Late Polling Tips in Favor of Brown vs. Kashkari in November

The LA Times poll released June 1 indicates that Republican Neel Kashkari has picked up some steam from prior polling and for the first time is leading Tim Donnelly and appears headed to finish second in the race for Governor in Tuesday’s primary Election, thus assuring a runoff against Jerry Brown in the Fall.  Though margins are slim between them, Kashkari is showing 18% support among likely voters, Donnelly is at 13%, and Jerry Brown is well in the lead with 50% support in the poll.  The timing may be just right for a Kashkari victory on the Republican side.

With respect to Brown, the polling data indicates he has strong support and surely will be the odds-on favorite to win an unprecedented 4th term in November, given his $20 million warchest and the support he will receive from California’s powerful public employee unions.  Brown’s popularity is not universal in the state, but it is safe at 58%.  61% of Republicans and 42% of “other parties” disapprove of his job performance.  And 40% of all voters say they will not vote for him, with an additional 10% undecided.

But even with Brown’s positive numbers, Californians reveal in the poll that they are quite unhappy about how the state is being managed.  47% of Californians think the direction of California is “on the wrong track.”  About the same percentage of Californians express disapproval for the Democratic super-majorities controlling the state legislature, with only 9% of respondents “strongly approving” of the work the Legislature is doing.  82% in the poll are concerned about corruption in Sacramento, only 12% feel that Legislators put the interests of the people they represent first.

Kashkari’s late advertising blitz has clearly helped his race.  He has lifted his support from 10% to 18% over a prior poll and Donnelly has had a slight dip from 15voting-booth% to about 13%.  The polling however is close to the margin of error, and with predictions of a historic low voter turn-out on June 3, some say below 25% of eligible voters, the winner between Kashkari and Donnelly may well be determined by “get out the vote efforts” and by which candidate has the more passionate voters getting into voting booths on election day.  With Tea Party support, Donnelly may have the “passion” edge, though Kashkari’s apparent strong surge may become hard to overtake given the most recent data.