The candidates, campaigns, pundits, and media put a great deal of importance on the weekend debate between Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown. Their second showdown at Fresno State now has a place in California political history as the first debate broadcast in Spanish between two gubernatorial candidates. Of course, the debate earned added significance following news of Whitman’s hiring and firing of an undocumented housekeeper.
If there’s a political “bounce” from this debate, it goes to Jerry Brown. Political Analyst Tony Capozzi told Action News Anchor Graciela Moreno, he believes the debate is so far the biggest factor in this election. Capozzi adds “Jerry Brown didn’t want to do this debate. For the life of me, I have no idea why not … because this is the best thing that has happened to his campaign.”
According to a new, exclusive Action News Poll, conducted over the weekend by Survey USA, Brown has a narrow 47% to 43% lead over Meg Whitman. Brown is up one point since the previous poll, but he now enjoys a big lead among Hispanic voters in the current poll. Survey USA reports Brown had led by 11 points, but now leads by 24 points (57% to 33%) among Hispanics. Whitman counters Brown with White voters 49% to 41%. Black and Asian voters are backing Brown.
Whitman has been courting the Latino vote for months … spending millions on Spanish language ads. Political Analyst Capozzi says Whitman needs to refocus her campaign. She must strengthen her conservative base, but still hang on to her Hispanic voters. Capozzi says “If she’s 25% or lower in the Hispanic community, she’s going to lose the election.”
The Survey USA pollsters say most of the numbers in this poll are similar to the previous poll on the Governor’s race (see my previous blog: “Let’ Go Polling”). Whitman still has a solid lead over Brown among Independent voters 47% to 35%.
Here in the Central Valley, Whitman beats Brown, but he’s picked up some ground. Whitman is ahead 49% to 40% … compared to the previous poll 55% to 32%. She’s pushed out to a big lead in the Inland Empire 59% to 30%. Brown is solid in the Greater L.A. region and has a 31 point lead in the Bay Area.
Boxer v Fiorina
Republican challenger Carly Fiorina is closing the gap between her and incumbent U-S Senator Barbara Boxer. The new Survey USA poll shows Boxer with a small lead 46% to 43%. The previous poll had Boxer leading by six points. Pollsters say Boxer dropped three points from the last poll … while Fiorina is flat.
According to the results from Survey USA, seniors are moving toward Boxer, voters under age 50 are giving Fiorina another look, Boxer has the minority vote, but Fiorina has the backing of white voters. Fiorina is still favored by Independents … 49% to 34%.
Can we expect an “October surprise” to shake up this race?
Maldonado v Newsom
In the race for Lieutenant Governor, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom retains his edge over incumbent Abel Maldonado … 42% to 37%. Maldonado has sizeable support here in the Central Valley and the Inland Empire. Newsom leads in the Greater L.A. region and has a huge lead in the Bay Area as you might expect.
Survey USA interviewed 1000 California adults for this entire poll and determined 670 registered voters were likely to vote in November 2nd general election. The margin of error is just below 4%.