Mid-February FM3 Research Poll of CA-49: Very Crowded Field of Candidates Raises Fears of a Democratic Lock-out in November
Too many Democratic candidates are running in the 49th primary! The odds are uncomfortably high that we're going to wind up with two Republicans on the ballot in November.
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:
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 this 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 a real and meaningful choice in November. If you are uneasy about 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.
Full Results from the February FM3 Poll