Sonora, CA – A new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) survey spotlights some top political issues for voters and which candidates are leading in key state races.
In California’s gubernatorial race, Democrats Gavin Newsom, the state’s lieutenant governor and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, are leading among likely voters. With three in ten voters (30%) undecided, 23 percent give the nod to Newsom and 18 percent to Villaraigosa. On the Republican side, businessman John Cox garnered 9 percent and state assemblyman Travis Allen 6 percent. Among Republicans, Cox leads Allen by 9 points (27% to 18%), with 37 percent undecided.
In the race for US Senate, Democrat incumbent Dianne Feinstein has a two-to-one edge over fellow Democrat President pro Tem of the state senate Kevin de León.
“Senator Feinstein is leading in the top-two US Senate primary next June—reflecting the incumbent’s favorability rating—while the challenger is not well known,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO.
Feinstein leads 66 percent to 16 percent among Democrats. 55 percent of Republican voters are undecided, 25 percent support de León, 18 percent support Feinstein as there are no prominent Republicans in the race.
Regarding possible ballot measures voters put on the top of the list single-payer health insurance and repealing the recently enacted gas tax. 59 percent of voters characterize the health insurance issue as very important to them with majorities across parties concurring.
“Ballot initiatives could affect partisan turnout in statewide and legislative races in the November 2018 election,” Baldassare said. ”Most Republicans and relatively few Democrats say that the issue of repealing the gas tax is very important to them.”
54 percent give that same distinction to repealing the recently enacted gas tax. Leading that charge is Republicans with 85 percent in favor. The numbers decline from there with 46 percent of Independent and 36 percent of Democratic voters to express this view.
Regarding the direction of the state and country, about half of Californians (49% of voters) think the state is heading in the right direction while only 27percent give that same reply for the nation. When it comes to new ideas versus experience in terms of presidential candidates in December 2015, 46 percent of likely voters favored new ideas and 44 percent favored experience while this poll showed a reversal by Democrats of 55 percent in favor experience. However, Republicans (60%) and independents (54%) continued to choose new ideas.
A key issue for voters is the Republicans’ tax reform proposals, which brings high disapproval ratings. 62 percent of voters oppose them. The breakdown is along party lines with 58 percent of Republicans in support and 84 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Independents opposed.
Dealing with the issue of illegal immigrants, 86 percent of voters want the government to find a way for undocumented immigrants to stay in the US legally if certain requirements are met with strong majorities across parties expressing this view.
High praise was given to California’s top-two primary system five years after it was enacted. Under the system, voters cast primary ballots for a candidate of any party, and the two top vote getter, regardless of party, advance to the general election. 60 percent of voters say it has been mostly a good thing.
Related to the parties and the job they are doing, 64 percent of those polled indicated that that both parties are doing such a poor job that a third major party is needed.