I still think Hillary is not only the most electable candidate out there but the one with the skill set to clean up the mess left by the Bush Administration.Ã‚Â This poll agrees with me.Ã‚Â
Clinton top pick of state Dems
LEAD OVER OBAMA GROWS, POLL SHOWS
Article Launched: 08/17/2007 06:08:05 AM PDT
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is red-hot in California, driven by her wide popularity among the state’s female and Latino voters, according to a new poll released today.The New York senator has opened up a 30 percentage point lead over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, challenging earlier predictions that California would be a competitive battleground for the Democrats ahead of the Feb. 5 primary.Ã‚Â
“Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, that’s what this poll is all about,” said Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo.
The Field Poll shows that 49 percent of likely Democratic voters plan to vote for Clinton, up from 41 percent in the March poll. Support for Obama has dropped from 28 percent in March to 19 percent in the new poll.
And former vice presidential candidate and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards now has dropped to 10 percent of the vote, down from 13 percent. Yet, the race among Clinton, Obama and Edwards remains much closer when measured by polls conducted in the key early caucus and primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
In California, it is Clinton’s appeal to women and Latino voters, strong from the start, that is crucial to her lead, DiCamillo said. But she has seen gains since the March poll in a fairly long list of sectors: Bay Area voters, college-educated voters, non-Hispanic white voters and younger voters. She has captured at least 40 percent of those subgroups, “an enviable profile,” DiCamillo said.
Women typically make up at least 55 percent of the electorate in the Democratic primary. Latinos are less reliable to vote in the primary, but Clinton enjoys 63 percent of support from that group. And their growing influence in statewide politics could mean increased participation.
Unlike her rivals, Clinton also has built a well-staffed operation in California, and has nailed down important endorsements, including several high-profile Latino and women leaders. Even though her public events have been scarce, her campaign is disciplined, with the candidate appearing at carefully crafted events and dozens of fundraisers.
Over the summer, Clinton also has seen her popularity grow in national polls after a series of debates and forums in which she received good reviews. And a spat with Obama over foreign affairs policy is playing into her campaign theme of experience. If Clinton “is hitting on all cylinders” in California, as DiCamillo described it, Obama has seen some early support erode.
“In March, Obama was the new kid on the block,” DiCamillo said. “But now, as voters get to know a little more about him,” fewer are sticking with him.
Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt downplayed Clinton’s lead, predicting it won’t hold. He suggested almost everyone knows her, but have yet to learn about Obama. “Name ID is king right now,” he said. Obama on Thursday announced his first California campaign director, Mitchell Schwartz of Los Angeles, an experienced political veteran who has worked for Bill Clinton.
LaBolt said the Obama campaign’s strategy is to build a large grass-roots organization to spur enthusiasm and turnout, and in recent months held so-called “Camp Obama” sessions to recruit volunteers in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign credits her lead to the large amount of time and effort she and her staff have spent in California.
“We’re going to run like we’re behind,” said Luis Vizcaino, the Clinton campaign’s California spokesman. “The more people hear her, the more people understand she has the experience to lead.”
That’s the message that has won over Barbara Halloran, a Democrat who lives in Redwood City. Halloran is choosing Clinton because of her experience. “I feel that before someone runs for president, (that person) has to have world connections.” Jason Belcher, a Santa Clara real estate broker and Democrat, likes the idea of getting “a team with Bill and Hillary.” “It wouldn’t matter if Bill was re-elected for a third term or she were elected for a first term.” And, he added, “having the first woman president would be really great.”
But Peter Leroe-Munoz, a Democrat from Gilroy, said he is having a hard time choosing among the three front-runners. “It’s a dead heat for me.”
And what he’s most concerned about, he said, is restoring the nation’s global reputation and getting a Democrat in the White House.
That sentiment is shared by a majority of Californians, the poll found. In hypothetical November general election matchups, the three leading Democrats out-poll the top GOP candidates, with significant backing from voters who decline to state a party affiliation.
DiCamillo said he was surprised by Clinton’s ability to draw about one in five Republicans when matched up against former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the leading GOP candidates. The perception that Clinton is an intensely polarizing figure is dissipating somewhat, he concluded.
GOP voter Annette Cook of Livermore has yet to make up her mind about which Republican she’ll support, but of Clinton, she said, “I’d rather die and go to hell than see Hillary Clinton win. I wouldn’t trust her to take my garbage to the street.”