A survey of California voters found that a majority (39%) of voters were undecided in the race to replace the late Senator Dianne Feinstein, while 16% supported US Representative Adam Schiff (D), 13% supported US Representative Katie Porter (D), 10% supported former professional baseball player Steve Garvey (R), and 9% supported US Representative Barbara Lee (D). Other candidates receiving support include James P. Bradley (R) with 3%, former reporter Christina Pascucci (D) with 2%, and Attorney Eric Early (R) with 2%.
Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said: “Older voters are more focused on the Senate race this time than their younger counterparts: a plurality of voters under 60 are undecided, while those over 60 were split among the candidates. Among voters over the age of 60, 24% supported Schiff, 19% supported Porter, 13% supported Lee, and 13% supported Garvey. Among voters over 70, 30% support Schiff for the Senate, 17% support Garvey, 13% support Lee, and 11% support Porter.
Since the June Emerson California poll, Schiff’s support has increased by one point, from 15% to 16%, Porter’s has decreased by one point, from 14% to 13%, and Lee’s has increased by three points, from 6% to 9%.
President Joe Biden leads the 2024 Democratic Primary in California with 62%, followed by Marianne Williamson with 8% and Dean Phillips with 4%. Eighteen percent were undecided. With California Governor Gavin Newsom added to a hypothetical 2024 primary ballot, Biden received 51%, Newsom 21%, Williamson 7%, and Phillips 2%. Thirteen percent were undecided.
Biden has a 41% job approval rating among California voters, while 44% disapprove of the president. Governor Newsom has a 46% job approval rating among his constituents, while 40% disapprove of the job he is doing in office. Many of the voters (44%) are neutral on the work of Senator Alex Padilla, while 30% approve of Padilla and 26% disagree. The newly appointed Senator Laphonza Butler has the most neutral view of the voters at 59%, while 20% approve and 22% disapprove of the work he has done as a senator.
Former President Donald Trump leads the Republican Primary with the same majority as Biden: 63% support the former President, 11% support Ron DeSantis, 5% support Nikki Haley, and 4% support Chris Christie. Eleven percent were undecided.
In a potential 2024 general election presidential matchup between Biden and Trump, 50% support Biden while 37% support Trump. Thirteen percent were undecided. With independent and third-party candidates Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein added to the ballot, 43% support Biden, 31% support Trump, 8% support Kennedy, 2% support Stein, and 1% support West. The share of undecided voters increased to 16%.
“Among those who supported Biden in the initial head-to-head ballot test, when presented with a ballot that included independent or third-party candidates, 6% switched to Kennedy, 3% to Stein, 1% to the West, and 6% became undecided,” Kimball wrote. “Of those who initially supported Trump, 7% switched to Kennedy, and 10% were undecided.”
In a hypothetical 2024 ballot test between Governor Newsom and Trump, Newsom leads 53% to 35%, with 13% undecided. Between Vice President Kamala Harris and Trump, Harris leads 47% to 38%, with 15% undecided.
California voters were asked to rate Governor Newsom’s handling of three issues: the homeless crisis, crime, and the cost of living.
- A third of voters (33%) gave Newsom an “F” on the homeless crisis, while 14% gave the governor a “D.” 25% is a “C,” 15% is a “B,” and 13% is graded as an “A.”
- On the crime issue, 32% graded the governor’s administration as an “F” job, 13% as a “D,” 22% a C and B, and 12% graded Newsom’s administration as an “A” job.
- The governor’s grade was the lowest for his handling of the cost of living in California: 41% gave the governor an “F” grade, 16% a “D,” 21% a “C,” 12% a “B’, and 10% an “A.”
Voters are divided about the legalization of sports betting in California: 34% support the legalization of sports betting, 33% oppose its legalization, and a third (33%) of voters are unsure.
The economy is the top issue facing California for 35% of voters, followed by housing affordability (21%), crime (10%), immigration (9%), health care (6%), “threats to democracy” (5%), and education (4%). “Concern for housing affordability is highest among Hispanic voters at 27%, compared to 23% of black voters and 18% of white voters,” said Kimball.
The Emerson College Poll/Inside California Politics The California poll was conducted on November 11–14, 2023. The sample consisted of 1,000 registered voters, with a credibility interval similar to the poll’s margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points. Data sets are weighted by gender, age, party, race, and education based on US Census parameters and California voter registration and voter turnout data by region (CA SOS). Data were collected by contacting a list of landlines provided by Aristotle through Interactive Voice Response (IVR), along with an online panel of voters provided by Alchemer and Sentiment.
It is important to note that subsets based on demographics, such as gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity, carry with them a longer credibility interval because the sample size is reduced. Survey results should be interpreted within the range of poll scores, and know that with a 95% confidence interval, a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times.
This survey was conducted by Emerson College Polling and sponsored by Nexstar Media. All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results and cross-tabulations, can be found under “Full Results.”