Curious Numbers in PPIC Poll

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

What to make of some of the findings in the most recent Public Policy Institute of California poll? In a state in which Governor Jerry Brown has positive poll numbers and Independent voters historically lean Democratic, why are the Independents barely breaking for Brown over Republican Neel Kashkari?

Brown leads Kashkari 44% to 40%, while 13% said they didn’t know whom they would vote for? The four-point edge for Brown is within the poll’s margin of error. Is Brown’s strength not as great as most observers believe?

Clearly, Latinos are the big difference in the governor’s race. In fact, Kashkari actually has a one-point edge over Brown amongst white voters. Latinos support Brown 73% to 19%. If Republicans need another reminder that they have to make inroads with the Latino electorate, there it is.

Enthusiasm for this election is well below the enthusiasm PPIC measured for both the last gubernatorial and presidential elections – a situation PPIC called an ‘Enthusiasm Gap.’

In the 2010 gubernatorial election, the enthusiasm meter registered 53%, according to PPIC. In the presidential election it was understandably higher at 61%. PPIC recorded enthusiasm for this year’s election at 40%.

Really? I’m guessing the margin of error on that question is in the 25% range. What’s to be enthused about? Who’s enthused about this election? There can’t be that many political consultants questioned in the survey.

For the governor’s race, PPIC noted a 37% drop-off in voters following the governor’s race from four years ago. One explanation could be the lack of television ads in this governor’s race. The last gubernatorial election had mega-ads, if you remember. (Yes, that was an intended pun.)

PPIC’s poll numbers on ballot measures and other readings of the California electorate is here.

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