A press call to discuss the latest findings from the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is Tuesday, November 22 at 10 a.m. PST. Call-in spots are limited. To reserve a spot for the phone conference, RSVP to Suzanne Wu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOS ANGELES — November 17, 2011 — Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is the clear Republican presidential primary front-runner for California voters, according to results from the latest USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll.
Romney has support from 27 percent of registered Republicans in the state, followed by Herman Cain with 20 percent, Newt Gingrich with 14 percent and Ron Paul with 6 percent.
"What has remained unchanged for the better part of the year is that Romney maintains support from roughly a quarter of Republican primary voters in California," said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. "The only thing that has changed is the identity of his chief opponent."
Romney, however, continues to struggle to consolidate support from more conservative voters. Twenty-two percent of Republican voters are still undecided on who they will support in the primary.
While previously Romney was head-to-head with Texas Governor Rick Perry, support for Perry has slipped significantly among Californians to just 3 percent of Republican voters in the state.
Among self-identified Tea Party supporters in California, Cain holds a slight lead over Romney with 3 percentage points, 29-26.
In a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll conducted in September, Romney and Perry were tied for support from Republican primary voters with 22 percent support each, and Cain had 4 percent support. Though the poll was conducted prior to recent challenges faced by both the Cain and Perry campaigns, both of their support bases had already begun to shift.
View a video of experts from USC and the Los Angeles Times discussing the results:
OBAMA SUPPORT HOLDS STEADY IN CALIFORNIA
Support for President Barack Obama remains steady in California, with little change since the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll conducted in September 2011, when 50 percent approved of the job being done by the president.
Among California voters surveyed in the latest poll, 50 percent approve of the job the president is doing in office, buoyed by support among Latino and African American voters. Eighty-one percent of Black voters and 64 percent of Latino voters said they approved of Obama's work in the White House. Seven percent of Black voters and 26 percent of Latinos disapprove. Overall, 42 percent of Californians disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job as president.
"Make no mistake about it, African American and Hispanic voters are President Obama's political lifeline in California. More likely than not, their overwhelming support for his re-election is probably going to make this state less than competitive in November 2012," Schnur said.
President Obama maintains strong support from women (56 percent), voters age 18-29 (62 percent), self-described liberal Democrats (83 percent) and moderate Democrats (73).
Californians said that re-electing Obama would be more beneficial to their own economic situations than if a Republican president replaced him next year. Forty-four percent of voters agreed with the statement it would be better for their personal financial situations if Obama was re-elected, and 40 percent agreed with the statement that placing a Republican in office would be better for their personal financial situations. Latinos agreed strongly with the former statement: 61 percent of Latino voters said keeping Obama in the White House would be better for their personal economic situations.
When asked if they agreed with the statement that it would be better for the U.S. economy if Obama was re-elected, 48 percent of California voters agreed while 40 percent said the economy would do better if a Republican took office. Again, Latino voters felt particularly strong on that point with 64 percent saying the country's economy would be better if Obama remained president.
When Californians were queried whether they would vote for Obama or Romney in a hypothetical match-up, Obama led with 52 percent support compared to 35 percent support for Romney.
In similar theoretical match-ups, Obama led Cain 54 to 31, and Perry 55 to 31.
"Californians are not particularly enthused about the president's job performance or his re-election campaign, but what makes him a solid bet for winning California in next year's general election is that most voters don't see the Republican party as a viable alternative," Schnur said.
CALIFORNIANS SUPPORT OCCUPY WALL STREET MOVEMENT
When it comes to Occupy Wall Street, Californians favor the movement by a 14-point margin, according to the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll. Forty-seven percent of California voters said they favor the movement while 33 percent oppose it.
When asked if they agree or disagree with what the movement is saying about the country, 48 percent said that they agree and 29 percent said that they disagree. Along party lines, 62 percent of registered Democrats agree with the statement and 15 disagree. Twenty-one percent of registered Republicans agreed and 55 percent disagreed.
The poll found that 35 percent of Californians consider themselves to be supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement and 27 percent consider themselves supporters of the Tea Party movement.
"Both represent roughly one-third of their respective parties: the Occupy Wall Street movement for the Democrats and the Tea Party movement for Republicans. So both movements have some ability to have an impact on the direction their party's nominee takes next fall not only in a presidential campaign, but in a congressional race as well," Schnur said. "However, neither will determine the party nominee or policy agenda a nominee takes into a general election."
The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll was conducted Oct. 30 – Nov. 9, 2011, and surveyed 1,500 registered voters in California. The poll includes a significant oversample of Latino voters, interviewed in both Spanish and English. The margin of error for the overall sample is +/- 2.52 percentage points.
More results from the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, including findings about voter opinions on teacher pay, California public schools, and the CA Dream Act, will be made available in the coming days on the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll website, dornsife.usc.edu/poll, and in the Los Angeles Times.
FOR MEDIA: Phone conference Tuesday, November 22 at 10 a.m. PST
WHO: Panelists include:
HOW: Call-in spots are limited. To reserve a spot for the phone conference, RSVP to Suzanne Wu at email@example.com. Call-in numbers:
United States: (800) 230-1951
International: +01 (612) 234-9960
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.
About the Los Angeles Times: The Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2 million and 3 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive local weekly audience of 4.5 million. The fast-growing latimes.com draws over 10 million unique visitors monthly.