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Field Poll | Newsom leads Maldonado by four points in Lt. Governor's race

Cooley also ahead of Harris by four points in A-G race. Large proportions remain undecided in both contests.


By: Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field, Field Research Corporation

September 25, 2010 - San Francisco Mayor Democrat Gavin Newsom holds a four-point lead (39% to 35%) over Republican Abel Maldonado, the appointed Lt. Governor, in the election for Lt. Governor. In July Newsom held a nine-point advantage.

In the election for state Attorney General Los Angeles County District Attorney Republican Steve Cooley is leading Democrat Kamala Harris, the San Francisco District Attorney by four points (35% to 31%), similar to a three-point Cooley advantage in July.

Large proportions of voters – 26% in the Lt. Governor’s race and 34% in the A-G race – are undecided or are not inclined to vote for either candidate.

These are the results from the latest Field Poll conducted September 14-21 in English and Spanish among 599 likely voters about the contests to fill two prominent statewide public offices in the upcoming November election.

Newsom lead over Maldonado reduced

A July Field Poll found Newsom leading Maldonado by nine points. That Newsom lead has been cut in half to four points, 39% to 35%, with 26% undecided in the latest poll.

Newsom holds a big preference advantage among his rank-and-file Democratic Party voters (65% to 11%), who constitute 44% of likely voters in November. Maldonado is the overwhelming choice of Republicans Party voters (69% to 4%), who account for 35% of the likely electorate. Among the 21% of voters registered as non-partisans or with a minor party, Newsom is favored 41% to 28%, with 31% undecided.

There are big differences in voter preferences by region of the state. Newsom is preferred 54% to 30% among likely voters in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area and also holds a fifteen-point advantage in Los Angeles County (42% to 27%). Central Valley voters are heavily favoring Maldonado over Newsom 47% to 28%. Voters in Southern California outside of Los Angeles are backing Maldonado narrowly (37% to 32%).

The poll finds differences in voting preference by age. Newsom leads by seventeen (44% to 27%) among voters under age 40. Maldonado is preferred by voters age 65 or older by seven points (38% to 31%).

Of the 51% of likely voters that The Field Poll estimates will cast ballots by mail, Maldonado holds a six-point advantage (39% to 33%). Precinct voters who constitute 49% of likely voters prefer Newsom by twelve points (44% to 32%).

Lt. Governor candidates have contrasting images

Newsom is better known on a statewide basis than is Maldonado. In the current survey 80% of likely voters express an opinion of Newsom, compared to 53% in the case of Maldonado.

Newsom’s image among the state’s likely voters is mixed, with 39% viewing him positively and 41% negatively. Maldonado holds a greater than two to one positive image (36% to 17%) among those voters able to rate him.

Voter impressions of Newsom are highly partisan. Democrats view him positively nearly four to one (64% to 17%), while Republicans hold an overwhelmingly negative opinion of the San Francisco Mayor (75% to 4%).

Maldonado’s image is less partisan. While the Lt. Governor maintains a very positive image among voters of his own party (52% favorable vs. 6% unfavorable), Democratic voters are about evenly divided in their appraisal of him (22% favorable and 24% unfavorable).

Both candidates possess a more positive than negative image appraisal among non-partisans and voters registered with minor parties. In Newsom's case, 44% view him positively and 36% negatively. Maldonado's image among non-partisans is 38% favorable and 20% unfavorable.

Preferences in the A-G race

In the A-G race Republican Cooley is holding a four percentage-point lead over Democrat Harris (35% to 31%). However, one-third of likely voters (34%) are undecided or say they are not inclined to support either candidate.

Cooley is favored by a huge 67% to 2% margin among Republicans, while Harris is the choice of Democrats 54% to 13%. Non-partisans are about evenly divided.

Cooley is leading in all major regions of the state with the exception of Harris’ home base in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cooley holds a nine-point lead (37% to 28%) among men, while women are evenly dividing their preferences (34% each).

Those planning to vote by mail prefer Cooley by ten points (38% to 28%), while voters intending to vote at their local precinct polling place are about evenly divided.

A-G Candidates not well-known

Majorities of likely voters have yet to form opinions about either Cooley or Harris. However, those voters who are able to rate them have more positive than negative appraisals of each candidate. In Cooley’s case 27% hold a favorable impression and 15% an unfavorable view. Harris’s image rating is 28% positive and 19% negative.

Both candidates are viewed very positively by rank-and-file voters within their own parties. Harris is viewed very negatively by opposite party Republican registrants (32% to 5%). On the other hand, Cooley’s image among opposite party Democrats is more divided (15% favorable vs. 22% unfavorable).

Non-partisans have a two-to-one positive impression of Cooley (30% to 14%) as does Harris (28% to 14%).


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