PPP: Brown Up By 5, Whitman’s Unfavorables Still High

Public Policy Polling is out with a new survey of the race for governor, and they find that Jerry Brown has a 5 point lead over Meg Whitman, 47-42. As PPP explains, Californians don’t appear too fond of either candidate, but they really don’t like Meg Whitman:

Brown’s lead isn’t much a function of his own popularity- a plurality of voters in the state view him in a negative light with 42% seeing him favorably and 45% unfavorably. Republicans (86%) are much more strong in their dislike of Brown than Democrats (69%) are in their favor and independents split against him by a 30/55 margin as well.

Whitman, however, is even more unpopular. Only 35% of voters view her in a positive light with 49% seeing her negatively. That’s a slight improvement from a 30/50 spread when PPP last polled the race in July but shows Californians still haven’t grown particularly found of her.

PPP also found that while Whitman is winning independents 45-37, she only gets 12% of Democrats, which isn’t enough to win. More importantly, they also found that there is no enthusiasm gap here in California: that Democrats are likely to vote in significant numbers, boosting Brown:

…there is no depressed turnout among Democrats as there is in many other states. Brown now tops Whitman among likely voters, 47-42, after being up 46-40 among registered voters two months ago.

Also like the Boxer-Fiorina matchup, independents have switched their allegiances, from a 47-31 Brown lead last time to a 45-37 Whitman edge now. But independents account for only 18% of the voters. Dampening that development is a decrease in support from Democrats, who make up 49% of the electorate; she had 17% of them last time, but only 12% now.

The crosstabs show that Brown is doing particularly well among younger voters, where he leads by nearly 25 points (50-26). Brown has a similar lead among Latinos, a huge lead among African Americans, and a 4 point lead (48-44) among Asian Americans. Among whites, Whitman narrowly leads 50-42.

Overall this suggests a couple of things. First, that PPP is right that there is an Arnold Schwarzenegger effect on this election, and it’s working against Whitman. Californians have very low approval of Arnold, and that makes them suspicious of another prominent, well-funded Republican candidate for governor.

Second, it shows that Whitman’s massive ad blitz has if anything solidified the Democratic base against her, in support of Jerry Brown. Whitman’s ads not only increase her unfavorables, but they show her strength as a candidate, causing Democrats to rally to defend their state and their values against her efforts to buy the election and destroy California.

With six weeks left until election day, this race is still very close. Jerry Brown is going to have to step up his campaigning and reach out to undecided voters, as well as engage progressive independent voters, and try to bring out more Millennial voters and voters of color in order to hang on and win.

9 thoughts on “PPP: Brown Up By 5, Whitman’s Unfavorables Still High”

  1.   I think it’s pretty clear that Brown will win (and Boxer

    also).  Democrats need to begin planning for the day after

    election day.  Hopefully, Prop 25 will win (and every day

    the budget doesn’t get passed will increase the chances of

    that).  So the legislature should be getting ready to pass

    a majority-rule budget on November 3rd.  Maybe there can

    be a bone thrown in so Schwartz will sign it–otherwise,

    get ready to wait until January 2cd.

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