CA in Play?

Via Glenn Reynolds via Roger Simon, I see that a poll conducted by several California television stations has it Kerry 46, Bush 44 with a margin of error of +/- 4. Says Glenn, “If California is in play, Kerry’s in big trouble.” Indeed. All the more so since Ralph Nader isn’t included as a named option in this particular survey.

I’m doubtful that this result will hold and there is no tracking data to show how this compares with previous results by the same pollsters, so this may simply be a fluke result. It bears watching, in any event. Even if Kerry simply has to devote significant resources to shoring up the state, it’ll be a significant boost for the Bush campaign.

BoiFromTroy has some thoughts on this as well.

Update: Michael Barone has some reasonable analysis of this one:

This state falls on this list solely because of the Survey USA May survey, which put Kerry ahead by only 46 to 45 percent. Other polls in March and April show Kerry 9 to 11 points ahead, very close to Al Gore’s 11 point lead in 2000. The Survey USA result could simply be wrong, the 1 in 20 polls that polling theory tells us will produce a result more than 4 percent off the total population. I know I won’t believe it until I see some corroborating results.

But the regional and ethnic breakdowns are worth a look. Survey USA has Kerry ahead 62 to 31 percent in the Bay Area/Northern Coast, as one might expect; in 2000 the area went 61 to 32 percent for Gore. But in the other three areas Bush runs ahead of 2000 and Kerry runs well behind Gore. Bush carries the Central Valley 55 to 34 percent (53-42 in 2000), carries the Inland Empire 53 to 35 percent (50-46 in 2000) and barely trails 45 to 48 percent in Greater L.A. (39-57 in 2000). In these three areas, Bush Survey USA looks more like Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003 than Bush 2000. The Survey USA poll shows Kerry with only small leads among Hispanics (49 to 38 percent) and Asian/Other (47 to 44 percent). These are far better showings for Bush than he made in 2000.

The Survey USA poll may be just wrong. But if I were running the Bush or Kerry campaigns, I would be checking my California numbers soon. Bush strategists have been weighing whether to advertise in California. If their poll numbers match Survey USA’s, it might be a good idea. And if Kerry’s numbers match Survey USA’s, they might have to do what Al Gore wisely decided not do in 2000, and advertise in California also.

The entire article is worth a look, as it does some interesting state-by-state analysis.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. boifromtroy says:

    The Jones-Boxer numbers make me think the sampling is pretty accurate.