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A live discussion of these poll results with Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll; national political editors from POLITICO and NBC News; and representatives from the CA Field Poll, is 11 a.m. PST on Sept. 7 , the morning of the GOP Presidential debate. The panel will be streamed live at www.POLITICO.com/livestream.
For poll datasets, videos (in English and Spanish) and methodology, visit http://dornsife.usc.edu/poll.
LOS ANGELES — September 4, 2011 — Just days before the GOP Presidential debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in California, a new state poll shows former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry in a tie among California’s Republican voters.
Both Romney and Perry have support from 22 percent of Republican voters in California, according to the latest results of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll.
Among self-identified Tea Party supporters in California, Perry leads Romney by 10 percentage points, 33-23. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is supported by 11 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters in California.
"While Romney and Perry are in a dead heat, it's worth noting that Perry's support seems to be stronger," said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll and director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. "Perry may have benefited because our poll was taken immediately after he announced his candidacy, and we'll have to wait to see whether his support sustains as the campaign moves forward. But in California, the Republican primary is going to be a real battle."
Overall among Republican voters in California, Texas Congressman Ron Paul has 11 percent support, Bachmann has 10 percent support and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has 6 percent support.
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.
Romney has consistent numbers across Republican voters, carrying about 20 percent of every demographic by age group, race and gender. Among California Republican voters under the age of 50, Romney leads Perry 23-16. Romney also leads Perry by double-digits among young Republican women, 23-13, and among voters in the San Francisco Bay Area, 28-17.
In the Sacramento region, Perry leads Romney 35-18. Perry also leads Romney among older Republican men, 29-20, with Bachmann carrying 11 percent support among older men.
“Romney has a solid base across subgroups. He might have a ceiling, but he also has a floor,” said Dave Kanevsky, research director of American Viewpoint, a Republican polling firm. “The question for Perry is whether he can capitalize or whether he is a flavor-of-the-month.”
The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll was conducted by American Viewpoint and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Democratic polling firm.
Both Romney and Perry have overall unfavorable ratings with California voters, with a favorability rating of 32-37 for Romney and 20-31 for Perry among the general electorate.
Among registered Republican voters, a majority – 57 percent – had a favorable view of Romney, and 19 percent had an unfavorable view. Twenty-one percent said they had not yet heard enough about Romney to make a decision.
Nearly half of California’s Republican voters – 46 percent – said they had heard enough about Perry to make a decision. Of those who could identify Perry, 41 percent had a favorable impression and 8 percent had an unfavorable impression.
Among Republican voters, Bachmann has a 46-21 favorability rating.
OBAMA BEATS LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES IN CA
In California, President Barack Obama leads in a head-to-head matchup against a generic Republican opponent, and the margin increases when potential Republican challengers are specifically named.
Against an unnamed Republican candidate, Obama leads among Californian voters 52-37. Against Romney, Obama leads 54-35. Against Perry, Obama leads 56-32. Against Bachmann, Obama leads 57-31.
In California, Obama maintains a 58 percent favorability rating, buoyed by support among Latino voters. Seventy percent of Latino voters said they had a favorable view of Obama, and 28 percent of Latinos have an unfavorable view. Overall, 39 percent of Californians have an unfavorable view of Obama.
"California is one of the most reliably Democratic states in the country, and the fact that Obama's popularity is much higher here than with a national audience reflects those leanings," Schnur said. "Californians have growing concerns about the state of the economy and the President's performance on economic matters, but they don't see anyone on the Republican side as an acceptable alternative."
As for Obama’s job approval rating, 50 percent of California voters approve of the job being done by the president and 43 percent disapprove, little change from the last time the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll surveyed Californians’ attitudes toward Obama. In the April 2011 USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, 53 percent of Californians approved of the job being done by Obama and 42 percent disapproved.
Among Latino voters, 59 percent approve of the job being done by Obama, and 34 percent disapprove in the latest poll.
The poll sample was weighted to reflect actual party registration in the state of California. About 43 percent of those surveyed are registered Democrats, 32 percent are registered Republicans, and 20 percent are registered “Decline to State.”
CALIFORNIANS PESSIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY
For the first time in USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times polling, Californians are as pessimistic about the future of the country as they are about the future of the state of California.
In polling conducted by the Los Angeles Times in March 2010, 34 percent of Californians thought the country was headed in the “right direction.” This percentage has since dropped by half – 16 percent of those surveyed in the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll from August 17-28, 2011 think the country is going in the “right direction” and 73 percent think it is on the “wrong track.”
Californians also continue to be pessimistic about the future of the state. Seventeen percent of those surveyed in the latest poll said the state was heading in the “right direction” and 71 percent say it is on the “wrong track.”
In March 2010, 10 percent of Californians said the state was headed in the “right direction” and 82 percent thought it was on the “wrong track.”
More results from the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll will be made available and published online in the Los Angeles Times on Monday, Sept. 5 and Wednesday, Sept. 7, including findings from the latest poll about:
Do Californians want their representatives in Washington to fight for their beliefs or to compromise to get the job done?
What are Obama's job approval ratings on the economy and health care?
On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, do Californians feel like we are winning the war on terrorism?
FOR MEDIA: Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, is available Monday, Sept. 5 to discuss the results of the poll. To arrange an interview, contact USC Media Relations at email@example.com.
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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