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Thursday, August 29, 2002

  0 comments

Although it failed to ask about potted plants, the new Public Policy Institute of California survey out today contains some interesting data. Gray Davis is leading Bill Simon by 11%, a margin that is up from 4% compared to a hypothetical matchup before the March primary. Davis' support has actually fallen from 44% to 41%, but Simon's support has fallen even more, to 30%. [The polling universe consisted of 993 likely voters out of 2014 adults, with a margin of error of +/- 3%, and was conducted between Aug. 14th and Aug. 21st.] Here are the details:

If the election for governor were being held today, would you vote for…

 

 

Likely Voters

 

Party

Region

 

All

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

 

Likely

 

 

Ind/

Central

SF Bay

Los

Southern

 

Voters

Dem

Rep

Other*

Valley

Area

Angeles

California

Latino

Gray Davis

41%

69%

11%

31%

25%

47%

50%

37%

58%

Bill Simon

30%

8%

63%

19%

48%

16%

25%

37%

22%

Peter Miguel Camejo

4%

2%

0%

18%

3%

7%

1%

3%

3%

Gary David Copeland

4%

4%

4%

5%

4%

5%

3%

4%

4%

Reinhold Gulke

1%

1%

1%

4%

0%

2%

1%

1%

0%

Someone else

2%

2%

3%

2%

2%

1%

5%

2%

0%

Don't know

18%

14%

18%

21%

18%

22%

15%

16%

13%

*In this table, Californians registered to vote as independents (“decline-to-state”) and those registered with “third parties” are
combined. In all other tables, independents are reported separately. Party affiliations for the candidates are as follows: Davis
(Democrat), Simon (Republican), Camejo (Green), Copeland (Libertarian), and Gulke (American Independent).

 


There are a number of noteworthy items here: Simon is doing even worse with his Republican base than Davis is doing with his Democrat base. Davis' strengths are in the extremely liberal greater-San Francisco area and in the Los Angeles area (especially among the Latino electorate). Minor party candidates are taking a significant chunk of the vote, with the Green and Libertarian candidates tied at 4% each. However, Libertarian candidate Gary Copeland is attracting his 4% fairly equally from both major parties and independents and all areas of the state. Whereas Green candidate Peter Camejo gets 2% from Dems, 0% from Reps, and 18% from independents. Camejo is also strong in the San Francisco area (7%) and weak in Los Angeles (1%). Nor is Camejo attracting support based on shared ethnicity; so far he has only 3% of the Latino vote.

If we take these numbers at face value, and set aside for the moment all the usual caveats about rounding errors, standard deviations, subgroup sample sizes, etc., it would appear that Peter Camejo is producing a net drain of 2.5% to 3% from Gray Davis. Gary Copeland's impact is pretty much a wash, or at most a 0.5% net drain from Davis (given that there are more Democrats than Republicans in California).

The conventional wisdom is that Libertarians, who many pundits insist on pigeonholing as extreme right-wingers, draw more votes from Republicans than Democrats. Based on the above data, that does not seem to be the case this year in this race.

However, the convention wisdom is correct that Greens draw most of their votes from liberal Democrats. If Camejo were to gain enough momentum he could seriously endanger Gray Davis' re-election prospects, especially if more of the Latino vote moved in his direction.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this poll is that Bill Simon is still in the running. He's in big trouble, but he hasn't been blown out of the water. Yet.

Which strengthens my theory that if the Republicans had picked a potted plant instead of Simon, Gray Davis would be fertilizer by now.








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