On Eve of Final Presidential Debate, Trump in California Risks Getting Smaller Percentage of Popular Vote Than Any Republican Candidate in the Past 100 Years; Recreational Marijuana Prop 64 Still Leads Ever-So-Slightly; Harris Safe

SurveyUSA Operations - 10/17/16 08:00 PM

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have lost support in the past 17 days, as Republicans beat up on Clinton and Democrats beat up on Trump, according to a SurveyUSA pre-election tracking poll conducted for KABC-TV in Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KGTV-TV San Diego, and KFSN-TV Fresno.

Compared to an identical poll conducted before the 1st Presidential debate, Clinton is down 3 points, Trump is down 3 points, and undecided voters have doubled. Today, as then, Clinton’s lead is 26 percentage points.

With Trump’s support down to 30% at this hour, he falls below the Plimsoll line, and risks receiving a smaller percentage of the popular vote than any Republican candidate in the past 100 years. The low-water mark is currently held by George Herbert Walker Bush, who got 33% of the popular vote in California in a 3-way contest in 1992.

Trump’s support has steadily eroded among the youngest voters, down from 29% in mid-September to 25% in late-September to 20% today. Among independents, Trump has dropped from 28% in mid-September to 22% in late-September to 17% today. Among high-school educated voters, Trump has fallen from 48% to 28%. Among gun owners, Trump has fallen from 47% to 37%. Among affluent voters, Trump has fallen from 38% to 31%.

Counter-intuitively, given the cloud that Trump now campaigns under, his support among Evangelicals has increased, from 46% to 49% to now 53%. Clinton among Evangelicals has fallen from 46% to 36%. Among strong Republicans, Trump is up from 80% to 89%. Clinton is down from 19% to 6%. Among very conservative voters, Clinton is down from 29% to 19%. Among very liberal voters, Trump is down from 6% to 2%, Clinton is up from 84% to 92%. The number of Trump supporters who say they are not voting “for Trump,” but rather “against Clinton,” has increased from 36% to 43% to now 46%. At the same time, the number of Trump voters who acknowledge having reservations about Trump has not budged: 33% then, 33% now.

In an election today for United States Senator from CA, to replace retiring Democrat Barbara Boxer, Democrat Kamala Harris leads Democrat Loretta Sanchez, 45% to 24%. The 21-point Harris advantage is up materially poll-on-poll; it is her largest lead to date. The number of Latinos voting for Harris has dropped from 39% to 35% to now 30%. The number of independents voting for Harris has increased from 27% to 33% to now 35%.

Ballot Measures:

Prop 56, which would increase the tax on cigarettes to $2 per pack, is favored to pass 57% to 35%. Support has eroded.
Proposition 62, which would end the death penalty in CA and replace it with life in prison, trails by 18 points today and is headed for defeat.
Proposition 63, which outlaws large-capacity magazines and requires background checks on ammo purchases, leads by more than 2:1 and will pass.
Proposition 64, which would legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana, is backed 51% to 40%. Unchanged from mid-and late-September.

Statewide Favorability Ratings: 

President Barack Obama is viewed extremely favorably by 39% of CA voters, extremely unfavorably by 24%.
Trump is viewed extremely favorably by 12% of CA voters, extremely unfavorably by 56%. Worse than before.
Clinton is viewed extremely favorably by 20% of CA voters, extremely unfavorably by 33%. Worse than before.
Governor Jerry Brown is viewed extremely favorably by 15% of CA voters, extremely unfavorably by 17%. Unchanged.
Dianne Feinstein is viewed extremely favorably by 17% of CA voters, extremely unfavorably by 18%.
Boxer is viewed extremely favorably by 17% of CA voters, extremely unfavorably by 21%. Better than before.

Context and Methodology: 

SurveyUSA interviewed 900 state of California adults 10/13/16 through 10/15/16. All interviews were conducted after the 2nd Presidential debate on 10/09/16, and during a time of unflattering revelations about both Trump and Clinton. Of the adults, 820 were registered to vote. Of the registered, 725 were judged by SurveyUSA to have already voted in the Presidential election or as certain to do so before polls close on 11/08/16. Of registered voters, 3% tell SurveyUSA they almost always vote in a Presidential election but will not vote in 2016 because they do not like any of the candidates. 6% of voters tell SurveyUSA they almost never vote in Presidential elections but will vote in 2016 because they are particularly drawn to one of the candidates. The survey was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on their home telephones (58% of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephones in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (42% of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on the screen of their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. Polling ballot measures and citizen initiatives is an inexact science. In general, having nothing to do with California specifically and having nothing to do with 2016 uniquely, opposition to a ballot measure increases as Election Day approaches. Rarely does support for a ballot measure increase over time. As a result, the outcome of Prop 64 cannot be assured at this hour.

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