Lawmakers should approve gender, economic equity bills
Going into this gubernatorial primary election, one could have rightly expected to see a pretty good turnout. There are more than 30 open legislative seats for the first time in nearly a decade and competitive congressional races after the shakeup of redistricting. But with just a few days to go, we are at just 13% total turnout statewide. In some key battlegrounds, like the hot L.A. Mayor’s race, turnout is even lower at just 10%,
ANALYSIS: Ballots have been mailed to all 22 million California voters and many have already been returned. As has been the pattern for the last several election cycles, this begins a month-long stretch where most voters will cast their ballots by mail or at in-person voting centers. Some will wait until Election Day and vote at the polls, but that is a declining portion of the electorate.
There are plenty of things to look at now that California counties have updated their voter files with the 2018 general election vote history. This is our first chance to see what really happened, as opposed to what people thought had happened based on the outcomes.
Our recent Sextant Strategies & Research/Capitol Weekly poll of 1,554 likely voters shows just how significant a challenge Kevin de León faces in 2018. Nearly half the electorate has never heard of him, and of those who have, his favorability-versus-unfavorability ratings are about even. A hypothetical, Feinstein-De León matchup for both the primary and general elections shows Feinstein with better than a 2-to-1 advantage.
Any sound voter analysis tries to identify prior events that hopefully serve to predict future voter behavior. For this we examine several past elections, including the gubernatorial elections we mentioned in Part I, and other recent presidential primaries. But each appears somewhat flawed as a predictor of what the 2018 primary will look like.
Immediately after the 2016 there were a number of people and organizations that made quick analyses of the electorate, and what happened. Here in California, we appeared to be bucking a national trend: While the Republican ticket over performed in key swing states on the East Coast and upper mid-west, California saw Democrats regain legislative super-majorities in both houses, hold swing congressional seats and make Republicans appear more vulnerable than they have in many years.
With a flood of expected gubernatorial candidates on the Democratic side, and a lack of Republican candidates lining up for 2018, many are convinced that we are headed for another Democratic intraparty runoff. So, again, it is prediction time. And again, I will go with the math and say the general election of the 2018 governor’s race will follow tradition and feature a Democrat versus Republican.
This story is really about two populations that we have known could, someday, dominate California elections: Millennials and Latinos. The Latino vote has been repeatedly spoken of as a political “sleeping giant,” evoking the sense that this population could awaken and shake the foundations of our elections.
Prior to the June Primary, California experienced a massive surge in voter registration. More than 2.3 million voters registered, either for the first time, or as a re-registration. This was not only larger than any other primary election in the state’s history, it was larger than any general election. As measured by absolute growth of the voter file, the nearest comparison was the 1980 primary in which former California Governor Ronald Regan was running for the Republican Party nomination.