Two new polls
Two polls hit right before the election (on Friday, June 1st).
Here is the scoop:
The first poll came out in a Roll Call article on Friday morning (apparently leaked). We've heard from several sources that it was commissioned by the DCCC. The poll was conducted by Tulchin Research (reputable, 538 grade of B). It had a sample size of 500 voters. Live telephone interviews were conducted between May 22-24.
The results of the DCCC Tulchin poll are as follows:
Mike Levin (D) 17
Diane Harkey (R) 15
Doug Applegate (D) 12
Sara Jacobs (D) 11
Rocky Chavez (R) 11
Paul Kerr (D) 7
Kristin Gaspar (R) 7
Brian Maryott (R) 6
The second poll was released by the San Diego Union-Tribune and KGTV 10 News about an hour after the DCCC poll hit Roll Call. The U-T and KGTV paid for the poll. It was conducted by SurveyUSA (reputable, 538 grade of A). It had a sample size of 700. The methodology included a mix of IVR and live interviews, landline and cell, conducted between May 29-31.
Here are the results of the U-T/KGTV Survey USA poll:
Diane Harkey 24
Applegate (D) 11
Sara Jacobs (D) 11
Mike Levin (D) 10
Paul Kerr (D) 10
Rocky Chavez (R) 8
Bryan Maryott (R) 6
Kristin Gaspar (R) 5
Here's how these results fit in with all the other polls taken since February:
So... what does this all mean if you're voting strategically?
Well, the good news is that the odds of a Democrat making it through the primary are rising with Doug Applegate, Sara Jacobs, and Mike Levin all in strong contention for the second spot on the ballot. The bad news is that Chavez is still dangerous... the recent Tulchin poll has him at 11% and that's still close enough to the Democratic pack to keep him in contention. Also, his share of "already voted" is 12%, and those are in the bank. We're not out of the woods. Everyone must vote... and we still need to think about voting strategically.
But how do you pick a Democrat? Kerr is not a factor anymore, but the other three are neck and neck if you average the recent polls.
Here's where we net out: Doug Applegate is still the best strategic voting choice. Sara Jacobs has definitely done well and is in contention, but her momentum has stalled and she's still dependent on millennials who may or may not turn out. Mike Levin has been stuck in a range between 8% and 12% in every single poll except the recent Tulchin poll which is an outlier. The SurveyUSA poll taken a week after the Tulchin poll has him in his familiar range, at 10%. So there are huge questions about whether Levin has broken out or not... and we can't take one poll as gospel, especially since it was a leaked top-line result with no details.
If you can't stand Doug Applegate, then pick Jacobs or Levin. You can make arguments either way for these two candidates.
But whatever you do, please don't vote for Kerr - he's a spoiler right now. Every vote for Kerr is essentially a vote for Chavez.
Late April poll from Sara's campaign: Doug Applegate is the front-runner, Sara is second, and the top Republicans look scarier than ever
Sara's poll was conducted by Benenson, a reputable pollster, who surveyed 901 likely primary voters in the 49th Congressional District between April 28th and May 2nd (the poll has a margin of error of 3.3%).
The simple ballot test has Diane Harkey and Rocky Chavez on top (14% each) with Doug in third place as the Democratic front-runner (13%). Sara Jacobs and Mike Levin are in the middle of the pack (11% and 10% respectively). Kristin Gaspar trails at 7%, closely followed by Brian Maryott (6%). Paul Kerr is far behind with a dismal 8th place finish (with just 4%).
While it's very scary to see the top two slots occupied by Republicans, remember that these results are all within the margin of error in our earlier FM3 poll (~4%). FM3 had Harkey at 14% and Chavez at 10%... and it all looked fine because Doug was at 16%. But when a race is this tight, with a spread of only a few points, then small changes in a candidate's vote percentage can make a huge difference in where they stand relative to each other.
Just goes to show you how close this race is!
Everyone needs to vote in this primary election!
Not just that, but you need to vote strategically. A vote for Kerr is looking like a wasted vote at this point. He should really step aside, but if he doesn't, it's going to be up to the voters to make sure votes aren't thrown away so that a Democrat can make it through the primary.
On the other hand, Doug Applegate once again leads in this new poll. He has led in every reputable poll. He's the best bet to get through the primary and on the final November ballot.
The simple average of the two most recent polls is below:
And here is the weighted average:
Vote on June 5th! And vote for the Democratic front-runner, Doug Applegate.
We believe that voters need good data as the mail ballots drop. However, nobody has shared results from a reputable poll for a while. So, we coughed up the big bucks for a formal poll of the 49th by a top-shelf pollster.
The results of our FM3 Research poll (run April 26-29) show Doug Applegate still on top but the race is very, very close with a messy, crowded field. We're still very much in danger of a Democratic shut-out. If any candidate moves more than a few points, their position in the pack will be dramatically affected. It's time to think about strategic voting to make sure a Democrat is on the final ballot.
We commissioned our poll of the 49th Congressional District with Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz, and Associates (FM3). This poll of 500 likely primary voters was taken from April 26 to April 29. Live interviews were conducted by cell phone and landline.
With only a month left, no candidate leads by more than 16%. Democrats are still in danger of being locked out in November. The stakes are high and the outcome is still very much in doubt.
In a simple ballot test, Democrat Doug Applegate continues to lead with 16%. He has been the Democratic front-runner in every reputable poll taken this year. The new Republican front-runner is Diane Harkey at 14%. The other major candidates are bunched up in the middle of the pack with Sara Jacobs (D) at 12%, Mike Levin (D) at 11%, Rocky Chavez (R) at 10%, and Kristin Gaspar (R) at 9%. Paul Kerr (D) and Brian Maryott (R) trail with 6% and 4% respectively. 16% of voters are still undecided.
Doug Applegate is the most well-known Democratic candidate and Rocky Chavez is the best-known Republican. Applegate has a net favorability of +14 points (35% favorable, 21% unfavorable). Chavez has suffered a major drop in favorability from a similar poll conducted in February, from +11 points (30% favorable, 19% unfavorable) in February to +3 (25% favorable, 22% unfavorable) in the current poll.
Democrats Sara Jacobs and Paul Kerr significantly increased their awareness and name recognition by spending heavily on television, direct mail, online ads, and paid canvassing. Jacobs has a net favorability of +9 points (23% favorable, 14% unfavorable) while Kerr has a net favorability of +5 points (22% favorable, 17% unfavorable). Mike Levin’s net favorability is +14 points (22% favorable, 8% unfavorable).
Republican Diane Harkey has a net favorability of +8 points (16% favorable, 8% unfavorable).
Candidate Favorable/Unfavorable (With Comp to February)
This race is still wide open.
Democratic and Independent primary voters will need to think seriously about strategic voting in this election to ensure that a Democrat makes it on to the final November ballot. That means voting for the Democratic front-runner or at least one of the top two Democrats.
Mail ballots drop next week. Mail voting will start as early as May 7th.
Documents to Download: Press Release and Public Polling Memo
Finally! The poll drought is over. SurveyUSA put a poll in the field in the 49th from April 6 to April 10, interviewing 535 likely primary voters. Here's how things stand with apples-to-apples comparisons to the February SurveyUSA poll (for every candidate over 1%):
1. Rocky Chavez (R), 16% (-1% from the February poll)
2. Doug Applegate (D), 12% (-6%)
3. Mike Levin (D), 9% (+1%)
4. Diane Harkey (R), 8% (-2%)
5. Paul Kerr (D), 8% (+7%)
6. Sara Jacobs (D), 7% (+2%)
7. Kristin Gaspar (R), 5% (-2%)
8. Brian Maryott (R), 5% (+3%)
9. Mike Schmitt (R), 3% (+3%)
On the Democratic side, the big surprises (for us) are that Doug Applegate is down 6 points and that Paul Kerr has moved up 7 points relative to where each of them stood in February. This is a true apples-to-apples comparison because the pollster is the same. Mike Levin and Sara Jacobs picked up a little ground (1% and 2% respectively) but that movement isn't much given the vast expenditures of money (in Sara's case) and effort (in Mike's case).
Our takeaway is that our vote-splitting fears are coming to pass with Paul Kerr and Sara Jacobs sapping momentum from the Democratic front-runners, sucking support away from Applegate and stalling Levin. We are rapidly approaching a point where all four Democrats are splitting the vote evenly. It's ugly.
The silver lining is that the Republicans are suffering the same problem as well, to a much greater extent than we expected. In February, Rocky Chavez and Diane Harkey were far ahead of the pack. Since then, Harkey has actually gone backwards, losing 2% and dropping to 4th place overall. Chavez is in 1st place but it's basically by default since he's down 1% relative to February. Meanwhile, Brian Maryott picked up 3% to clock in at 5% overall, Mike Schmitt came out of nowhere to get 3%, and Schoonover, Nordal, and Medway are all at 1%. The Republicans are (amazingly) in worse shape than the Democrats when it comes to vote splitting.
Other takeaways that we consider important:
So, what to make of all this? What can we do to make sure a Democrat gets through to November? We'll continue to try to turn out the vote, educate voters about the vote-splitting problem, and appeal to them to support the front-runner when the time comes. However, we are going to pause in our efforts to halt the momentum of Paul Kerr and Sara Jacobs given that they are now within a point or two of Mike Levin.
It's not at all clear who the Democratic front-runner will be in a month. We've been unable to slow down Paul Kerr and Sara Jacobs enough to keep Doug Applegate and Mike Levin strongly ahead. The four Democrats are getting closer and closer to splitting the vote evenly between them.
With no Kerr and Jacobs in the race, our suspicion is that we'd all start thinking about two Democrats on the November ballot right about now. However, with two weakened front-runners and two challengers spending like crazy and gaining ground, we are still in jeopardy.
We will have to count on Democratic turn-out and the fragmented Republican field to give us hope that a Democrat can take the second spot on the ballot in November.
The full poll results are available below.
Full SurveyUSA poll results from early April
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
First big poll of the 49th shows Doug Applegate ahead with 18% but Chavez is nipping at his heels (17%); Diane Harkey is in third with 10%
SurveyUSA is out with results from a mid-February poll of the 49th commissioned by the Union-Tribune and KGTV-TV. From the SurveyUSA commentary:
Democrat Doug Applegate stands toe-to-toe with Republican Rocky Chavez, in the Top 2 California primary to replace GOP Congressman Darrell Issa in CA-49.
According to polling conducted by SurveyUSA exclusively for KGTV-TV and the Union-Tribune in San Diego, it's Applegate 18%, Chavez 17%, Republican Diane Harkey at 10%, Democrat Mike
Levin at 8%, Republican Kristin Gaspar at 7% and Democrat Sara Jacobs at 5%, with others further back. 27% of likely voters today are undecided, understandable given that additional candidates
have until 03/09/18 to jump into the race. If the total number of Republican votes today are added up and the total number of Democratic votes today are added up, Republicans lead Democrats
38% to 35%. The top two finishers in the primary advance to the 11/06/18 general election, even if the top two finishers are both from the same political party. Issa, one of a number of high-profile
Republican members of Congress to voluntarily leave office during Mr. Trump's first term, won reelection in 2016 by defeating Applegate by a handful of votes.
* Applegate's voters are focused on President Trump.
* Chavez' voters are focused on the economy.
* Harkey's supporters are focused on building a wall between the United States and Mexico.
* Levin's supporters are focused on healthcare.
* Mr. Trump's Net Job Approval in CA-49 is Minus 5: 46% of voters approve of the job he is doing as President, 51% disapprove.
* Issa's Net Job Approval in CA-49 is also Minus 5: 44% of voters approve of the job Issa is doing in the U.S. House of Representatives; 49% disapprove.
Full Results from February SurveyUSA Poll