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Obama Landslide Predicted in California Field Poll—Largest Margin Since FDR—And There’s More—Effects Seen in Downticket Races


The California Field Poll released today shows Barack Obama has widened his lead to a 55% to 33% margin over John McCain with 4% voting for other candidates and 8% undecided amongst likely voters. If this holds up, it will be the largest margin any candidate has won in California since World War II.

Obama leads 50% to 36% in those who have already voted, 51% to 37% with those who are expected to vote by mail or vote early, and 57% to 30% in the group that is likely to vote in their precincts on election day. Field projects that 47% of voters will cast a vote by mail or early vote and 53% will vote at the polls on election day.

Before we go into Obama’s historic numbers—truly amazing—let’s take a look at what the numbers show for races for Congress. They point the way, if we turn out the day of election vote, to a tidal wave that could sweep many of the Congressional races—and state legislative races into the Democratic column. But it will take the turnout of these last voters to make that happen.

When asked who they would prefer to be represented by in Congress, by a margin of 50% to 29%--a 21 point gap, voters said they wanted it to be a Democrat. Today’s San Diego Union-Tribune was specific and described this as “bad news for Republican House members, such as Rep. Brian Bilbray of Carlsbad who are targeted for defeat by the Democratic Party.”

Turnout will be key for the Democrats and there is the material here to make that happen if we can join in a real get out the vote program that the Democratic Party has in place. There is an enthusiasm gap identified in the Field Poll, showing Obama voters are much happier with their nominee and he does best amongst younger voters, the 18 to 34 year olds who favor him three to one, by 67% to 32%. These are among the folks we need to turn out.

Field is predicting a Democratic turnout will constitute 43% of the vote and that Republicans will only be 34% of the electorate, compared with the 39% they were in the last election in 2006. That 5% is key to many close races and Democratic registration increases will play a key role—if these new voters vote. Non-partisan/others will comprise 23% of the electorate and are voting 66% to 16% for Obama. Obama gets 81% of Democrats with 9% going to McCain and McCain gets only 77% of Republicans where Obama picks up 14%.

Obama racks up huge margins Los Angeles County (63% to 25%), the San Francisco Bay Area (69% to 23%), and “other Northern California” (57%). He is ahead or tied in “other Southern California” 44% to 41% and the Central Valley (47% to 46%). Years ago, the traditional analysis was that of a North-South split with the upper half of the state being considered decidedly more Democratic. However, California has a coastal-inland divide. Key to an understanding of today’s Field Poll is that he is just about even—44% to 47%--within the margin of error—in the inland counties of the state. Bush won these counties by double digits, even though he lost California.

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Field reports that: “White non-Hispanics, who are expected to comprise two-thirds (67%) of this state’s voting electorate, prefer Obama by ten points (49% to 39%). On the other hand, the state’s large and growing ethnic population are heavily backing Obama: Latinos, 65% to 24%; Black/African Americans, 90% to 3%; and Asians/others, 54% to 31%.”

In analyzing the results, Mark DiCamillo, the director of the Field Poll said, “"Voters are looking at an incumbent president with an historic low job approval rating. They strongly believe the country is moving in the wrong direction and have tremendous dissatisfaction." DiCamillo concludes that this looks like a very big Democratic year in California.

You can read the entire 10-page Field Poll online and see further how Californians view the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. There’s a lot of data here on past presidential races and past preferences for Congress.

Frank Russo

This Field Poll is of 966 likely voters, was taken between October 18 to 28 and has a margin of error of 3.3% with all likely voters and larger with different subgroups.

By Frank Russo, Publisher, The California Progress Report

Originally published onThe California Progress Report. Republished with permission.

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