Looking at the polls on the governor’s race, the candidate that can motivate their voters to go to the polls will determine the next governor of California. There is little enthusiasm for the election, which will likely limit voter participation and, in turn, determine the outcome.
The USC/Los Angeles Times poll came out over the weekend and like other recent surveys, it indicates the race is close, pretty much within the margin of error.
Jerry Brown had a five point lead in this poll, but the Whitman campaign said the poll skewered too hard to the left, noting that 55% of the self-identified respondents labeled themselves leaning the Democratic way to 35% offering up a Republican label. The 20-point spread is larger than is expected election day.
The USC/Times poll more thoroughly examined the Latino vote, which they say gives a clearer vision of Latino voters. The Latino voters strongly supported Brown, pushing him to the top of the poll.
Interestingly, when asked if they are certain to vote in the upcoming election, just a shade over two-thirds of the Latinos contacted said they were certain to vote. That number was much smaller than the categories for white voters and likely voters who said they were certain to vote.
Which raises the question about turnout. Around the country, enthusiasm for the election seems to be on the Republican side. Some question whether that enthusiasm is as strong in California. The USC/Times poll tested enthusiasm of voters and only about half those polled expressed high enthusiasm about voting in this election, however, there was more fervor on the Republican side.
It appears neither the candidates nor the propositions are driving people to the ballot box.
With a low turnout projected for November, the governor’s election will be determined by which voters troop to the polls.
Democratic political consultant, Garry South, had some thoughts on this as reported by Carla Marinucci in the San Francisco Chronicle last week.
South suggested the Brown campaign was relying on television to get the word out and not building an effective ground operation. He also said the Whitman campaign was targeting voters to turn out potential supporters even in the most unlikely of districts for Republicans.
The USC/Times poll backs up the contention that reaching voters and encouraging turnout is the key to victory.
The close race shifts into higher gear this week with the first gubernatorial debate and Election Day in sight over the horizon.