The Field Poll released yesterday showed weaknesses for both major candidates for governor. Voters are not pleased with Meg Whitman’s voting record and Jerry Brown’s age. Being a wealthy candidate is a negative (Whitman), as is being a candidate backed by labor unions (Brown).
Mixed messages from the voters to the candidates appeared in the poll. The voters seemed to like someone who has experience dealing with the legislature (Brown), on the other hand business experience is good, too (Whitman.)
Californians also said they back the new national health care law and the Arizona immigration law … two issues that may work together for the voters but don’t line up with either major political party.
Looking at the indicators listed in the poll, the ideal candidate would be a progressive/moderate, pro-choice woman, with political experience, who both supports the new health care law and the Arizona immigration law.
There is no perfect candidate for governor. Even the every-four-years sure-thing candidate, Dianne Feinstein, doesn’t fit every category, although she comes close. But, even she’s too old according to those polled.
Certainly, neither Brown nor Whitman fit every category. If the ballot contained a "None of the Above" alternative it could be leading in the polls right now.
Given the pluses and minuses the voters have for their ideal candidate, it is not surprising that earlier in the week, the Field Poll reported a nip and tuck race for governor with Brown and Whitman in a virtual tie.
Yesterday’s poll results on strengths and weaknesses of the candidates also affirmed what most people who follow California elections know: Democrats have an edge because there are more of them, but the voters who don’t care if a candidate is a Republican or Democrat control over one-third of the vote and will decide the election.
Campaign consultants will work to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses and trumpet their candidate’s strengths. From the looks of things this race is going to be back and forth and go down to the wire.