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The Independent Index

A Data-Driven Update on Politics and Policies in California and Beyond

Photo: Paul Wellman/S.B. Independent Kamaka Harris

(1) Kamala runs third on her own turf.  California Democrats or voters who lean Democratic rank favorite daughter Senator Kamala Harris as merely their third choice among their presidential contenders, at 17 percent, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll, placing her behind Joe Biden (26 percent) and Bernie Sanders (18 percent).

(2) (Don’t) Run, Kamala, (Don’t) Run!  By 52 percent to 38 percent, likely voters of all partisan stripes say Harris, who has served less than half her first term, should not run for president, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) survey. Democrats and Republicans unsurprisingly divide on the question, but self-identified independents by a 2-1 ratio believe she should not seek the presidency.

(3) The guy who hasn’t declared is winning.  Although he has yet to formally announce his candidacy, former vice president Biden remains the front-runner among Democrats and Dem leaners nationwide, Quinnipiac reports, at 29 percent, trailed by Senator Sanders (19 percent), ex-Texas congressmember Beto O’Rourke (12 percent), and Harris (8 percent).

(4) Biden’s handsiness hasn’t made a big difference.  Amid a flood of stories about multiple women complaining that Biden’s nonsexual touching of them in political settings made them uncomfortable, a Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that Democratic women (50 percent) and men (49 percent) alike said the reports won’t matter in their presidential primary voting, while 32 percent of Dem women and 26 of men said it makes them less likely to support him in the primary. A Quinnipiac California survey reports that the tactile politics issue has less traction here, where 71 percent of Dems and 67 percent of women said it is “not serious.”

(5) Twitter Dems drive the news but won’t decide the nominee. In a media atmosphere where news increasingly originates via Twitter, data from Hidden Tribes, a research project studying political polarization based on census stats, shows that moderate Democrats who avoid social media outnumber — by a 2-1 margin — Dems who routinely tweet and overall are more liberal. Notable: Moderate Dems are more diverse and less educated than the largely white, college-educated Twitter crowd.

(6) Majorities favor life imprisonment over death penalty …  Both PPIC and the Q-Poll, which asked the question in slightly different ways, show that Californians share Governor Gavin Newsom’s opposition to the death penalty, favoring life in prison over capital punishment by 48 percent to 41 percent in the latter and 58 percent to 38 percent in the former survey.

(7) … but disagree with how Newsom handled the issue.  By 46 percent to 44 percent, Californians oppose the governor’s unilateral suspension of death sentences (Independent 3/27/19), with an expected vast disparity on the question between Democrats and Republicans; significantly, independents oppose his move 50 percent to 41 percent.

(8) Californians say fixing immigration is crucial — but say it’s not a crisis.  Asked to name the most important issue facing Sacramento, more adult Californians (15 percent) voluntarily said “immigration” rather than any other issue, including education (11 percent), jobs and the economy (10 percent), and the environment (8 percent), PPIC reports. However, only one in four (27 percent) of California adults agreed with Trump in describing the situation at the border as a “crisis” (equal to those in national polling, according to PPIC), although 45 percent said it is a “serious problem.”

(9) More Californians than ever say housing is unaffordable.  Two-thirds of those interviewed by PPIC identified the cost of housing in their area as a major problem — and nearly half (47 percent) said it is making them think about moving to another state. Regionally, residents in the San Francisco (80 percent) and Los Angeles (74 percent) areas find the situation most serious, with fewer in the Central Valley (56 percent) and Inland Empire (49 percent) describing it as such.

(10) State voters hate Trump’s tax changes.  As they prepared to file tax returns, a large majority (60 percent) of California adults in the same survey expressed disapproval of the Republican’s 2018 federal “tax reform” legislation — while 6 in 10 said they pay too much in local and state taxes.

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