There’s a new Field poll out and Jerry Brown continues to hold an overwhelming lead. That’s hardly news. Brown is expected to win the primary convincingly. He had 52% of the vote in December and is now at 57%. That’s an excellent number, considering that Field used a sample of 42% Democrats/37% Republicans that’s likely similar to what the 2014 June primary electorate will be. I know a lot of people don’t think that polls should be weighted to party ID, but in California we know the exact proportions each party voted after the fact and few people are going to change their registration in the next two months.
Brown would appear to have hit close to his ceiling. He’s getting 87% of the Democratic vote and they didn’t include the other Democrat in the race or the Green, the Peace and freedom candidate, or any of the five NPPs. In California, names on the ballot can often garner 1-2% of the vote and there are a number of progressive voters who’ll vote for Luis Rodriguez or Cindy Sheehan out of protest.
Brown is taking 66% of independents and 17% of Republicans. In contrast, Dianne Feinstein took only 54% of independents and 12% of Republicans in her 2012 senate race. That race provided only one alternative and Feinstein’s 62.5% was the best a Democrat has run statewide since 1986. There’s no doubt Brown is popular now, even with some Republicans, but getting 66% of independents and 17% of Republicans seems to be high, let alone improving that.
I’ve been on record as saying that there’s no way that Brown could top Feinstein’s 62.5%, but if Brown is this popular I could see him topping 64% at the polls. But no, Tony Quinn, 75-80% is impossible.
Tim Donnelly is at 17%, a nice jump from the 9% he had in December. Donnelly has had a lot of money problems and isn’t running ads. So his jump has been almost entirely through his hard work travelling the state. His approval/disapproval was 12%/8% in December and it’s 26%/24% now. That’s a big positive for Donnelly, since the knock on him was that the more people who got to know him the more negative he’d be perceived. His approval/disapproval with Democrats is bad, 14%/39%, but I’d guess most GOP gubernatorial candidates will be worse than -25%. Republicans like him 47%/8%, poking a hole in Tony Quinn’s idea that mainstream Republicans won’t like him. I’d be surprised if he continues in positive territory, but then Republicans in blue states usually aren’t.
Andrew Blount, the mayor of Laguna Hills, isn’t taking campaign donations, and is at 3%. He’s one of only 4 named candidates and 7 candidates took at least 3% in the 2012 U.S. Senate primary. So that’s not surprising.
What is surprising is Neel Kashkari’s polling. Kashkari is beloved by Republicans who think Donnelly is too extreme. He got 3% of the vote in December before he entered the race. So where is he now that he’s been campaigning for a while? He’s dropped to 2%. Yes, he’s behind the guy who won’t take campaign donations.
He got 6% of the NPP vote then. Now he’s getting 1%. Kashkari’s favorable/unfavorable in December was 9%/8%. At the time he was unknown to 83% of the electorate, similar to the 80% who didn’t know Tim Donnelly. Donnelly became known to another 30%, getting 14% favorable and 16% unfavorable added to him. Kashkari became known to another 19%, getting 7% favorable and 12% unfavorable added to him. So he’s not doing as well as people get to know him.
Overall, Donnelly has 26% of people seeing him favorably and is getting 17% of the vote. Kashkari is getting 16% of people seeing him favorably and is getting 2% of the vote. Even people who like Kashkari don’t want to vote for him. If this is what Kashkari has accomplished in the last four months, it’s hard to see him doing better in the next two. California is a big state. It takes a lot of time and hard work to win people over. Donnelly is doing that somewhat. Kashkari is not.
People like Tony Quinn argue that Kashkari is the best candidate for the GOP, but this poll makes that argument hard to make. Kashkari has worked for four months and gotten less people who want to vote for him than he had then. Donnelly, on the other hand, has increased his percentages of favorables and votes. Republican voters like what they see. I don’t think Donnelly has any chance of winning, and he probably won’t even break 40%, but he’d likely garner more votes than Kashkari will. I’ve seen firsthand how people want to volunteer for Donnelly. No one appears inspired by Kashkari.