In a read of last week's elections at the Sacramento Press Club this afternoon, the twin towers of California polling, Mark DiCamillo of the Field Poll and Mark Baldassare of the Public Policy Institute of California, said traditional Democratic constituencies such as women and Latinos ultimately came home to Democratic candidates while the statewide Republican Party was unable to resurrect its tarnished brand.
They also said voters were consistent in their positions on propositions, showing an anti-tax and reform-minded mood that Gov.-elect Jerry Brown will have to wrestle with.
DiCamillo expressed skepticism about the growing use of so-called "robo-polls," which automatically dial voters, saying they missed about a fifth of people who only use cell phones and require heavy after-survey weighting that opens the polls to possible manipulation.
"This I think is the most worrisome aspect of robo-polls," DiCamillo said. "It has given the pollster a wider latitude than traditional pollsters in influencing the poll outcome."
The last Field Poll showed Brown leading Republican Meg Whitman by 10 percentage points, while in the most recent election results, the margin of victory was 11.5 percentage points. Hundreds of thousands of ballots remain to be counted.
Baldassare said the election had revealed 10 trends in the state election: a strong environmentalist bent among voters, the importance of Latino voters, low approval for the Legislature, low trust in state government, the poor economy, disapproval of the budget crisis, the continuing popularity of President Barack Obama, an unpopular GOP, a reform-minded electorate and the large number of independent voters.
"The GOP in California, you know, I think has a number of issues related to their stance on abortion, to the environment, that are problematic certainly for independent voters and even some GOP voters," Baldassare said. "And that has been something that's alienated them."
Of Democratic voters, DiCamillo said, "In the end, they moved - because of party - to the standard bearers of the Democratic Party, and that was especially true of Latinos."