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Obama Will Win California with Biggest Margin Ever: Field Poll

New America Media, News Report, Rene P. Ciria-Cruz Posted: Nov 03, 2008

Editor's Note: The latest Field Poll shows Barack Obama winning in California with the biggest margin larger than LBJ's or Reagan's. An unprecedented turnout of minority voters is contributing to his victory, reports NAM contributor Rene P. Ciria-Cruz.

SAN FRANCISCO Sen. Barack Obama will win California's vote tomorrow with the largest margin since World War II a historically unprecedented 22 points, according to the latest Field Poll.

Huge turnouts of youth and minority voters and baby boomers are boosting the Democratic presidential candidate's lead, at 55 to 33 percent, over his rival Sen. John McCain.

"This is the most exciting election campaign of my polling career," says the polling organization's Mark DiCamillo, who on Monday gave New America Media's ethnic media affiliates a detailed briefing on Field's latest electoral survey, conducted from Oct. 18 to 28.

Obama's lead in the state, says DiCamillo, is "bigger than Lyndon B. Johnson's 18 percent victory and Ronald Reagan's 16 percent edge." With 55 representatives, California has the largest share of the 538 seats in the electoral college, whose vote ultimately determines the winner.

The Democratic presidential candidate's lead in California reflects his national advantage. National polls show Obama leading with 270 electoral college votes in the bag; he needs only 35 votes to seal his victory.

Up to 61 electoral votes are shifting from red (Republican) to blue (Democratic), while no blue state has shifted to red. This does not bode well for the Republicans, says DiCamillo.

In California, nearly half of its 17 million registered voters have already turned in their ballots, either by mail or at early voting stations. Obama is leading 51 percent to McCain's 37 percent among absentee voters. Even among early precinct voters, who in the past tended to vote conservatively, Obama is leading 50 percent to McCain's 36 percent in the state.

Minority Turnout, A Key Change

The growing participation of ethnic minorities - 33 percent of all voters - is boosting Obama in California, along with huge turnouts of young voters and baby boomers. DiCamillo notes these as "key changes" in this election. Voters older than 64, who tend to vote conservatively, are being replaced by these voting sectors.

Latinos, who make up 19 percent of likely voters, are showing a record turnout and voting 3-to-1 for Obama, debunking speculation that Latinos would not vote for a black candidate.

African Americans are going for Obama 90 percent to 3 percent. Asians are choosing him 54 percent to 31 percent, but showing the highest portion of undecided voters (12 percent) among minorities.

DiCamillo says a large majority of voters, 65 percent, are choosing their candidate based on issues, not on personal qualities.

"So the McCain campaign's strategy of damaging Obama on the basis of character has not worked," he explains. The Field survey shows Obama "consistently being held in high regard," while negative perceptions of McCain grew as a result of his strategy.

Even among California voters with incomes of $100,000 or more, Obama is beating McCain 58 percent to 34 percent. Among voters who earn less than $20,000, Obama is winning 71 percent to 14 percent.

The traditionally Republican bastions of California's southern and central regions are also going slightly for Obama. Only the inland counties are leaning toward McCain, but not by much 47 percent to Obama's 44 percent. These trends also bode well for Democrats in congressional races, says DiCamillo.

A Tight Contest over Prop. 8

Field predicts a tight contest over Proposition 8, which seeks a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The No vote is currently leading the Yes vote, 49 percent to 44 percent, with a third of the electorate already finished voting and Catholics evenly divided (Protestants are voting overwhelmingly Yes, 62 percent).

DiCamillo, however, warns that past experience shows the religious vote could tilt the balance, with church sermons on Sunday before the election urging a Yes vote. "If the results from early voters shows a Yes lead, then Prop. 8 opponents are in for a long night," says DiCamillo. "But if the early votes shows a No lead, then Prop. 8 will be defeated."

The Field poll shows 61 percent of independent voters rejecting Prop. 8 as are 65 percent of Democrats. Republicans are supporting it at 75 percent.

Generational differences are also affecting the vote. Prop. 8 is losing among 52 percent of the 18 to 34 year-olds; it is winning only among voters older than 64 years, at 62 percent.

The generational divide over Prop. 8 is also evident among Latinos, who are almost evenly divided, with 48 percent No to 46 percent Yes. Latinos older than 40 are inclined to support it. Among African Americans, the proposition is winning 49 to 43 percent. Asians are opposing it 51 percent to 41 percent.

Interestingly, a vast majority of the state's voters (78 percent) say they personally know or work with people who are gay or lesbian. These voters are more inclined to vote No on Prop. 8 (51 percent No vs. 43 percent Yes).

Meanwhile, Proposition 4, which seeks a constitutional amendment requiring parental notification before a minor can terminate her pregnancy is narrowly winning, with 45 percent of likely voters intending to vote Yes and 43 percent intending to vote No, with 12 percent undecided.

Prop. 4 is the third attempt in four years by backers of the initiative to pass a parental notification law in California through the initiative process. Both previous attempts started out with early leads in the polls, only to be narrowly defeated by voters on Election Day. DiCamillo predicts a similar fate for Prop. 4.

Field's findings were based on a phone survey in English and Spanish of 966 voters taken from the state's voter registration list, 10 percent of which consists of cell phone listings.

Related Articles:

Obama Leads in Poll; Economy Takes Center Stage

Why I choose Obama

Obamamania Conquers the World

Prop. 8 Could Invalidate This Marriage

The Racist Double-Standards of Election '08

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