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LOS ANGELES — September 5, 2011 — Across the political spectrum, California voters prefer advocacy to compromise, asking their representatives in Washington to fight for them, according to results from the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll.
"Voters like the idea of compromise. They just want the other side to do the compromising,” said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.
In particular, 50 percent of Californian voters registered Republican or “Decline to State” said they wanted Republicans in Washington to oppose any revenue increases rather than “compromise to reduce the deficit and get the economy going.” Thirty-five percent of Republicans and DTS voters favored compromise.
Similarly, California's Democratic voters also preferred advocacy to compromise. A majority of Democratic voters and DTS voters – 57 percent – said they wanted Democrats in Washington to oppose reductions in Social Security or Medicare benefits rather than compromise to get the economy going. Thirty-two percent of Californian voters registered Democratic or DTS favored compromise.
By a wide margin, Democratic voters in California wanted President Barack Obama to stand up more to Republicans and “fight for my priorities.” Sixty percent of California’s Democratic voters want Obama to fight, including 45 percent who felt strongly about it. (33 percent of Democratic voters wanted Obama to compromise more with Republicans to solve problems.)
By a double digit margin, younger voters were more likely than older voters to want Obama to compromise with Republicans to solve problems. Among voters aged 18 to 49, 38 percent wanted Obama to compromise. Among voters over the age of 50, 28 percent favored compromise.
"The fight over the nation's debt limit has polarized California voters to an extraordinary degree," Schnur said. "Democrats and Republicans alike are in no mood for compromise, and they want their leaders to fight even harder to protect their own party's priorities."
A majority of Republican voters in California prefer a candidate with whom they agree on the issues – even if this candidate does not have the best chance of defeating Obama. Fifty percent of Republicans prefer a candidate with whom they agree, and 37 percent prefer the candidate who has the best chance of defeating Obama.
Tea Party supporters were more likely than Republicans overall to want the most electable candidate rather than a candidate with whom they agreed. Among non-Tea Party Republicans, agreement trumped electability 54-30. Among self-identified Tea Party supporters, preference for agreement and electability was more evenly split, 47-44.
On economic issues, Obama’s job approval ratings in California have fallen below 40 percent. Among all California registered voters, Obama’s approval rating is 34-60 on the economy, 32-61 on the federal deficit, and 38-57 on jobs.
On health care issues, Obama’s job approval ratings are more evenly split. On health care, 46 percent of Californians approve of the job Obama is doing, including 59 percent of Latino voters. Forty-eight percent of voters overall disapprove of the job he is doing on health care. On Medicare, Obama’s approval rating is 46-43.
Three out of four Republican voters in California said they want a candidate who focuses on economic issues rather than social issues or national security,
“This is a jobs, economy and taxes election. It is a fiscal election. There doesn’t seem to be a big fight on social issues or even national security,” said Drew Lieberman, Vice President at Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which conducted the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll with Republican polling firm American Viewpoint.
The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll interviewed 1,508 registered voters in California from August 17-28, 2011 and carries a margin of error +/- 2.52 percentage points.
More results from the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll will be made available and published online in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, Sept. 7, including poll findings poll about:
FOR MEDIA: Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, is available to discuss the results of the poll. To arrange an interview, contact USC Media Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schnur is also part of a panel at 11 a.m. the morning of the GOP debate, Sept. 7, in the Spin Room of the Reagan Presidential Library. This panel, with national political editors from POLITICO, NBC News, and representatives from the CA Field Poll, will feature discussion of California primary voters and the results of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll.
MEDIA REGISTRATION IS CLOSED FOR THE LIVE PANEL. The panel will be streamed live at www.POLITICO.com/livestream.
About the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll: The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is a series of statewide public opinion polls in California, designed to survey voter attitudes on a wide range of political, policy, social and cultural issues.
Conducted at regular intervals throughout the year, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is one of the largest polls of registered voters in the state and has been widely cited, helping to inform the public and to encourage discourse on key political and policy issues.
About USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences: USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is the heart of the university. The largest, oldest and most diverse of USC's 19 schools, USC Dornsife is composed of more than 30 academic departments and dozens of research centers and institutes. USC Dornsife is home to approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 750 faculty members with expertise across the humanities, social sciences and sciences.
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