Harris Down in California Poll

By Jim Ellis

Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris of California; dropping back in polls

Sept. 19, 2019 — Emerson College just released their new poll of the California Democratic electorate (Sept. 13-16; 424 likely California Democratic primary voters) and the research finds Sen. Kamala Harris (D) dropping well behind the front runners even in her home state.

In fact, just like in the rest of the country, Sen. Harris has fallen into single digits within her own California Democratic Party electorate, the very voting base that should be propelling her into the top tier. The Emerson result is Harris’ worst showing by far in California. Recording just six percent support, she drops even behind New York City businessman Andrew Yang who posted seven percent preference.

The Emerson survey was conducted directly after the televised Democratic presidential forum from Houston last week, and the California data confirms that Sen. Harris, in need of a homerun in that national forum to reverse her campaign’s downward trends, clearly did not succeed. In actuality, her poor debate performance has annotated that she should no longer be considered a first-tier candidate.

Of equivalent interest is an impending virtual three-way tie at the top for this state’s 416 first-ballot votes, a number making California the largest delegation at the upcoming Democratic National Convention scheduled for July 13-16 in Milwaukee.

According to the Emerson results, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) would tie at 26 percent while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) would post 20 percent preference. With these three individuals splitting the delegate base, Biden and Sanders would each come away with approximately 150 delegate votes (if the 53 congressional districts broke in line with the statewide total; Democrats award delegates based upon statewide performance and within each individual congressional district), and Sen. Warren would record 116 bound convention delegate votes.

But the Capitol Weekly organization, running their monthly tracking poll of a Democratic segment (616) from an aggregate pool of 5,510 California voters, sees the former vice president having a bad month. In their September track, which covered the period of Sept. 1-13, Biden scored only 18 percent support as compared to Sen. Warren’s 33 percent and Sen. Sanders’ 17 percent. In this poll, Sen. Harris reaches a respectable double digit support figure at 18 percent.

Examining the entire Capitol Weekly tracking operation from April through mid-September of this year, Biden still has the overall lead at 23.3 percent, with Sens. Warren and Sanders close behind with 19.3 and 18.1 percent. Sen. Harris’ overall percentage preference score is 15.7 percent, but this average includes her July apex of 20.6 percent.

The Emerson poll reported the segment voting by the age demographic. They depict some stark differences between those over and under 50 years of age.

For those over 50, Biden scores 40 percent support, with Sen. Warren at 23 percent, and Sen. Sanders posting 13 percent. Within this group, former Texas congressman, Beto O’Rourke, rather surprisingly approaches double-digit preference as he recorded eight percent.

Among the younger voters, Yang made his move. He would score 11 percent support within this demographic segment. While Biden hits 40 percent among the older voters, he only lands in the 16th percentile among the younger subset, trailing both Sen. Sanders (34 percent) and Sen. Warren (18 percent). Sen. Harris does equally poorly within both age grouping, 6.5 percent among the under-50 segment, and 5.5 percent when isolating those over 50 years of age.

This poll again suggests that the California primary, scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 3, is wide open. Because of its impact upon the nomination since it is the largest state, we will closely watch how this electorate develops over the coming months.

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