Tuesday, February 10, 2015

California Senate poll produces weird results

PPP is out with a new California Senate poll, this time for Los Angeles County Young Democrats. The primary results are about what you'd expect, but the general results are weird. In the primary, Kamala Harris leads with 34%, having a healthy lead over Antonio Villaraigosa, who has 16%. They used two well known Republicans in the race, former congressmen Mary Bono and David Dreier. Neither will run, but it's smart to use well known Republicans. If you use unknown Republicans you're liable to end up with a high percentage of "not sure" among Republican voters. Yet even if the Republicans running next June are unknown, those "not sure" will be votes.

The first thing I look at in a California poll is the party breakdown, since we have a lot of data on how that's been in the past. The poll is 50%D/33%R/17%I. That's way too Democratic for a primary, it'll be about 44%D/37%R. There's also 17% Republican "not sure," so I'd expect these two candidates to get closer to 24% and 19%.A same party Top Two is a long shot, even with Adam Schiff in the mix.

The party ID breakdown is just slightly too Democratic for a general election. It'll be around 43%D/29%R. That's close enough not to quibble for the general. What's weird is that Harris only has a 5% lead over Dreier and Villaraigosa leads him by 2%. The races are close because Dreier takes about twice the percentage of Democrats as his Democratic opponents take Republicans and he kills with independents. I can't see it. Dreier isn't beating Harris by 18% with independents. I could see him winning them narrowly, as Fiorina did in 2010, but not by that margin. This poll looks like a Republican would have a shot at winning the California Senate race. None would. It'll be interesting to see if this poll encourages more high profile Republicans to run.

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