The two Republicans most likely to challenge Barbara Boxer in her bid for a fourth Senate term received lukewarm support in the most recent Field Poll of Republican voters. State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) is favored by 20%, while businesswoman Carly Fiorina, who has not yet formally announced her candidacy, is at 21%. Nearly 60% of respondents were undecided. In matchups against the Republicans, Boxer holds leads of 17 points over DeVore and 14 points over Fiorina.
The California Budget Project has created a table describing many of the provisions in the $787 billion stimulus package that will benefit California. Details for each provision include program area, purpose, and estimated impact in California.
In a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, Governor Schwarzenegger’s approval ratings have slipped to 44%, which is down 6 points since January and 13 points since December. The governor’s lowest approval rating was 33%, which was in October 2005.
Approval of the legislature among Californians is down to 30%.
The state’s budget woes, which have been heavily featured in the news lately, are a source of particular concern among Californians, according to the PPIC poll. 68% say that the budget situation is a “big problem.” 56% say that they are “very concerned” about the effects of spending reductions in the governor’s latest budget proposal. 42% prefer a mix of budget cuts and tax increases to deal with the budget crisis. In general, Californians are extremely pessimistic about the way things are going nationally — 73% say that things are going in the wrong direction, the highest point in the 10-year history of the PPIC poll in which this question has been asked.
The poll also asks about Proposition 98, the eminent domain initiative on the June ballot that would restrict or eliminate rent control in jurisdictions in which it is now in effect. 41% of likely voters say that they would vote against Proposition 98. 37% say that they would vote for it. Proposition 99, a competing initiative that would supersede Proposition 98 if it got more votes on the June ballot, garners 53-27% support.
Summing up last night’s statewide election results …
The latest Field Poll shows Senator Barack Obama pulling close to even with Senator Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination in California. Obama now trails Clinton by just two percentage points among likely voters (36-34%). This is a dramatic change since the last Field Poll was released on January 22. That poll showed Obama trailing Clinton by 12 percentage points.
Other recent polls released this weekend or late last week, including the CNN/Opinion Research national survey, and the American Research Group and Reuters/C-Span/Zogby tracking polls for California, show similar trends. Obama’s candidacy seems to be gaining momentum.
According to a recent report from the Pew Hispanic Center, the gap in party affiliation among Hispanics has widened drmamatically in the past 1 to 2 years. The gap in affiliation between Hispanics who identified themselves as Democrats and those who identified themselves as Republicans was only 21% in 2006. The gap is now 34%.
In 2004, 32% of Hispanic voters in California voted for George Bush. Bush lost the state by 10 percentage points. Hispanics constitute a strategic percentage of eligible voters in 4 out of 6 states where George Bush won in 2004 by 5 percentage points or fewer. (The 4 states are New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado.) In California, Hispanics constitute a project 16.8% of the share of the projected atate vote in 2008. In states like California, where the vote for president could be closely contested, the participation of Hispanic voters could mean the difference between one party winning or losing the election. That reality is even more apparent in states like the four mentioned above, because the 2004 election was far more closely contested in those states.
A new Field Poll shows New York Senator Hillary Clinton with a commanding 12-point lead over Illinois Senator Barack Obama in California in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, even after Obama’s convincing 8-point caucus victory in Iowa on January 3 and the ensuing flood of positive media coverage that ensued. (Obama has not won a caucus or primary since Iowa.) Former North Carolina Senator and 2004 vice-presidential nominee John Edwards is a distant third.
The breakdown is Clinton 39%, Obama 27%, and Edwards 10%. Clinton’s lead over Obama has narrowed significantly since mid-December, when her lead was one of 14 points, and since October, when her lead was a whopping 25 points. Edwards has never polled above 13% since the presidential preference question started being asked in March 2007.
Clinton Leads Obama by 12 Points in California [Field Poll]
Clinton’s lead over Obama is wider among Latinos, seniors, non-college graduates, and those with annual household incomes under $40,000. Obama has the advantage among African-Americans, college grads, and those with annual household incomes over $80,000. (This pattern holds in other caucus and primary states as well.) Clinton’s lead over Obama is down to 7 points if you consider only Bay Area registered Democrats.
Another Field Poll finds that California registered voters continue to have a “dismal appraisal of Congress’ current performance,” with 66% expressing disapproval and only 20% expressing approval. Approval was somewhat higher in March 2007, a few months after the 110th Congress was voted into office and its session began, with 64% disapproval and 35% approval. Otherwise, the disapproval level is roughly at the same number that it has been for the past two years, although the approval level ties August 2007 (20%) for the lowest number in the past 16 years.
Nancy Pelosi’s disapproval rating is at 38%, which is slightly lower than the 40% recorded in October but statistically insignificant. 35% of registered voters approve of the Speaker’s performance. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s approval rating is at 50%, which is high compared with other high-visibility California Democratic Congressional figures but lower than ratings she had at earlier points in 2007. Senator Barbara Boxer’s rating is at 45%. This is down 9 points from the 54% that was recorded in March 2007, but is more in line with Boxer’s typical approval rating, which has hovered between 41 and 50% for most of her tenure in the Senate.
A second recent Field Poll shows Bush with an overall job approval rating of 28% among registered voters in California (and a approval rating of 24% and 34% respectively for his handling of the Iraq war and the economy). 67% of Californians think that the country is headed in the wrong direction — the most negative assessment for this question in the Field Poll since July 1992, when Bush’s father was in his last months in the White House and the number saying that the country was on the wrong track stood at 81%.
Bush’s performance ratings have lagged below 30% in this poll for the entire year; they averaged 32% in 2006. The last time that his ratings in California in the Field Poll were above 40% was in 2004. However, among Republican voters, Bush’s approval ratings are at 55%.
A flurry of new Field Polls in the past week paint a picture of shifting winds in California politics, with new numbers out on Bush’s performance and the performance of Congress, the fortunes of the 2008 presidential candidates, the approval ratings of the governor, how the governor might fare in a hypothetical matchup against Barbara Boxer in 2010, and voter attitudes about the term-limits initative and the expansion of Indian gaming: