Saturday, February 5, 2011

Obama way ahead in California

Republicans spent a lot of emotional energy on California in 2010, believing for most of the year that they had a serious chance at winning the races for Senate and Governor. They won't have to deal with false hope followed by disappointment next year- voters in the state strongly dislike all of the leading Republican Presidential candidates and Barack Obama defeats each of them by a wide margin in the state. It's pretty clear 21 months out this time that GOP hopes in California are just about zero.

Obama is popular in the state, although not overwhelmingly so, with 53% of voters approving of his job performance to 41% who disapprove. Usually those kinds of numbers alone wouldn't lead to the sorts of margins he has over the Republican field, which are 15 points over Mike Huckabee at 54-39, 20 points over Mitt Romney at 56-36, 24 points over Newt Gingrich at 58-34, and a whooping 31 points over Sarah Palin at 62-31.

What allows Obama to hold his large leads is the incredible unpopularity of the Republican candidate field. None of the candidates can top a 32% favorability there- that's Mitt Romney who is, relatively speaking, the 'most popular' of the Republican candidates. 46% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of him. After that it's Mike Huckabee at a 29/47 spread, Newt Gingrich at 25/55, and Sarah Palin at 28% rating her favorably and a whooping 67% saying they have a negative opinion of her.

Palin's 31 point deficit in California would be the first time a Republican candidate lost the state by more than 30 points since Alf Landon went down in Franklin D. Roosevelt's first reelection in 1936. It's been a week of potential history making for Palin in our polls. She trailed Obama by 8 points in South Dakota, which would make her the first Republican to lose that state since 1964. She trailed him by 6 points in South Carolina, which would mark the first Democratic win there since 1976. She trailed him by 8 in Arizona, which Democrats have only won once since 1948 and certainly not by that kind of margin. And although she led by a point in Nebraska she'd be perilously close to being the first Republican to lose that state since 1964 even though Democrats haven't come within 15 points of winning statewide since Barry Goldwater.

In the California match ups Obama benefits partly because of a unified Democratic base but also because of an overwhelming advantage with independents and because even Republicans are somewhat hesitant to commit to supporting this crop of candidates. With independents he's up 19 points on Romney, 20 on Huckabee, 31 on Gingrich, and 44 on Palin. And while Obama takes anywhere from 82-90% of the Democratic vote in the four match ups, Huckabee has only 77% of Republicans supporting him and that goes down to 75% for Romney, 71% for Gingrich, and 67% for Palin.

Looks pretty safe to say California will easily remain in the Democratic column next year barring some incredible change in the political landscape.

Full results here


JCordes said...

"...Democrats haven't come within 15 points of winning statewide [in Nebraska] since Barry Goldwater."

In 2008, Barack Obama lost Nebraska by 14.93 percentage points.

Statistikhengst said...

And I tell you right now, the hispanic component in this is off. In 2012, the hispanic vote will go through the roof: the asian vote as well.

In 2008, Obama won CA with a 24.03% margin, the largest winning margin since 1936.

I suspect he will close in on a +29% to +30% margin this time around, due largely to increased minority voting.

These 55 EV are absolutely guaranteed to stay in the democratic column.

John said...

Did you poll the California presidential primary 2012?

psyduck in pain said...

What about Huntsman?

Dustin Ingalls said...

Yes, we polled the primary, as we always do, and we only ever poll these 4 against Obama unless there's a home-state candidate.

Anonymous said...

California is quite likely to stay Democratic in 2012, but there is a narrative that supports it being more competitive. In particular, Democrats are going to have to do unpopular things in California. Raising taxes or cutting spending or a combination of both. There is likely to be some kind of backlash there unless the economy takes off.

I would also not rely on hispanics over much for supporting Democrats. Even if hispanics vote in historic numbers, they don't have a high enough margin to move the final result too much. Whitman and Fiorina still got over 30% of the hispanic vote.

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