Wednesday, February 4, 2015

CA-Sen: California Latino Caucus poll

The California Latino Caucus aren't happy with the anoint Kamala Harris crowd, but have yet to get a candidate to commit. So they hired Garin-Hart-Yang to do a poll. The poll is commissioned by them, so there's the immediate bias question, although Garin-Hart-Yang is a fairly respected Democratic pollster. PPP earlier did an automated poll for Harris. I'm not sure if that one was in English and Spanish, but automated polls are often entirely in English. That'll hurt Latino numbers.

The poll shows Antonio Villaraigosa has higher name recognition than Harris. Field polls showed that over 30% of the public had no opinion on Harris. So that's believable, although I'd guess Harris would be higher. Loretta Sanchez's number looks surprisingly strong, but it shouldn't be that surprising. This poll likely includes a good number of Latino voters and Sanchez has been on Spanish language TV in every one of the state's markets for over a decade. Xavier Becerra would have a bit more work to do.

The poll has a weird quirk. They say that those polls would prefer a Democrat to a Republican 48%-40%. That's a fairly believable spread for a California primary electorate. But when they do the horse race poll, the Democrats beat Ashley Swearengin 50%-31%. That tells me that some undecided people in the first question are choosing a Democrat in the second, while some Republican voters are undecided in the second. Swearengin doesn't have high name recognition, according to this poll, and that likely hurts the Republican vote. It's possible that if only one Republican runs, that 2-5% of the vote that'd go to a Republican could go to Villaraigosa.

The poll may be intended to boost Villaraigosa's viability. He's only down 10% here, less than the 25% she led him in the PPP poll. That has to be encouraging for him. On the other hand, he has higher name recognition than she does in this poll and is still losing by 10%. He only ties her in the LA media market and he really needs to beat her badly here to make top two. A Latino candidate will be an underdog, but we knew that already.

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