BOSTON, April 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new poll conducted in California by the Emerson College Polling Society (ECPS) suggests that the perennially blue state, which has not been won by a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, may be in play for the 2016 election.
Hillary Clinton holds a commanding 46-point lead over Senator Elizabeth Warren, her nearest potential rival for the Democratic nomination. However, in head-to-head matchups with the top two GOP contenders, Jeb Bushand Scott Walker, Clinton’s 53% to 47% edge is within the poll’s margin of error of +/- 3.2%.
California Republicans are split on who their candidate will be. Among those who plan to vote in the GOP primary, Bush and Walker are tied at 17%, physician Ben Carson trails by two points at 15%, and TexasSenator Ted Cruz is at 11%. Nearly 1 in 5 are undecided.
Harris is Leading the U.S. Senate Race
The poll also looked at the U.S. Senate seat being vacated in 2016 by the retirement of Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is leading a hypothetical field with 23% of the vote, followed by former eBay executive and 2010 gubernatorial loser Meg Whitman at 13%. Rocky Chavez, the only Republican to officially enter the race so far, came in third at 9%.
Water is the Top Issue
Water scarcity is the biggest issue facing California according to 31% of those polled, followed by immigration (21%) and jobs and the economy (13%). Seven in ten Californians (71%) support the mandatory water-use restrictions imposed by Governor Jerry Brown, including 48% who are strongly supportive. Only 18% oppose the cuts. Asked where they would make major reductions at home, 44% said they would reduce watering lawns and plantings, 15% cited showers and baths, and 9% would stop filling their swimming pools. 14% would make no reductions.
Worry is highest (41%) in the agriculturally important Central Valley region. A much larger percentage of Democrats (83%) favor water restrictions than Republicans (60%) and non-aligned voters (55%).
EDITORS NOTE: The ECPS survey was conducted statewide in California in English and Spanish from April 2-8, using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. The survey sample consisted of 881 registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.2% with a 95% confidence level. The full survey methodology and results can be found at www.theecps.com