DATE: August 2, 2012
FROM: Ron Nehring, Chief Strategist, Emken for U.S. Senate
RE: LATEST CALIFORNIA SURVEY FURTHER ERODES FEINSTEIN CONVENTIONAL WISDOM AS VOTERS INSIST STATE IS ON THE WRONG TRACK; INTENSE DISSATISFACTION OVER STATE’S DIRECTION
The conventional wisdom surrounding the U.S. Senate race in California continues to be challenged by persistent polling data showing incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) underperforming and far weaker than previously believed.
The latest blow to the Feinstein campaign comes in the form of the CBRT Pepperdine poll released this morning:
A safe bet would be that even though the voters fire her she will get a job requiring on unionized elevator operators and all we will her from the former 79 year senator is, “Going down?”
- Compared with the Field Poll released last month, Sen. Feinstein’s lead has shrunk from 19% to 12.3% among all voters, and just 10.3% among those who will “definitely” vote.
- It is widely accepted that any incumbent polling below 50% has cause for concern, especially when the incumbent is already well known to the electorate.
- Feinstein continues to poll well under 50%, and leads with just 45.9% among all voters. By contrast, President Obama is polling at 52.4%, or 6.5% better than Feinstein, who has been in the office for nearly 20 years.
- To say things have dramatically changed when this was posted on June 26th of this year is an understatement.
- Having had the personal pleasure of listening to Elizabeth talk with constituents she predicted this would happen. Since the days of President Eisenhower when the economy was in bad shape, the undecided voters have turned from the incumbent and Elizabeth Emken will be an excellent choice to represent the entire state of California in the United States Senate. See her background, credentials and accomplishments, here.
The California political environment continues to be a hostile one for anyone who is perceived to be in charge. Democrats control the Governor’s office, both houses of the state legislature, a majority of the Congressional delegation, and both U.S. Senate seats. Democrat elected officials and candidates cannot escape the fact they will be held responsible for the state’s downward trajectory.
- An overwhelming 73.1% of voters believe the state to be on the wrong track.
- Although a plurality of the state’s voters are of his party, Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval ratings continue to be upside down: 41.7% of voters view him favorably, while 50.8% hold an unfavorable view. In elections we know emotion drives behavior, which is why we pay careful attention to voter intensity as a key driver of turnout. Remarkably, while only 8.2% of voters hold a “very favorable” view of the Democrat governor, three times as many voters hold a “very unfavorable” view (25.6%).
- Among the 19% of California voters who consider themselves moderates or independent, a key constituency, Brown’s numbers are upside down by 11.9% (40.2% fav to 52.1% unfav), making him an ineffective messenger to swing voters going into the fall.
- The Democrat-controlled state legislature fares even worse, with 76.7% of voters holding an unfavorable view compared to just 15% who view it favorably. Only 0.7% of Californians hold a “very favorable” view of the legislature, which we call the “Democrat legislative staffer vote.”
LABOR UNIONS HAVE BIGGER FISH TO FRY ( complete article below)
While organized labor often provides the voter turnout mechanism California Democrats depend on, the latest survey data shows labor officials will need to concentrate their resources on persuading their own base to oppose Proposition 32, which would radically curtail labor’s ability to divert union funds to politics in future elections and is therefore at the top of labor’s “kill list.”
- Proposition 32 currently leads by a substantial 35 points, (62.7% yes to 28.2% no) among all voters, and by 20% among Democrats (54.4% to 34.2%). Every dollar labor spends having to convince Democrats to vote their way on an issue is a dollar they do not have available for turnout operations, which is just fine by us.
- The big tax hike Democrats are pushing for is also in trouble, as Proposition 30 barely scrapes past a majority with 52.5% support. Rarely do these measures garner more support once the television ad wars begin, and the defeat of Proposition 29 in June provided another indicator voters are not in the mood for higher taxes.
STATE OF THE RACE
We recognize that the campaign to replace Dianne Feinstein is an intense, uphill battle against an entrenched Democrat establishment in the Senate and in California, and that over 90% of Senate incumbents tend to win re-election.
Yet, in this cycle we have also seen conventional wisdom defied in Indiana (incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar defeated by tea party favorite Richard Mourdock), Texas (Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst defeated by Ted Cruz), and other races. We continue to press Sen. Feinstein to get past her reluctance to debate Elizabeth Emken, and allow the voters the opportunity to see the incumbent defend her record one-on-one before the voters for the first time in twelve years.
You don’t have to wait for a debate to meet Elizabeth in person. We’re looking forward to her appearance at the California Republican Party’s Fall Convention, scheduled for August 10-12th at the Los Angeles Airport Burbank Marriott. She’ll be speaking at the Saturday executive committee luncheon, which is open to all attendees. Click HERE for more information.