FIELD POLL: Voter preferences in 'down ballot' state races
By Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field
August 1, 2006
There is considerable variance in the degree to which the major
party nominees for the six "down ballot" races for state
constitutional offices on the November ballot are known to rank-and-file
In general, those candidates who presently hold or have previously
campaigned for statewide office are better known and start with
an edge - large in some cases - in early voter preference over
For example, Oakland Mayor and former Governor Jerry Brown, and
Attorney General Bill Lockyer, have very large early leads over
their Republican rivals in their respective bids for Attorney
General and State Treasurer. Two other Democrats - Insurance Commissioner
John Garamendi and State Board of Equalization member John Chiang
- also hold smaller leads in their respective races for Lt. Governor
and State Controller.
Voter preferences in two other statewide election contests for
Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner are more closely
divided in the early going.
These are the results from The Field Poll's first statewide survey
since the June 6 primary election, in the upcoming statewide elections
for the six "down ballot" constitutional offices.
The two major party candidates running for the office of Lt.
Governor are Republican State Senator Tom McClintock and Democrat
Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi.
Both candidates are reasonably well known to voters statewide
and each has a highly favorable image.
When likely voters in the November general election are asked
who they would choose if the election for Lt. Governor were held
today, Garamendi has an early 48% to 38% lead over McClintock.
In the race to become State Attorney General, Democrat Jerry
Brown is much better known to potential voters than his GOP rival,
State Senator Charles Poochigian. Four out of five likely voters
(81%) have an opinion of Brown, and those who view him favorably
outnumber those who hold an unfavorable opinion 45% to 36%.
Poochigian is relatively unknown at this point in the campaign,
with just 16% of voters voicing an opinion, dividing 9% favorable
and 7% unfavorable.
A Brown vs. Poochigian preference measure in the Attorney General
race shows Brown with an early 54% to 33% lead.
The major party candidates for State Treasurer are Democratic
Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Republican Claude Parrish, a
member of the State Board of Equalization.
About six in ten (59%) likely voters have an opinion of Lockyer,
with sentiment dividing almost three to one favorable (43% to
16%). Four in ten voters (41%) have no opinion of Lockyer.
By contrast, a very large majority of likely voters (86%) has
no opinion of Parrish. Among the 14% who know something about
him, 9% hold a favorable opinion and 5% an unfavorable view.
Lockyer leads Parrish 52% to 27% when voters are asked who they'd
support if the election for State Treasurer were held today.
In the election for State Controller, Democrat John Chiang, a
member of the State Board of Equalization, is facing Republican
former Assemblyman Tony Strickland.
Both candidates are not well known to voters, with large proportions
of voters - 82% in the case of Chiang and 81% for Strickland -
having no opinion. Among the small proportions of voters able
to rate each of the candidates, those holding a favorable opinion
outnumber voters with an unfavorable view.
When voters are asked who they'd support for State Controller
if the election were today, early preferences divide sharply along
partisan lines, and Chiang holds a 38% to 27% overall lead. A
large proportion of voters (34%) are undecided.
Democrat Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante is running against Republican
businessman Steve Poizner in this year's election for State Insurance
Bustamante is by far the better known candidate, with 81% of
likely voters holding an opinion of him. However, more voters
hold a negative than positive view of Bustamante (43% to 38%).
One in five (19%) have no opinion.
By contrast, 85% of likely voters have no opinion of Poizner.
Of the 15% who know something about him, opinions are mixed with
7% holding a favorable view and 8% having an unfavorable impression.
When the two candidates are paired against one another in an
early preference test, voters are closely divided, with 43% favoring
Bustamante and 39% supporting Poizner.
Secretary of State
The major party candidates in this race are appointed incumbent
Republican Bruce McPherson and Democratic State Senator Debra
Bowen. Very large proportions of likely voters have no opinion
of either candidate - 72% in the case of McPherson and 84% for
Bowen. Yet, both hold a more favorable than unfavorable image
among voters who have an opinion.
Early voter preferences are closely divided in this contest,
with Bowen the choice of 38% and McPherson 35%.
The findings in this report are based on a random sample survey
of 762 likely voters in California's November general election.
Interviewing was conducted by telephone in English and Spanish
between the period July 10-23, 2006.