According to a new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll released on Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom has kept up his commanding lead in the Gubernatorial race, albeit with signs showing that the race may be ultimately closer come election day.
The poll, which was conducted earlier this month, shows Newsom ahead of Republican challenger Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) 58% to 31%. The 27% difference matches a UC Berkeley IGS poll released last month, although the Newsom camp can now no longer claim a 2 to 1 lead.
Both candidates are also shown to have kept up the vast majority of party voters, with 90% of Democrats indicating that they will vote for Newsom, while 85% of GOP voters have named Dahle as their choice. However, in the critical independent voter category, Newsom leads Dahle 55% to 33%.
Broken down by region, the Bay area and the LA area are firmly in majority favor of Newsom, with 72%-20% and 65%-23% respectively. Other regions have been shown to be much closer though. Newsom only holds an 8 point advantage in the Central Valley 50%-42% and only a 6 point advantage in the Orange County/San Diego area 46%-40%. In the Inland Empire, Dahle is within the margin of error, with Newsom only 3 points behind 41%-38%.
While the PPIC poll did delve into some more surprising figures, such as the majority of Californian voters feeling optimistic over the states direction (50% to 44%) there were indications that there are cracks forming in Newsom’s large lead, as well as in many other races. Across the board, voters have noticed large increases in both homelessness and crime. 61% of all Californians said that they have noticed an increase in homeless in California, with only 3% saying that the number of homeless have decreased. By district, Central Valley voters came in with the highest percentages, with 71% noticing an increase, 27% saying that it stayed the same in the past year, and only 2% saying that it decreased.
Californians have also said that crime has increased, with 42% saying that it has gone up in the past year, with only 4% saying it has decreased. Red and Blue areas alike routinely had more than 40% of respondents agree that crime went up and 6% or below saying that it went down. This included the Bay area, with only 2% of respondents there saying that crime has neither increased or stayed the same.
Voters note worsening homelessness, crime crises across state
While the poll shows a commanding lead for Newsom, as well as for issues such as Proposition 1 (constitutional abortion rights bill), where it is currently up by voters 69% to 25%, many experts note that Newsom may have a hard time getting to the 61.9% he reached in the 2018 election or the 61.8% who voted no on the recall last year.
“Support for Newsom is starting to slow down a bit now,” explained Erica Ziegler, an elections consultant who specializes in Gubernatorial races, to the Globe on Thursday. “He’s going to be pressed to get above 62%. He has a lot going for him too, especially with speculation that he may give a 2024 presidency bid a shot. He is also facing a candidate with little name recognition outside of Northern California. But look at some of those other factors.
“Crime and homelessness are getting worse across the state, so if those issues are pressed more before November, as well as things like the dire water situation, Newsom may not be doing as well as he is now. Also, this is also a mid-term year. Republicans currently have a 71% chance of taking back the House. GOP voters will be coming out in droves, and that includes in tight races across California. It may be a Democratic majority state, but there are still more Republican voters there than in Texas. For now at least. So if these issues are pressed more, there may be a turnaround.
“Overall, yeah, let’s not kid ourselves. Newsom is going to win. Dahle would need more than a few miracles to get to striking distance of Newsom. But things that Republicans are strong on, like crime, are becoming more and more important, and we may see a few surprises in a few months time. And it may also be enough to keep Newsom from getting above 62%. And hey, a lot can happen in the next several weeks.”
Other Gubernatorial polls are expected in the coming weeks.
- Assemblyman Evan Low Announces Run For Congress - December 5, 2023
- President Joe Biden To Travel To LA This Week for Two Fundraisers - December 5, 2023
- Cruise Robotaxi Accused Of Misleading CPUC In Investigation Of October Crash In San Francisco - December 4, 2023