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PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government

Mark Baldassare | October 2002

Summary

This is the twelfth survey in a series of large-scale public opinion polls that PPIC is conducting during the 2002 California election cycle. The purpose of the surveys is to develop an objective, in-depth profile of the social, economic, and political forces affecting public policy preferences and elections in California.

Some findings of the current survey:

  • Among likely voters, Governor Gray Davis leads Republican challenger Bill Simon by 10 points (41% to 31%), with no third-party candidate receiving more than 4 percent of the vote. Davis leads Simon in the San Francisco Bay Area (50% to 19%) and Los Angeles (47% to 25%), while Simon is ahead in the other Southern California counties (41% to 34%) and the Central Valley (41% to 33%).
  • The majority of voters (59%) say the single debate between the major-party candidates helped them little or not at all in deciding who to support in the governor’s race, while 21 percent were unaware that a debate even took place.
  • Today, 60 percent of Californians approve of President Bush’s overall performance in office. His approval rating has slipped significantly since January (80%). There is less support in California than in the nation as a whole for the president’s handling of Iraq (51% vs. 58%).
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