USC Poll: Voters like Brown as governor, but favor Clinton for president

by John Seiler | March 2, 2015 12:49 pm

hillary clinton hard choicesA new USC Dornsife poll shows Gov. Jerry Brown is as popular as ever — but voters want to keep him in California, not send him to the White House.

With the economy improving, his “California is back” message playing well and a landslide re-election victory just four months in the past, the four-time governor is riding high. His approval rating was 58 percent favorable, just 26 percent unfavorable.

That contrasts sharply with his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just four years ago, as he left office, a Field Poll[1] found Schwarzenegger’s approval rating was terminal, at 75 percent of voters looking on him negatively, with only 20 percent approving. The state was suffering through the middle of the Great Recession, with $20 billion state budget deficits.

However much voters now give a thumbs-up to Brown in the governor’s office, for the Oval Office, they seem ready for Hillary[2].

When asked whom they preferred for president of the two potential candidates, it came down to 49 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 26 percent for Brown.

Although Clinton has not officially announced her candidacy, yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported [3]she will do so in April. An announcement that early could help preclude candidacies from such potential challengers as Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and former Virgina Sen. Jim Webb.

As to Brown, he started campaigning late in his three previous candidacies for president — in 1976, 1980 and 1992 — but finished strong, though falling short in the end. An early start definitely would be required this time to have a chance at heading off Clinton.

As to the recent poll, it’s not California voters who likely will decide the candidate, as our primary comes in June. More decisive will be what voters think[4] in the Iowa Caucuses next January and the early primaries in New Hampshire, the Carolinas and Nevada.

However, should Brown and Clinton somehow both run and be contenders on the June 7 date of the California Primary, then Golden State voters really might get to decide who the next president is.

  1. Field Poll:
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