Scott Walker Strongly Leads GOP Presidential Candidates in New California Poll

Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, has a strong lead by a statistically significant margin in a new statewide poll ofScottWalker 600 likely Republican voters in California’s June 7, 2016 presidential primary election conducted over this last weekend by Landslide Communications.

When matched with 15 other possible candidates for the Republican nomination for President, Walker wins 20% of likely GOP voter’s support in the Golden State. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush follow distantly but closely matched with 10.7% and 10.5% of the vote, respectively.  Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas receives 7.3%, followed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at 5.8%.  Florida Senator Marco Rubio has 5.2% and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has 4.7%.  Other candidates finish with lower percentages and there is 17% undecided.

When the field is narrowed to just 8 candidates, (dropping Carson and other candidates who have shown lower levels of support in national polls), Walker keeps and slightly improves his lead with 23%, Jeb Bush improves to 13.8%, Mike Huckabee rises to 11%, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz doubles his support to 8.3%.  Huckabee and Cruz appear to benefit most from Carson being excluded. Florida Senator Marco Rubio takes fifth place with 7.8% of the vote.

Carly Fiorina, who, along with Sarah Palin, are the only ones of the possible Presidential candidates who have actually appeared on the ballot in California, receives 1.7% of the vote in the full field of 16 candidates tested, (Palin receives 3.8%), and when the field is reduced to just 8 candidates, excluding Palin, Fiorina’s support improves to 3.2% of the vote, however, she finishes last among the group tested.  Undecided voters increase to 20.2% for the narrowed field of candidates.

“Walker’s lead in both the full candidate field and narrowed matchups is strong, and statistically significant even though it may surprise some observers,” said James V. Lacy of Landslide Communications, who wrote the questions and commissioned the poll.  According to NSON Opinion Strategies, who conducted the poll interviews, the margin of error in the poll is +/- 4% at a 95% confidence level statewide. Accordingly, Walker’s lead exceeds and is well above the margin of error in the poll. The voter file used in the poll, and the turnout model for the 2016 Republican Presidential primary, to be held on June 7, 2016, was provided by Political Data, Inc. More details on how the poll was constructed and its mechanics appear later in this release.

A total of 172 delegates to the Republican National Convention are up for grabs in the 2016 California primary election, more than 7% of all delegates who will decide the next Republican Presidential nominee.

Landslide Communication’s California Poll of Republican Presidential Preferences of likely Republican voters in the 2016 primary election is being conducted well over a year before the actual election.  Of course, caution should be taken in considering the poll results. Much can happen in a vigorous election campaign over the next year: new candidates can join the race, others can drop out, and voter attitudes can change. Nevertheless, it is clear from the poll that Scott Walker has acquired a statistically significant and leading level of support among GOP voters in California at this early stage, well before actual campaigning has gotten underway.

Poll Frequencies, NSON Opinion Research’s Summary, and Demographic Cross Tabs are available for download at the end of this article.

Further Details on Landslide’s California Poll appear below.

 California’s importance in 2016 Presidential election to Republicans:

California is a decidedly “blue” state in which Democratic Governor Jerry Brown recently won re-election by over one million votes, bucking a national trend that favored Republicans.  And a Republican candidate for President has not won the state of California since 1988.

However, because California is the largest state in the union by population, with 53 Congressional districts, California has a very large delegation up for grabs for GOP presidential contenders at the next Republican National Convention.

There will likely be a total of 2,461 delegates at the 2016 GOP Convention. See California should be allotted 172 of those delegates, about 7% of the total. Of California’s delegates, 10 are awarded to the candidate who wins the statewide vote. In addition, a candidate who finishes first in any one of California’s 53 Congressional districts is awarded 3 delegates. The state party chairman and two national committee members are also delegates.  The winning margin at the Republican National Convention will be 1,230 delegates. Theoretically, a candidate who could sweep California’s Republican Presidential primary election could count on the state to deliver just over 14% of the total delegates needed for victory.

List of Presidential contenders in poll:

Poll participants were read a randomized list of candidates to choose from. The initial poll question tests a list of 16 Republican presidential contenders. The candidate list was derived with reference to 15 potential candidates appearing on the Real Clear Politics website. Landslide then added John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, to the initial question list, to make 16 total candidate names read to participants.

A follow-up question narrows the field to 8 Republican contenders.  The follow-up list was derived by including the top seven contenders on the Real Clear Politics national presidential poll average after excluding Ben Carson (see, and then adding Carly Fiorina. The second question is intended to narrow the field to the most likely candidates to advance in the presidential primaries, and Fiorina is added because she is the only potential Republican Presidential candidate who has actually been on a ballot in California.

Poll questions:

The poll questions were prepared by James V. Lacy, Managing Partner of Landslide Communications, Inc.  Landslide is one of the largest producers of election slate mail in California. Lacy is the author of the book “Taxifornia” available at, and is a frequent guest commentator on California issues on Fox Business News Channel’s “Varney & Company.” Lacy is also an election law and nonprofit organization attorney through his law firm, Wewer & Lacy, LLP, and is a recipient of the American Association of Political Consultant’s “Pollie” Award. Lacy is not associated with any Presidential campaign. Landslide Communications, Inc., has a history of conducting occasional polls in California, most recently in the 52nd Congressional District race between incumbent Scott Peters and Republican challenger Carl DeMaio.

Interview list:

The list used to make the calls was based on a sophisticated, representative election turn-out model for likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election prepared by Political Data, Inc., located in Norwalk, a respected source of voter files.

To account for a slight bias in the delegate selection process that awards a small “bonus” pool of delegates based on the statewide result, the interview list was balanced for region by Board of Equalization District, with the two more Republican leaning BOE districts of four having marginally more interviews reflected in the statewide total than average, to most accurately reflect the opinion of California’s Republican population

Interviews and data compilation:

The poll questions were completed by 600 likely Republican voters in the 2016 California Presidential primary election based on Political Data’s model. The sample size is considered large enough by NSON Opinion Strategy, a respected strategic public opinion research company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, to offer statistical significance in outcome, with +/- 4% margin of error at a 95% confidence level statewide. Telephone survey interviews were conducted statewide from Thursday, February 5 through Monday, February 9, by NSON Opinion Strategy.

See NSON Opinion Strategy’s Poll Summary here: 16′ CA GOP Presidential Primary Poll

See Poll Frequencies here: CA Rep Pres Primary – Frequencies

See Poll Crosstab Tables here: CA Rep Pres Primary – Crosstab Tables