CA Still Safely Blue, But Romney Slices 8 Points Off Obama’s Lead After Romney’s Strong First Debate Performance

SurveyUSA Operations - 10/11/12 05:26 PM

The effects of President Barack Obama’s falter in the first debate with Mitt Romney are not just being felt in battleground states, according to SurveyUSA’s latest tracking poll of California, conducted for KABC-TV Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KGTV-TV San Diego, and KFSN-TV Fresno. Obama had led by 22 points in a SurveyUSA tracking poll released 4 weeks ago. Obama leads by 14 points today, an 8-point improvement for Romney. At the same time, the Dianne Feinstein contest for United States Senate remains largely unchanged, month-on-month, suggesting that the erosion in Democratic support is not across-the-board, but contained to Obama. Unclear is whether the Obama erosion is fleeting or long-lasting.

Obama 53%, Romney 39%, in today’s numbers. Obama carried California by 24 points in 2008, so today Obama is running 10 points weaker than he ran 4 years ago, 8 points weaker than he ran 4 weeks ago. Among Independents, Obama led by 14 in September, trails by 9 in October, a 23-point right turn among the most coveted voters. One explanation: the number of Romney supporters who tell SurveyUSA they are voting “for Mitt Romney” as opposed to “against Barack Obama” is way up, month on month.

Feinstein 54%, Republican Elizabeth Emken 35%, in today’s numbers, largely unchanged from SurveyUSA’s last measurement in CA, when Emken trailed incumbent Feinstein by 18 points.

SurveyUSA asked about Proposition 30 in 2 different ways for this release. First, consistent with last month, SurveyUSA told voters very little about the Proposition and measured “certain” support. This approach is designed to identify the most-committed backers and detractors of a proposition, and to measure public awareness. Using this approach, 38% of voters tell SurveyUSA they are “certain” to vote No on Proposition 30. 33% of voters tell SurveyUSA they are “certain” to vote Yes on Proposition 30. 29% of voters are “not certain” how they will vote, which is largely unchanged from a month ago. This approach to measuring ballot support is comparable to the “strongly support” and “strongly oppose” measurement that is taken by others pollsters who are working on Proposition 30. Separately, SurveyUSA read to voters a complete description of Proposition 30, including the 100 words that appear on the ballot. By this measure, Yes on 30 leads No, 45% to 39%, with 16% undecided. This measurement includes “soft” support as well as “hard” support. The two measurements are not inconsistent: among the most committed, No narrowly leads Yes. Among a larger group of voters, including those with soft support, Yes narrowly leads No. Neither passage nor rejection of 30 is assured at this hour.

On Proposition 34, which would repeal the death penalty, 32% are certain to vote Yes, 48% are certain to vote No, unchanged from a month ago. Whites, a majority of pro-life voters, and a majority of voters in Greater Los Angeles and the Central Valley oppose the repeal. Only the Bay Area and liberals support the repeal.

On Proposition 36 , which would revise the 3-strikes law, 44% are certain to vote Yes, 22% are certain to vote No, unchanged from a month ago. Hispanics, blacks, Democrats, and liberals disproportionately support. Republicans, conservatives and Asians disproportionately oppose.

On Proposition 37 , about the labeling on genetically modified food, 39% are certain to vote Yes, 30% are certain to vote No, 31% are not certain. This is a significant change from a month ago, when the measure was supported 51% to 16%. Republicans had supported the measure by 29 points, now oppose the measure by 7 points, a 36-point swing to No. Men had supported the measure by 35 points, now support by 2 points, a 33-point swing to No.

Cell-phone and home-phone respondents included in this research. SurveyUSA interviewed 700 California adults 10/07/12 through 10/09/12. Of the adults, 617 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 539 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote on or before Election Day. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (74% of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (26% of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.

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