Here Are The Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #17421

Geography Surveyed: California
Data Collected: 10/15/2010 - 10/18/2010
Release Date: 10/19/2010 11:40 AM ET
Sponsors: KABC-TV Los Angeles, KFSN-TV Fresno, KGTV-TV San Diego, KPIX-TV San Francisco

Some Evidence That California's Marijuana Tail is Wagging Barbara Boxer's Dog;
Voters Without Home Phones, Voters Focused on Decriminalization, May Tip Senate:

Much learning out of California, in SurveyUSA's latest pre-election tracking poll conducted for KABC-TV Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KGTV-TV San Diego, and KFSN-TV Fresno. United States Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat, nominally trails Republican Carly Fiorina among California likely voters interviewed on their home telephones, but, among voters who do not have a home telephone, and who were interviewed by SurveyUSA on their cellphone, Boxer leads 2:1. When the two groups are proportionally blended, SurveyUSA pegs it as Boxer 46%, Fiorina 44%, very much within the survey's theoretical margin of sampling error, and still too close to call, but indicative of how important voters without home phones are if Boxer is to hold her Senate seat, and, as fate may have it, if Democrats are to keep majority control of the United States Senate.

What's the Tail and What's the Dog Here? SurveyUSA includes a question designed to see if those who rarely vote in congressional elections, but who tell SurveyUSA they are uniquely motivated to vote in 2010, are voting Republican. One theory underlying much of the 2010 campaign narrative is that Republicans are uniquely motivated, Democrats uniquely dispirited. In other geographies, this question produces expected learning: uniquely motivated 2010 voters are in fact more Republican than habitual midterm voters.

In California, the opposite. Uniquely motivated 2010 voters are more Democratic, turning a 4-point Democratic advantage among habitual voters in the race for Governor into the 7-point Democratic advantage that SurveyUSA reports here; turning a 2-point Democratic advantage among habitual voters in the Lieutenant Governor's contest into the 6-point Democratic advantage SurveyUSA reports here, and turning a 2-point advantage for "Yes" on marijuana into the 4-point "Yes" advantage that SurveyUSA reports here. But in the Senate contest: the incumbent Democrat trails by 4 points among habitual voters, and nominally leads by the 2 points that SurveyUSA reports here only when these uniquely motivated voters are included. Subject to the limitations of a small sample size, the data may suggest that what is motivating uniquely motivated Californians is marijuana. Uniquely motivated voters vote 7:4 to decriminalize marijuana. The even smaller subset of uniquely motivated voters interviewed on a cellphone is voting 12:1 "Yes" on marijuana. Are the "Yes" on marijuana voters the tail wagging Barbara Boxer's dog? This is more plausible to SurveyUSA than the reverse, which would be that 3-term incumbent Boxer has a unique tractor-beam in 2010 that is drawing to the polls otherwise disaffected voters who just happen to be pushing Proposition 19 over the top.

For Governor, Brown 47%, Whitman 40%, the lowest level of support for Whitman in 6 SurveyUSA tracking polls going back to July. The contest is closer among voters who tell SurveyUSA they have already returned a ballot.

For Lieutenant Governor, Newsom 43%, Maldonado 37%, effectively unchanged over the past 4 SurveyUSA tracking polls. Going back to August, Newsom has polled at 43%, 44%, 44%, 42% and today 43%. But: those who have already voted may slightly favor Maldonado.

On Proposition 19, "No" has its strongest showing to date. In 6 SurveyUSA tracking polls going back to July 2010, No has polled at 40%, 40%, 43%, 42%, 41%, and today at 44%. For the measure to pass, the constellation of uniquely motivated aging hippies and young cellphone-only's must walk the ballot-box walk, not just talk the pollster talk. Boxer's fate in the Senate may hinge on how many "whatever" dudes mail a ballot.

Filtering: Using both RDD landline and cellphone sample from Survey Sampling, SurveyUSA interviewed 950 California adults 10/15/10 through 10/18/10. Cellphones were hand-dialed. Of the adults, 768 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 621 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the 11/02/10 general election. Early voting began 2 weeks ago, on 10/04/10. Election day is in 2 weeks, on 11/02/10. Previous 2010 CA tracking polls did not include cellphone respondents. "CPO" = Cell Phone Only, respondents who do not have a home phone and who make and receive phone calls with a cell phone. "Both" = respondents who have both a cell phone and a home phone but for this survey were interviewed on their cell phone by a live operator who dialed the call by hand. "Home Phone" = respondents who were interviewed on their home phone with the recorded-voice of a professional announcer.

  Asked of 621 likely & actual voters
  Credibility Interval for this question = ± 4 percentage points.

[Candidate names rotated]
If the election for California Governor were today, who would you vote for? Republican Meg Whitman? Democrat Jerry Brown? Or another candidate?

40% Whitman (R)
47% Brown (D)
8% Other
5% Undecided

  Asked of 621 likely & actual voters
  Credibility Interval for this question = ± 4 percentage points.

[Candidate names rotated]
California will also elect a United States Senator. If the election for United States Senator from California were today, who would you vote for? Republican Carly Fiorina? Democrat Barbara Boxer? Or another candidate?

44% Fiorina (R)
46% Boxer (D)
6% Other
4% Undecided

  Asked of 621 likely & actual voters
  Credibility Interval for this question = ± 4 percentage points.

[Candidate names rotated]
California will also elect a Lieutenant Governor. If the election for Lieutenant Governor were today, who would you vote for? Republican Abel Maldonado? Democrat Gavin Newsom? Or another candidate?

37% Maldonado (R)
43% Newsom (D)
14% Other
6% Undecided

  Asked of 621 likely & actual voters incl. leaners
  Credibility Interval for this question = ± 4 percentage points.

California voters may also vote on several propositions. On Proposition 19, which would change California law to legalize marijuana and allow it to be regulated and taxed, are you ... Certain to vote yes? Certain to vote no? Or not certain? {Not Certain voters were asked: At this hour, on Proposition 19, do you ... lean toward yes? lean toward no, or do you not lean?}

48% Certain Yes
44% Certain No
8% Not Certain

  Complete Interactive Crosstabs
  Statement of Methodology
  © 2010 SurveyUSA / Contractual Obligations