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THE Nooner for December 1, 2017


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TWEET DU JOUR: @davecantonese - "Willie Brown, tells me, on his relationship with Kamala Harris: "She's never suffered from that, nor have I benefited."

Happy Friday! You made it. And, it was anything but one of those Capitol community weeks of shopping online and watching Food Network holiday specials. With the unexpected activity in the Capitol and with the tax debate in the other capital and today's Michael Flynn guilty plea, it's been a crazy one. 

We had the new PPIC poll out last night and you should have received the numbers on the major questions from me around 9pm last night. Let me take a moment to thank the major funders of the research--the James Irvine Foundation, the California Endowment, and the PPIC Donor Circle. Frankly, public polling has gotten a lot more difficult and we're limited to really PPIC, UC Berkeley IGS, and USC Dornsife/LAT to take the temperature of Californians on a cross-section of issues.

In the Bee, Christopher Cadelago takes a look at some of the major findings of the poll. "Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, at 23 percent, continues to lead the field to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown next year, followed by two Democrats, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (18 percent) and Treasurer John Chiang (9 percent). Republican John Cox was also at 9 percent, GOP Assemblyman Travis Allen at 6 percent and former state schools chief Delaine Eastin, a Democrat, at 3 percent."

Phil Willon reports in the Times "Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a dominant lead in her bid for reelection. "But a third of likely voters polled in California don’t know who they will vote for in either [the governor or Senate] race, meaning there’s plenty of room for jockeying among the candidates as the June primary election approaches."

Some of my guber race takeaways:

  • The order in the gubernatorial race is generally as expected, although I would have thought Chiang would have been closer to Villaraigosa after robust campaigning and online advertising. Chiang still has a name recognition problem, with 36% of voters having not heard of him and 23% more answering that they didn't have enough information to have an opinion on his favorability.
  • Democrats have a strong shot at caputuring the top two (an election system voters heavily favor) in the primary, although Cox has a shot if he can capture an overwhelming majority of the 37% of undecided GOP voters. He has plenty of resources, while fellow GOP candidate Allen has spent more time on his gas tax initiative than raising money for his bid for governor. The other question, of course, is how many of those undecided GOP voters will think that the race will inevitably go to a Democrat in the general and vote for the Democrat in the primary they find least distasteful.

    Also, at what point does Travis Allen decide to continue running for governor as opposed to running for reelection to the Assembly? He still has three terms left and doesn't have the money to compete with Cox as the Republican to get into the top two. Or, Allen could carry the party flag in the U.S. Senate race. Still, a very long shot, but it would be a better field for him statewide than governor.
  • I was surprised that former Supt of Public Instruction Eastin polled equally at 3% with both men and women. As the only female in the race, I would have thought that she would have picked up a little bit more female support in an election that some are predicting will be another "year of the woman." The poll was in the field November 10-19, after many of the sexual harassment and abuse allegations arose, and I was expecting Eastin's numbers to pick up. 
  • MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER: 30% of likely voters in the gubernatorial race are undecided.
    - Dems 20%
    - Reps 37%
    - Indies 35%.

Other takeaways:

  • Latinos are not automatically jumping behind Kevin de León for his challenge of Senator Dianne Feinstein. He garners 26% of Latino likely voter support to her 48%, proportionally not much different than the topline of 21% for de León and 45% for Feinstein.
  • President Trump's job approval is highest in the Central Valley (55%) and, as expected, lowest in the San Francisco Bay Area (24%). Good news for Jeff Denham in CA10, David Valadao in CA21, and Devin Nunes in CA22.

    What's notable is that it is only 39% in the Orange County/San Diego regions, where we are watching four congressional races--CA39 (Fullerton), CA45 (Irvine), CA48 (Huntington Beach), and CA49 (Carlsbad). The tax plan also has favorability of only 39% in OC/SD. That may not mean all that much, as we still have nearly a year and lots can happen in between. 
  • In looking at favorability of political parties, 43% of Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of their party, while only 25% of Democrats have a negative feeling about their party. 64% of likely voters say it's time for a third party, with majorities across the board, of course highest (71%) among independent voters.
  • Single-payer health insurance has is deemed important among likely voters across parties--Dems (62%), Reps (54%), Indies (54%), and even 54% of conservatives. That was one of the most surprising findings of this poll. Even so, the top line number of very important (59%) and somewhat important (19%) does not mean it would be successful at the ballot box in what would be an incredibly expensive battle.
  • Gas tax repeal at very important (54%) and somewhat important (18%) is just above the threshhold that conventional wisdom would say supporters would want to see at this point (60%+).



CA25 (Santa Clarita/Antelope Valleys): EMILY's list has added Steve Knight challenger Katie Hill to its endorsement list, reports Sarah D. Wire in the Times. The organization that promotes pro-choice women Democrats previously endorsed physician Mai Khanh Tran in CA39 and attorney Katie Porter in CA45 (Irvine). 

THE CRYSTAL BALL: Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball at the Institute of Politics at the University of Virginia moved CA39 (Fullerton) and CA45 (Irvine) from Likely Republican to Leans Republican, writes Sarah D. Wire for the Times. I previously had made that move on

I weighed in on congressional races with Capitol Public Radio's Ben Bradford last week. Rohrabacher (CA46) can't be happy about the Michael Flynn plea this morning.

AG IN CHIEF: For CALmatters, Ben Christopher gives a scorecard of the lawsuits filed by California against the Trump administration. "Now, almost a year into his Sacramento gig as the state’s top lawyer, Becerra’s office has put its name on 21 lawsuits against the Trump administration. By volume, that represents a rate of litigiousness unmatched by any of his counterparts in other states."

THE ART OF LOBBYING: For Capitol Weekly, Chris Micheli and Rex Frazier look at what it takes to pass (or kill a bill) in the Legislature. 


Probolsky Research




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Foes Of California Gas Tax Increase Launch Television Ads Seeking Repeal Initiative
Patrick McGreevy @
Republican opponents of a recent increase to the state gas tax have launched a television ad campaign aimed at getting California voter...

Survey: California’s Governor Race Tightens As Antonio Villaraigosa Inches Closer To Gavin Newsom – The Mercury News
California Elections, California Governor, California State Senate, Elections, Politics

Candidate Villaraigosa Vows To Get Tough On Unions, Put Focus On Children - San Francisco Chronicle
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday continued to distance himself from the Democratic left — and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom — with a pledge to take on unions and other interest groups if he is elected governor next year.

Feinstein Wants Documents On 2016 Russian Election Meddling | The Sacramento Bee
Angela Hart @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Senate Likely To Keep Some Property Tax Break. It's Still Not Good For Many Californians
Jim Puzzanghera, David Lauter @
Like residents of other high-tax states, Californians would benefit from being able to continue to deduct some of the cost of property taxes on their federal returns. The Republican bill headed to a final vote in the Senate this week proposes to eliminate that deduction.

Live Briefing: Senate Weighs Changes to Tax Bill on the Same Day They Could Vote

Republicans are moving closer to a final vote on their tax overhaul, but they still needed to make revisions in order to win over reluctant lawmakers.

Dianne Feinstein's Experience May Help In Senate Race | The Sacramento Bee
Christopher Cadelago @
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

Poll: Newsom, Villaraigosa Lead Pack In California Governor's Race As Feinstein's Reelection Bid Is Sailing
Phil Willon @
Essential Politics

Newsom, Villaraigosa Emerge From Pack In Governor's Race -
Ben Adler @
Capital Public Radio, Inc.7055 Folsom BoulevardSacramento, CA 95826

Ppic Survey Exposes Deleon’s Daunting Task « Calbuzz
Newsom leads Villaraigosa 23-to-18 percent in the survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, with Treasurer John Chiang and businessman John Cox at 9%, followed by Assemblyman Travis Allen at 6% and Delaine Eastin, the former Superintendent of Public Instruction, at 3%.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia Endorses Gavin Newsom For Governor
Seema Mehta @
As Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia explained why he was endorsing Gavin Newsom for governor on Thursday, he recalled two key moments in ...

Conservatives Let Sf Have It Over Verdict In Kate Steinle Case - San Francisco Chronicle
The verdict in the shooting death of Kate Steinle gave President Trump a fresh tweeting point Thursday night in his campaign against illegal immigration, and provided a host of conservative politicians and commentators an opportunity to beat up on San Francisco.

Pro-nuke activist from Berkeley to run for California governor
The latest candidate to replace Gov. Jerry Brown is a Berkeley resident best known as one of the nation’s most vocal advocates for nuclear power. Michael Shellenberger, the 46-year-old founder of the Breakthrough Institute think tank, announced his candidacy for governor Thursday afternoon during a panel conversation at the ClimateTech conference in San Francisco. Shellenberger, who in an interview called himself a lifelong Democrat, plans to run as an independent. He will join a growing field that includes well-financed front runners Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles.

Tom Steyer Is Leading A Campaign To Impeach Trump. Why Does That Annoy So Many Democrats?
Mark Z. Barabak @
With an eye on elected office, some believe Steyer's effort is aimed more at his political future than the president's.

Doj May Be Cracking Down On Recreational Marijuana | The Sacramento Bee
Kate Irby And Emily Cadei @
By Kate Irby And Emily Cadei

La County Under Ongoing Investigation For Using Taxpayer Money To Promote Homeless Tax – Daily News
Los Angeles County officials are under investigation by a state agency for allegedly using taxpayer money to fund promotional campaigns in favor of Measure H, the half-cent sales tax that voters passed this year, to help people who are homeless.

Sen. Rubio Tells A Secret: After Giving A Tax Cut To The Rich, GOP Will Cut Social Security And Medicare
Michael Hiltzik @
Sen, Marco Rubio revealed the GOP's master plan to gut the middle class--after the tax cut for the rich, it plans to cut Social Security and Medicare.

Senate blocks effort to send tax bill back to committee

The Senate voted on Nov. 30 to not send the Republican tax reform bill back to committee.

These Maps Show Why Some California Republicans Are Nervous About Changes To The Tax Code
California taxpayers would be hit disproportionately hard under the Republican tax plan because of changes to two popular tax breaks.

Steinle Case Defense Lawyer: Trump May Need Presumption Of Innocence, Too - San Francisco Chronicle
A jury on Thursday found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of murder in the killing of a woman on a San Francisco pier that sparked a national immigration debate two years ago.

Senate Tax Plan Won’t Cover Full Cost, Study Says - Politico

In an eagerly awaited report, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation said Thursday that the GOP plan would fall well short of covering its $1.5 trillion cost through additional economic growth, as some Republicans have promised.