough block doesn’t care.

    When you have basically about 50-56% voting, what is everybody else doing?

    Until we have 2-3-4 million marching on Washington demanding for a shift, or should I say a return back to the Left of Center of the 1960’s, its all hopeless and people are going to die.


  6. Yea, I agree it’s time for Jerry to wake up. Ibet a lot of people in the state don’t even know he’s AG !  The fact that young people are for Whitman is scary but also not surprising since she is associated with eBay. One of friends is all for WHitman because of “what she did with eBay.” Pathetic.  These folks have to be reminded of what she plans to do to this state and her support for Prop. 8.  Carly Fiorina ought to be tied around her neck since they are two in a pod. And how about replaying some of her “I support the AZ immigration more than Poizner”, commercials from the primary on Spanish TV. (Instead of the ones she has that deny she ever said that).

    Jerry has a lot of options and when he uses them these numbers should turn stronger in his favor.  


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