Home>Articles>New Poll: Rick Caruso Only Three Points Behind Karen Bass in LA Mayoral Race

Los Angeles Mayoral Candidate Rick Caruso speaks in a campaign event. Sept. 15, 2022. (Photo: Ringo Chiu, Shutterstock)

New Poll: Rick Caruso Only Three Points Behind Karen Bass in LA Mayoral Race

‘Bass woke up the sleeping dragon that is Caruso last month’

By Evan Symon, October 3, 2022 6:21 pm

A new poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) conducted in late September and released on Monday finds that Los Angeles Mayoral candidate and real estate developer Rick Caruso has made a startling comeback and is now only three point behind Congresswoman and fellow candidate Karen Bass (D-CA).

The poll shows that Bass is still leading Caruso 34% to 31%, with a large percentage of 31% still undecided. While Caruso is still down, the poll highlights how much ground he has retaken since a late August poll that showed Caruso being down 12 points. Demographic-wise, Caruso made gains across the board, taking away parts of Bass’ black and white bases, as well as bringing the Latino vote to about even and now coming out ahead amongst Asians.

Advertisements about Caruso’s past have also seemed to have won over voters. While they still see Bass as more experienced (with 49% of voters saying that Bass is more experienced compared to Caruso’s 38%), and Honest (37% favorable compared to 31% favorable for Caruso), Caruso has now come out on top in some categories. Voters now see Caruso as more of a stronger leader than Bass (Caruso getting 42% favorable compared to Bass getting 41%) as well as more fiscally responsible (Caruso 42% favorable to Bass being 34% favorable).

The shift throughout September can be attributed to several things, but many observers have pointed out a big 4:

“Bass woke up the sleeping dragon that is Caruso last month,” explained explained Jan Ives, a Washington-based local election analyst, to the Globe on Monday. “He had some help, what with the USC scandal in which she allegedly got a scholarship for votes on legislation and that home robbery, but Caruso also showed that he could hold his own. Caruso did far better than expected during the debate, and Caruso keeps bringing out ads. People are tired about hearing of Caruso being a “big bad real estate developer”. But you know what voters largely weren’t aware of? Bass giving that speech at Scientology headquarters.

“Caruso essentially put down an Uno reverse card and Bass hasn’t been able to counter it.”

Problems for Bass

Many voters have noted that Bass’ words are ringing more hollow and are tired of her brushing off questions and allegations.

“Say what you will about Caruso, but he isn’t running away from these questions,” explained Tyrell Lewis, a first-time , high school voter who, until a few weeks ago, had been a Bass supporter. “I really thought Bass was going to be my candidate, but now I just don’t know. A lot of people my age are starting to have second thoughts. Most don’t seem to care and some are only voting because they want to see a black mayor. But this is getting weird.”

Observers specifically pointed to an exchange Caruso and Bass recently had about the stolen guns from her home.

Democratic U.S. Representative Karen Bass at a Get Out The Vote rally for 2016 Hillary Clinton in Leimert Park Village Plaza a day before the California Primary. (Photo: Joseph Sohm, Shutterstock)

“Why doesn’t she tell us what kind of guns they were?” said Caruso last month. “We got two more guns on the street now. We have the highest level of gun violence. Why doesn’t she show us the box that they were kept in? She says it was pursuant to L.A. city law, well, prove it. You’ve got an obligation. You’re running for mayor.”

In response, Bass countered with “I think that Caruso knows better than this, and to be someone who had my house robbed and to have my opponent turn it on me as though I am the criminal, is kind of pathetic.”

Ives continued by noting that “That is a crystal example of the September change. Caruso is acting like the adult, the Mayor there, and simply questioning Bass on something that happened. And voters saw her response as something childish and coming off with far-flung conclusions. Is it any wonder that he has closed the gap?”

The Scientology ad

Perhaps most damning to Bass’ campaign in recent weeks however is the infamous Scientology ad. In the ad, it shows Bass speaking at the opening of a new Scientology center in 2010. In a Politico article, Bass tried to say that she had to go to the event because it was in her district, but soon corrected herself by saying it wasn’t in her district, throwing the reason why she was there up in the air.

“The Church of Scientology, I know, has made a difference, because your creed is a universal creed and one that speaks to all people everywhere,” said Bass in 2010. “That is why the words are exciting of your founder L. Ron Hubbard, in the creed of the Church of Scientology: That all people of whatever race, color or creed are created with equal rights.”

Later on, Bass explained that she did not know of what Scientology did and focused instead of being with another group of different beliefs.

“Back in 2010, I attended the event knowing I was going to address a group of people with beliefs very different than my own, and spoke briefly about things I think most of us agree with, and on those things — respect for different views, equality, and fighting oppression — my views have not changed,” explained Bass. “Since then, published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries have exposed this group.”

While the story soon fizzled out, it was counted as a negative against her when then Candidate Joe Biden was considering her for Vice President, and a few years later, counted against her again in the Mayoral election poll. Caruso’s “Church of Karen” ad in only a few short days has cost her significant support, especially amongst her white and younger bases.

“We already know what we’re getting with Caruso,” added Laurie Schaeffer, a former Bass supporter who helps fellow 18-to-25-year-olds to register to vote, to the Globe on Monday. “But Bass with taking that USC scholarship as a bribe and now supporting Scientology? It’s incredibly disappointing. I really want a female mayor of LA. That would be awesome. But all these things that come out are making me, and so many others, question supporting her. To us, it feels like right now ‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.'”

While Bass has not denied speaking favorably about Scientology in the past, she has come out strongly against the ad, saying that she was never associated with the Church.

“It’s ridiculous to associate me with the Church of Scientology,” countered Bass last week. “I am a Baptist. My minister is Norman Johnson and I have never ever been affiliated with scientology and absolutely condemn their practices.”

However, observers noted that, going into the final weeks of the race, the continued stories against Bass have not been completely cycled out of the news as a result.

“The big part of the poll I want to focus on is not Caruso roaring back, but to the undecided voters,” added Ives. “It’s at 31%. It was only at 24% in August. So not only has Caruso gone up, but the people unsure of Bass and Caruso has gone up too, making all those wild card votes. This is what we should watch, because, based on everything that happened this month, a lot of those voters are disaffected Bass voters nd voters who would have sided with Bass but are now second guessing them.”

“Caruso needs to keep hammering Bass on a growing list of scandals and issues that she is holding and try and break her at next weeks debate. Bass needs to confront all these head on and trying to get an actual response in instead of deny and run. That’s hurting her. She needs to give a heart to heart on this to the voters. She needs her own Checkers speech right about now. Her campaign is still insisting that nothing is wrong, but, ok. There is these meme with a dog sipping coffee on a house that’s on fire. Instead of running out or trying to put the fire out, it’s just sitting there saying “Everything is fine”. That is the Bass campaign right now. And they need to act fast.”

The next LA Mayoral debate is on October 11th. Election day is on Tuesday, November 8th.

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12 thoughts on “New Poll: Rick Caruso Only Three Points Behind Karen Bass in LA Mayoral Race

  1. Caruso three points behind Bass, huh? More like the other way around, which would make more sense, but I guess we’ll see. I believe polls like this one are routinely put out there for public consumption to influence voters, not reflect their preferences. Whether one delves into a poll’s methodology or not, there are problems on their face. Take Globe readers, for instance. The comments here indicate that Globe readers tend to be sensible overall, whether Republican, Independent, or even Democrat. I wonder how many readers here have participated in a poll like this one recently? And if it’s a tiny percentage (or none) I think it’s fair to generalize from it. Common sense tells us, and a polling operation such as the highly accurate Trafalgar Group confirms, that there is a huge swath of sensible voters who do not appear on the radar of the average poll, either because they are not polled at all or they tend to reject participation in polls. Thus we are left with a lopsided result that is not accurate but may create a bandwagon effect of voting for an awful candidate like Bass or demoralization where voters don’t bother to vote if they feel the outcome is determined in advance.
    Obviously, in the end, in a mayoral race like this one high voter turnout of sensible voters is crucial. Hope we’ll see it.

  2. “While they still see Bass as more experienced (with 49% of voters saying that Bass is more experienced compared to Caruso’s 38%), …”

    Experienced at WHAT??? FRAUD & CORRUPTION???

    Take this one with a CHUNK of salt, as it’s sponsored by UC Berkeley , so you KNOW there’s “sampling bias” to their sampling…

  3. Exactly, CD9. The people who have a stake in Karen Bass are all of the L.A. City employees, the LAUSD employees, their public employee unions, the useless non-profits (e.g. “homeless advocates”), those who pay to play such as big time developers, tiny home builders, homeless condo builders, the ‘special interest’ communities who get injections of slush fund money for their phony ideological stances (e.g., BLM, ‘environmental justice warriors’), and the list goes on. They will vote for Bass and there is a danger of those numbers overwhelming the votes of sensible citizens if the sensible citizens neglect to vote. Hope the sensible voters will vote in huge numbers to make a change in L.A.! If Bass gets elected, in addition to some true commies who are running for L.A. City Council, the city is probably DONE. Nothing will change, over time all of its very serious problems will only get worse, and the city will likely not be able to ever come back.

  4. Did this poll take into account ballots that will be harvested by public employee union members on behalf of dead people, cats, dogs and residents of Somalia?

  5. Those who commented they were considering voting for Bass because they wanted a black and/or female should listen themselves. They are so racist and sexist. And look at the hypocrisy of reactions to Kanye West and Candice Owens wearing white lives matter shirts.

  6. Bass is a Sociopath, lying without conscience which would drive up the Crime rate even more! Los Angelos needs to vote for Safety, Caruso Really Will Bring Down the Crime in LA. Sensible Voters get out and Vote and Protect Your Safety.

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