Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Poll Shows Saldaña Swamping Peters

New Poll Shows Saldaña Swamping Peters

Saldaña leads Peters nearly 3 to 1 among Democrats, garnering 38% of their support while Peters get just 14%. She also beats Peters among independent voters by 6 points, 16% to 10%

A recent survey conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) shows that Democrat Lori Saldaña is leading the field among Democratic contenders, including Scott Peters, and moves to within a statistical dead heat of Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray when voters learn more about her.

In the new open primary system (where the top two candidates regardless of political party qualify into the General Election), these results show that Saldaña not only has a strong opportunity to move onto the General Election as one of the top-two vote-getters, but that Bilbray is vulnerable to Saldaña in the General Election if she succeeds in getting out her messages and putting forth a strong and sustained campaign.

In the first query, before voters heard anything about the candidates other than their ballot designations, Saldaña runs second only to incumbent Bilbray among the 10- candidate field. In fact, she is out front of her leading Democratic contender, Scott Peters, by eight points, 18 percent to 10 percent. While the better-known Bilbray leads with 32 percent of the vote, no other candidate—Democrat, Republican, or non-partisan—earns more than two percent of the vote (31% of voters are undecided).

As shown in the figure below, in the first vote, Saldaña garners 38 percent of the vote among Democrats, while Peters earns just 14 percent—for a nearly 3-to-1 advantage among Democrats. She also bests Peters by six points with independent voters, 16 percent to 10 percent—with nearly half (43%) still undecided.


Saldaña takes a commanding lead over Peters after voters learn more her. Moreover, she is now in a statistical dead heat with Bilbray. After voters hear positive information about the five leading contenders, her share of the vote jumps from 18 percent to 29 percent. Peters earns just seven percent—giving Saldaña a 22-point lead. Meanwhile Bilbray’s support is little changed at 30 percent—statistically equal to Saldaña at 29 percent. This finding shows that, not only can Saldaña defeat Peters on the way to the General Election, but that she can also defeat Bilbray with a strong and sustained campaign that gets out front and outcommunicates the incumbent.

• After hearing the positive additional information, Saldaña earns 54 percent of the Democratic vote, to just nine percent for Peters—for a substantial 45 point lead.

• She also nearly doubles her support among independents, from 16 percent to 30 percent.

This gives her an 11-point lead among independents over Bilbray (who earns 19% of their vote) and 15 points over Peters (who earns 15% of the independent vote).

Saldaña holds her support even when voters hear negative information about her. After negative information about the leading candidates, Saldaña remains tied with Bilbray, each with 28 percent of the vote. She leads Peters by 22 points—with Peters now earning jut six percent of the vote.

The survey results clearly show that Saldaña is in a solid position to defeat Peters in the June primary. However, it also reveals that Bilbray is vulnerable. While Bilbray is familiar to three out of four voters, he fails to earn even one-third of the vote in the first balloting. Far lesser known at this time, Saldaña gains ground on Bilbray when voters learn more about her. In fact, Bilbray fails to pull out front of Saldaña after voters are introduced to her background and positions, and he fails to take the lead after voters hear negative information about the leading candidates, including Saldaña and Bilbray.

Furthermore, this survey was conducted among likely June voters in anticipation of the primary election. The November electorate may be as much as eight points less Republican, and a less Republican electorate should favor Saldaña all the more. If Saldaña has a well-funded campaign, she will emerge out of the primary as a serious challenger to Bilbray in November.


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