A PAC known as "Fight Back California" commissioned a new poll of the 49th district for the period March 4-7. Change Research was the pollster. The results are very questionable, as we'll see below.
Like FM3, Change Research did an initial ballot test, putting the names of the potential candidates in front of likely voters and asking them which candidate would get their vote. The results from the simple ballot test are mostly consistent with what we've seen before. We say "mostly consistent" because relative to the mid-February polls, Chavez is polling a bit lower, Harkey is lower, Kerr has picked up steam (from low single digits to high single digits), and Gaspar has faded:
So far, so good, right? Well, things go seriously sideways from here in a way that casts serious doubt on the whole poll.
What got reported out to the world by "Fight Back California" from this poll was a table of results that bears no recognition to the chart above. The reason for the difference? The pollsters fed likely voters "information" about the candidates and asked them again how they would vote. You can do this sort of thing the right way... or the wrong way. The right way is how FM3 did their testing (see the FM3 poll results in the post before this one to get the full picture). The wrong way is to bias the information for or against a candidate or candidates, manipulating the results to get a certain outcome.
Just like the FM3 poll, Change Research followed up the simple ballot test by asking likely voters how they'd vote after they heard some information about the candidates.
However, the "Fight Back California"/Change Research results shifted in a really big way after "information" was given. This didn't happen with the FM3 poll, where support moved by a few points at most (either way) depending on the candidate.
What makes us quite skeptical of the results is that ALL candidates in the Change poll benefited from the "information" given to the likely voters except for Doug Applegate. After "information", Sara Jacobs is suddenly at 15% from 7%. Mike Levin is suddenly at 16% from 11%. Kerr got a two point lift. Chavez and Harkey got moderate lifts as well, four points for Chavez and five for Harkey. Poor Doug Applegate saw his support cut almost in half after the "information" was given, from 23% to 13%. Here is how the results look after this "information" was presented to the likely voters:
These results don't look credible to us. We're agnostic about individual candidates but we don't believe there is actually any new information available anywhere that would cut Doug Applegate's support in half. We think FM3 did a fair job of putting positive and negative information in front of the voters for their poll. We can't say the same here at all. We have to question the methodology and the intentions of the pollsters and the PAC that paid for the poll.
UPDATE: We've been alerted to the fact that Change Research isn't exactly a top-shelf pollster and the poll likely has serious methodology issues. We don't know the demographics of the respondents or their party affiliation (so we don't know if the sample is a true proxy of the 49th district). We don't know what "information" was communicated or how. Doubts have been raised to the point where we believe it's quite possible the poll may have been set up to make one candidate look worse than others. We're going to significantly discount the results. This is troubling because these poll results were included in a San Francisco Chronicle article about Democrats in jungle primaries all over California.
For reference, here is how "Fight Back California" announced their results:
In CA-49, when voters are shown the list of all potential candidates with information about the candidates, Republican Assemblymember Rocky Chavez is in the lead with 19% followed by Democrat Mike Levin at 16% and Republican Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey and Democrat Sara Jacobs tied at 15%. In a narrowed field of candidates, Chavez maintains the lead with 23% followed by Democrat Levin at 17%, Republican Harkey at 16%, and Doug Applegate at 15%.
Here is a link to the post on their web site announcing the results:
We've asked the "Fight Back California" PAC to share their methodology and the information they gave the likely voters to understand what generated the huge swings. We hope they oblige. We suspect they won't.
A number of people have asked us for the methodology behind the FM3 poll indicating the imminent danger in the primary as well as additional information about other results.
We've included a full report out on the poll (prepared by FM3 for Flip the 49th). The PDF includes all the poll results as well as the methodology.
A Love Letter to Sara Jacobs and Paul Kerr: Please Be Our Heroes and Step Aside Now (We Won't Forget!)
WE LOVE YOU!
Democrats are in danger of being locked out of the 49th district in November because of California's Top Two "jungle primary", which will send the top two vote-getters in the June primary to the general election in November regardless of party affiliation.
There are too many strong Democrats running. That means these candidates could split the primary vote, putting two Republicans on the final ballot for November and depriving all of us of a critical choice between two starkly different visions of the future for our state and our country.
Sara Jacobs and Paul Kerr, you are polling significantly below Democratic front-runners Doug Applegate and Mike Levin. However, you have enough support to become spoilers in this election, drawing enough votes away from Applegate and Levin to put Republicans Rocky Chavez and Diane Harkey in the top two slots in June.
We love the two of you. Sara, you are a fresh new face in California politics, giving a voice to young voters in the 49th district, particularly young women. Paul, you have a life story that resonates with many Californians, with hard-won values and experience that have prepared you for public service.
But the two of you are very unlikely to win in June. And you are putting this critically important election at risk.
It's time to do the right thing and step aside. There is too much at stake here. You'll be heroes and patriots. It's not often that our country calls upon us to be true patriots - but this is one of those times.
We won't forget you. We'll be there for you in the future. Please be there for us now in the way that we need you to be - as hard as it will be for you.
To all voters that care about having a Democrat on the ballot in November: Please send Sara Jacobs and Paul Kerr a love letter of your own. Recognize what they have to offer, their desire to serve, and the contribution they've made up to now. But ask them to make the hard call to step aside, to serve us in the way that most counts right now. Ask them to be heroes and patriots and to wait until next time. And tell them that you'll be there for them.
Candidate contact information is below.
PLEASE reach out to these candidates and let's narrow the field so we have a shot in November!
Sara Jacobs – mobile: 858-945-6200
Paul Kerr – campaign office: 858-350-3180
Democrats are in danger of being locked out of the 49th district in November: Check out the results of a scary FM3 poll conducted February 12-15
A Democratic PAC called "Flip the 49th" commissioned a comprehensive poll of the race to replace Darrell Issa in the 49th district. The poll was specifically oriented towards the primary election on June 5th. The results are very interesting and quite scary for anyone who wants a real choice in November.
The bottom line: Because of California's "top two" primary system where the top two vote-getters in the June 5th primary go on the November ballot, the Democrats may get shut out of the November election. Why? Too many candidates will split the Democratic vote leaving Republicans with the top two slots.
This danger is very clear in the poll results which were presented out in an easy-to-understand PowerPoint slide deck. Some highlights from the deck are below.
Let's start with where overall primary race currently stands:
However, after the pollsters gave likely voters some commonly available positive and negative information about all the candidates, the results shift pretty dramatically and the Democrats get locked out in November:
If the Republican field narrows, most likely because Gaspar drops out, the Republicans have an even better chance of snagging the top two slots on the November ballot:
While these results may give many conservative Republicans warm and happy feelings about this election cycle in the 49th district, anyone who wants a real and meaningful choice in November should be horrified. Democrats, independent voters, and a sizable group of moderate Republicans feel strongly that they must be able to choose between two profoundly different visions for the country and the state moving forward.
We are at risk of having only one of these visions represented on the final ballot in November.
What's bitterly ironic about this situation is that there aren't huge differences between the policy positions of the individual Democratic candidates on the big issues this year. For issues that voters care about (confirmed by our own interactive poll and reinforced by the professional polls), all of the Democratic candidates are more or less aligned: They believe health care is a human right and want to expand coverage, they are committed to put a check on Trump's agenda, they want to move towards clean energy to slow down climate change, and they believe in a path to citizenship for the DREAMers.
There is much more agreement than disagreement on the Republican side as well.
With this district uniquely balanced between registered Democrats and Republicans (and a large group of independent voters in the middle), the choice in November should be between Democratic and Republican values, policy proposals, and visions for the future. We can't allow that critical choice to be taken away because too many strong Democratic candidates decided to run and the Democratic Party couldn't maneuver its way out of this strategic blunder.
The solution is for Democrats, independent voters, and moderate Republicans to align behind whoever is the Democratic front-runner at election time and then follow through by voting for that front-runner. You'll know who that candidate is when the mail-in ballots start going out in May. The front-runner will likely be either Doug Applegate or Mike Levin (with Sara Jacobs as a third but less likely possibility).
For voters who are ambivalent about voting for a Democrat in November but who aren't all that happy with the Republican Party locking up the ballot by default, please remember that the primary election sets the table for the November election. Your real choice should be in November. But the primary election in June decides whether or not there is even a real choice to be made.
So, please preserve the option to make real and meaningful choice in November. If you are uneasy at all about the Republicans deciding the November election in June without giving voters a true choice, PLEASE VOTE IN THE JUNE 5TH PRIMARY and please vote for the Democratic front-runner, no matter who that is when the time comes.
If you put an individual candidate ahead of a real choice for all of us, you may end up silencing hundreds of thousands of the Voices of the 49th in November.
We tried an experiment this week with an interactive poll that gave residents of the 49th Congressional District a chance to pick what issues really matter to them. The poll was surfaced through Facebook to about 15,000 people in all areas of the 49th (we surfaced it to anyone who used Facebook and was old enough to vote).
We included both Democratic and Republican points of view where that seemed to make sense.
With ~500 votes counted, the issues with the most heat were health care, the border wall, and the President's agenda. Tax reform was next up after the big three.
Among those who rated health care as a top issue, there was more passion around protecting, fixing, and expanding Obamacare than around repealing and replacing it. What that basically means is that the issue burns hotter for people who want to protect, fix, and expand Obamacare than it does for those who want to get rid of Obamacare.
However, among those who rated the border wall as a top issue, the heat definitely tilts towards those who want the wall built rather than those who want to stop it.
Among those who rated the President's agenda as one of their top issues, those who want Congress to be a check on Trump outnumber those who feel Congress isn't doing enough to help him by 2:1.
For those who felt like tax reform was a key issue in 2018, those who wanted lower taxes and less government were far more passionate than those who wanted to roll back the new tax law (by 3:1).
For the issues that were presented without two points of view, climate change and DACA both rated above 10% of total votes. Deregulation scored about 6%.
As you might expect, the comments on the post that linked to the poll were extremely polarized. It's quite sobering to see the rifts that divide us exposed so starkly.
We gave respondents a chance to write in their own issues if they didn't see their top issues in the list. There were about 14 write in votes. Here are the write-in issues that got the most heat:
1. Gun control
2. Women's rights
4. Removal of San Onofre nuclear waste
You can see the full set of results through the link below.
What matters to you in 2018? What matters to your neighbors in the 49th District? Take the poll and find out. You'll get a chance to identify up to THREE top issues (through an anonymous vote). Then you'll be able to find out what everyone else thinks.
Click on the image above or the button below
to take this anonymous poll!
SurveyUSA Election Poll for the 49th District Shows Clear and Present Danger in Primary (Data collected 2/10-2/13)
Results from a SurveyUSA poll taken in mid-February have been making the rounds lately. Sponsored by KGTV-TV and the San Diego Union-Tribune, the poll surveyed 510 likely voters in the 49th District.
The results have Doug Applegate (D) ahead at 18% followed by Rocky Chavez (R) at 17%.
The rest of the pack includes Diane Harkey (R) at 10%, Mike Levin (D) at 8%, Kristin Gaspar (R) at 7%, Sara Jacobs (D) at 5%, Brian Maryott (R) at 2%, Joshua Schoonover (R) at 2%, Paul Kerr (D) at 1%, and Christina Prejean (D) at 1%.
Of the total number of respondents, 37% were Republican, 32% were Democrats, and 30% were independents.
Some other interesting nuggets from the poll:
If you're reading this right now, there's a good chance you live in the 49th Congressional District in Southern California. This district stretches from Dana Point in the north all the way to Del Mar in the south (including a big chunk of San Diego County and a smaller piece of Orange County).
Our district is in the early stages of a rather important election season. Our Congressman, Representative Darrell Issa, has announced that he's retiring and will not seek re-election. As a result, 16 candidates have jumped into the race to replace him. Of the 16, two are Democratic front-runners (Doug Applegate and Mike Levin) and two are Republican front-runners (Rocky Chavez and Diane Harkey).
The 49th District has an unusually balanced mix of Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters as measured by registration. Registered Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats but there is a huge block of Independent swing voters which will ultimately decide who will represent us in Congress.
A primary election on June 5th will determine the two candidates that go on to the general election on November 6th. The top two vote-getters will be on the ballot in November regardless of party affiliation. With so many candidates running in a relatively "purple" district, the political landscape is incredibly fragmented and confused... and the stakes are quite high. The 49th District is an important battleground for control of the House of Representatives.
While it may seem like the choice in 2018 is between individual candidates, don't be fooled: The real choice is between the Republican and Democratic visions for the country and the state.
The real choice is between helping President Trump with his agenda or fighting it. Between repealing and replacing Obamacare or protecting, fixing, and expanding it. Between tightening immigration and building a border wall or a more inclusive approach to immigration reform. Between fighting attempts to slow down climate change or taking action now to preserve our planet for future generations. These are the big issues. Not the minor differences between one candidate from the same party or another.
The Democratic candidates all have a lot in common when it comes to their positions on policies and issues. The Republican candidates share their own core values and positions as well. The choice in November should really be between two political philosophies and two visions for the future.
But that choice may be taken away from us.
The odds that the Democrats will get shut out in November are uncomfortably high. Doug Applegate is the current front-runner. Mike Levin is in second place. But Sara Jacobs and Paul Kerr, both late entrants into the race, have vast resources and are not hesitating to use them. They are unlikely to win but could very well pull enough support from Doug Applegate and Mike Levin to make sure that we’ll see Rocky Chavez and Diane Harkey on the ballot in November.
Having two Republicans on the November ballot is a terrible outcome. Not just for Democrats (who would be disenfranchised), but also for independent voters and for moderate Republicans who are looking for change.
This Facebook page, group, and affiliated web site were created to address the problems with the dysfunctional primary.
We are working hard to make sure that a crazy primary season does not deprive voters of a real choice in 2018. The winner in November should reflect the will of all the Californians in the district. That means that we get through the primary with a Democrat on the ballot for November.
We avoid disaster by educating, engaging, and informing voters. How? By getting this message out now:
1. VOTE ON JUNE 5TH!
2. VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC FRONT-RUNNER, NO MATTER WHO THAT IS AT THE TIME OF THE ELECTION!
We’ll also bring voters news about the race and the candidates as well as discuss and analyze the issues that are creating the potential for a shut-out in November.
We’ll run frequent non-scientific on-line polls to find out what's on our collective minds and share the results. We’ll use Facebook to surface the on-line polls in neighborhoods throughout the 49th District to get as representative a sample as we possibly can without resorting to paying extremely expensive polling companies that charge tens of thousands of dollars for a single snapshot in time.
Finally, we'll give voters access to lots of information from different sources including candidate campaign web sites (under the Candidate tabs above) and other links under the RESOURCES tab. These links are a direct line to independent sources for objective candidate profiles, campaign fundraising data, and other important information.
An educated and informed electorate is critical to a healthy democracy. The moderators of this page have a center-left political philosophy but are committed to being as objective as possible in the presentation of information on the site and on the page.
ABOUT THE 49th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
The 49th Congressional District currently covers the northern coastal areas of San Diego County and a few cities in the southern part of Orange County. The district includes the cities of Dana Point, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, and Del Mar. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton is also in the district.
Congressman Darrell Issa (R) currently represents the 49th District. In the 2016 election, Issa won by a margin of less than 1 percentage point (1,621 votes) over challenger Doug Applegate (D). Issa announced he would not seek re-election.
In the 2018 election, this district is considered to be a major battleground that could determine control of the United States House of Representatives. Four Democrats have filed, including 2016 challenger Doug Applegate, Mike Levin, Sara Jacobs, and Paul Kerr. Eight Republicans have also jumped into the race, including Rocky Chavez, Diane Harkey, Kristin Gaspar, Brian Maryott, Joshua Schoonover, Mike Schmitt, David Medway, and Craig Nordal.
All four Democrats are credible candidates. Only three of the eight Republicans have any measure of support: Rocky Chavez, Diane Harkey, and Kristin Gaspar. Chavez and Harkey are polling well ahead of Gaspar.
The primary election is on June 5, 2018. The top two vote-getters in the primary (regardless of party affiliation) will face off in the general election on November 6, 2018.
Voices of the 49th is committed to making sure that voters in the 49th District have a meaningful choice in November... which means engaging, educating, informing, and influencing voters through the jungle primary in June so that a Democrat makes it on to the final ballot.