Poll Shows How Independents Will Fare In California Open Primaries

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The possible impact of Independent candidates running in the June Open Primary varies dramatically depending on the Legislative or Congressional district you are looking at according to Polling conducted by IVN.us

IVN conducted polls in six Congressional Districts in regions throughout the state. Districts polled were chosen in an effort to get a feel for how voters in districts with varying political and demographic makeups viewed the Open Primary leading into the candidate-filing period that begins on February 13th.

The survey asked voters to express their opinions on specific changes brought about by the ballot measure passed by the voters in 2010.

In all districts and among all voters the most popular provision of the measure was the change allowing Independent candidates to run in the June primary rather than waiting to run in the November general election.

Voters also indicated that they are more likely to support candidates that publicly support Open Primary.

The poll tested theoretical candidate matchups in an effort to measure the impact Independent candidates could have in different political conditions.

In addition to generic matchups, pollsters tested known local political figures running as Independents in order to get a more realistic picture of the effect an Independent candidate could have on the race. The theoretical Independent candidates were chosen among publicly known figures with varying name ID and favorable/unfavorable ratings. They are NOT actual candidates for Congress.

One of the districts polled was the strongly Democratic 30th Congressional district where veteran Democratic incumbents Howard Berman and Brad Sherman have been thrown into the same district by reapportionment.

There has been much speculation that this seat might produce a Democrat vs. Democrat runoff. However, IVN poll results suggest this is not likely with or without an Independent in the race.

In fact, Congressman Sherman would appear to have a firm lead in the district where he polled 34% to Republican Mark Reed’s 30% with Howard Berman well behind at 14%.

IVN asked the question again with former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg in the race as a theoretical Independent candidate and the results were:

Berman (D)    14%

Sherman (D)   30%

Reed (R)          21%

Hertzberg (NP)14%

So, despite Hertzberg’s strong name ID and high favorable rating, the district appears inclined to produce a Democrat vs. Republican runoff with or without an Independent in the race. The key to this was Sherman holding on to 32% of Independents even with Hertzberg in the race who captured 29% of Independents.

These results contrasted sharply with results in another district gaining national attention. In San Diego’s 52nd district, Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray was forced to move by reapportionment to avoid a head to head with fellow Republican Darrell Issa.

This district is just slightly more Republican than Democratic and has one of the highest Independent registrations in the state. Obama leads in this district 49% to 37% against a generic Republican, and Feinstein polls at 44% to 40%. Independents break 57% for the President and 45% for Feinstein.

Voters in this district like the Open Primary by slightly higher margins than the state as a whole 62% to 24% (Independents: 69% to 24%). They also agree with candidates that argue that the best way to shake up Washington would be to elect candidates not connected to political parties, 59% to 33% (Independents 69% to 27%).

Voters in all the districts say they are more likely to support a candidate who supports the Open Primary by wide margins. Their strongest argument for supporting Open Primary was the ability of Independents to run in the Primary rather than the General election. In the 52nd, 78% of all voters and 85% of Independents supported this change.

The most interesting comparison to come out of these two districts is that the Independent candidate in San Diego ran so much better than the LA candidate despite the fact that he had lower name ID and lower favorability ratings the LA candidate. Some of this is a reflection of the relative popularity of the other candidates but it also is a reflection of the stronger anti-partisan attitudes of the Independent voters in the San Diego district.

IVN first tested a four way race pitting Bilbray against two Democrats and a Tea Party Republican and got the following results:

Brian Bilbray (R)       27%

Wayne Iverson (R)      6%

Scott Peters (D)          13%

Lori Saldana (D)        21%

Undecided                  34%

When pollsters added former State Senator Steve Peace as an Independent candidate, Bilbray held his base but Saldana’s second place lead slipped to within the polls margin of error leaving Peters, Saldana, and Peace in a statistical dead heat.

But, what set this district apart from the Berman Sherman contest was the projected November two way race. When Bilbray was matched against the Democrats the race was knotted up in identical 38% to 39% statistical ties.

But, when pitted head to head against Peace running as an Independent, Bilbray trailed 33% to 40% with Peace dominating the Independent vote 55% to 12%.

IVN will release more results and analysis from our statewide polling next week in the run-up to the February 13 filling period.

IVN polled 1800 people with a margin of error of +/- 3%.

***Editors Note: The Berman-Sherman district was originally reported as the 24th congressional district.  The 30th congressional district is the correct district and the article has been updated to reflect the reporting error.***

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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  1. Windows 8 Ultimate Key Hi there, You have done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I'm sure they will be benefited from this web site.
  2. John I have always stated I would challenge Bilbray and want to see a Conservative take this seat. Without an explanation from Iverson about his motives, I can only assume he does not understand Prop 14 or is naive about how this works.  I will focus on Federal Spending and Jobs, while Wayne/Jan seem to want to go to ad hominem attacks against me. I will take the high road and engage the people with ideas and solutions. Catch my radio show each Monday at 1pm on 1000am or www.kceoradio.com called "Solutions for America."show more
  3. Sandiego TParty What John states is true, Dr Iverson did leave early without answering questions, or the Q & A time at the end either. Icaucus was in the process of vetting John and even gave an interview on tape I believe, Iverson refused. To bad not enough outside involvement meant nobody got endorsed. Judge for your self, see them at the San Diego Tea Party Monthly Meeting here:   http://sandiegopatriots.com/SanDiegoTeaParty/meeting-minutes/
  4. John Thank you San Diego Tea Party, Wayne should be careful (or maybe it is Jan) in not distorting his position with the Tea Party.  I would suggest he stick to the issues and agree to a loser drop out debate or find another race.  Just last July he was going to run for CA51, CA53 or SS39 and before that he was going to run for everything between dog catcher and President (SS, SA, CAhouse and CAsenate) I have always stated I would challenge Bilbray and want to see a Conservative take this seat. Without an explanation from Iverson about his motives, I can only assume he does not understand Prop 14 or is naive about how this works.  I will focus on Federal Spending and Jobs, while Wayne/Jan seem to want to go to ad hominem attacks against me. I will take the high road and engage the people with ideas and solutions. Catch my radio show each Monday at 1pm on 1000am or www.kceoradio.com called "Solutions for America."
  5. John Please list the fabrications, I have challenged you to a debate many times, you refused to be vetted by iCaucus and the SDTP told you not to come back, plain and simple From above "Tea Parties are open forums that allow everyone to participate. Anyone can attend if they have the time and interested." is illogical and not sure what you are saying.  Is this Wayne or Jan writing these replies
  6. John Wayne, Clarify a point for me as I do not think you understand Prop 14 Last year you called me and said that if you lost in June, you would run as an Independent in Nov.  That is not possible, my friend.  Are you running in June as a Republican or an Independent? This poll seems to be a test case for an Independent run under Prop 14 and not a complete poll for CA 52.  Also you did not answer the question about you being told not to return to the SD TP or your refusal to be vetted by iCaucus. Can you clarify those points? Also, please provide the math that shows a 5 person race a good situation for a Conservative win. Only you and Jan think it is a good idea.  I have not had another single person think it makes sense, so schedule the debate and the loser drops out.  Poll your 114 followers on Twitter and see if they think it makes sense Regards, John K Stahl Candidate CA 52 Republican
  7. Dr Wayne Iverson Dr Wayne Iverson engages the community through public service events, just see his website www.WayneIversonForCongress.com. Actually it is also very important to have candidates who have actually served the community like Dr Wayne Iverson. He has an abundance of San Diego community service. Something that is severely lacking in one particular Republican candidate that wasn't even named in the poll results
  8. John Wayne, you also refused to be vetted by iCaucus (Tea Party Vetting Arm) so I think you should not mislead anyone.  Be a man and debate me for the right to take on Bilbray.  Just consider it the wild card playoff or offer some math that says a five person race is good for Conservatives
  9. Dr Wayne Iverson Tea Parties are open forums that allow everyone to participate. Anyone can attend if they have the time and interested. I am afraid fabrications such as those listed in this comment by John K. Stahl only serve to underscore the weakness of his campaign and his desperation to get noticed.
  10. John Wayne, is it not a fact that you were told not to return to the San Diego Tea Party meetings for not answering questions during your presentation.  People want someone who will take questions and not leave early for no stated reason
14 comments
Windows 8 Ultimate Key
Windows 8 Ultimate Key

Hi there, You have done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I'm sure they will be benefited from this web site.

John
John

I have always stated I would challenge Bilbray and want to see a Conservative take this seat. Without an explanation from Iverson about his motives, I can only assume he does not understand Prop 14 or is naive about how this works.  I will focus on Federal Spending and Jobs, while Wayne/Jan seem to want to go to ad hominem attacks against me. I will take the high road and engage the people with ideas and solutions. Catch my radio show each Monday at 1pm on 1000am or www.kceoradio.com called "Solutions for America."show more

Sandiego TParty
Sandiego TParty

What John states is true, Dr Iverson did leave early without answering questions, or the Q & A time at the end either. Icaucus was in the process of vetting John and even gave an interview on tape I believe, Iverson refused. To bad not enough outside involvement meant nobody got endorsed. Judge for your self, see them at the San Diego Tea Party Monthly Meeting here:  

http://sandiegopatriots.com/SanDiegoTeaParty/meeting-minutes/

John
John

I think it is important to have candidates who engage the community and Iverson only talks about Obamacare and will not address other issues.  It will be tough enough to knock off Bilbray and we need to settle the challenge

John
John

I think if you check with the San Diego Tea Party, Iverson was asked not to come back for refusing to answer questions. To verify, check with [email protected] or [email protected]  I have challenged Iverson to a debate but he refuses

John K Stahl

Wayne Iverson for Congress
Wayne Iverson for Congress

Congratulations on getting out one of the first polls analyzing the Congressional Race in CA-District 52. We have an interesting mix of talent on both sides of the political spectrum. Thank you for correctly listing me, Dr Wayne Iverson, as a Tea Party Republican. I am also a physician and small businessman and even though I am well known in the community, not as well known in the ruling class political circles. Fortunately it is the community that goes to the voting polls. I hope you run your poll again in 30 days, by then it should be even across the board, which will be a trend to ultimately favor me as the Tea Party candidate in Primary Election in June. www.WayneIversonForCongress.com 

Jim Ulam
Jim Ulam

Anxious to see how it plays out!

John
John

Thank you San Diego Tea Party, Wayne should be careful (or maybe it is Jan)

in not distorting his position with the Tea Party.  I would suggest he stick to the issues and agree to a loser drop out debate or find another race.  Just last July he was going to run for CA51, CA53 or SS39 and before that he was going to run for everything between dog catcher and President (SS, SA, CAhouse and CAsenate)

I have always stated I would challenge Bilbray and want to see a Conservative take this seat. Without an explanation from Iverson about his motives, I can only assume he does not understand Prop 14 or is naive about how this works.  I will focus on Federal Spending and Jobs, while Wayne/Jan seem to want to go to ad hominem attacks against me. I will take the high road and engage the people with ideas and solutions. Catch my radio show each Monday at 1pm on 1000am or www.kceoradio.com called "Solutions for America."

Dr Wayne Iverson
Dr Wayne Iverson

Tea Parties are open forums that allow everyone to participate. Anyone can attend if they have the time and interested. I am afraid fabrications such as those listed in this comment by John K. Stahl only serve to underscore the weakness of his campaign and his desperation to get noticed.

John
John

Wayne, is it not a fact that you were told not to return to the San Diego Tea Party meetings for not answering questions during your presentation.  People want someone who will take questions and not leave early for no stated reason

John
John

Please list the fabrications, I have challenged you to a debate many times, you refused to be vetted by iCaucus and the SDTP told you not to come back, plain and simple

From above

"Tea Parties are open forums that allow everyone to participate. Anyone can attend if they have the time and interested." is illogical and not sure what you are saying.  Is this Wayne or Jan writing these replies

Dr Wayne Iverson
Dr Wayne Iverson

Dr Wayne

Iverson engages the community through public service events, just see his

website www.WayneIversonForCongress.com. Actually it is also very important to

have candidates who have actually served the community like Dr Wayne Iverson.

He has an abundance of San Diego community service. Something that is severely

lacking in one particular Republican candidate that wasn't even named in the

poll results

John
John

Wayne, you also refused to be vetted by iCaucus (Tea Party Vetting Arm)

so I think you should not mislead anyone.  Be a man and debate me for the right to take on Bilbray.  Just consider it the wild card playoff or offer some math that says a five person race is good for Conservatives

John
John

Wayne,

Clarify a point for me as I do not think you understand Prop 14

Last year you called me and said that if you lost in June, you would run as an Independent in Nov.  That is not possible, my friend.  Are you running in June as a Republican or an Independent? This poll seems to be a test case for an Independent run under Prop 14 and not a complete poll for CA 52.  Also you did not answer the question about you being told not to return to the SD TP or your refusal to be vetted by iCaucus. Can you clarify those points? Also, please provide the math that shows a 5 person race a good situation for a Conservative win. Only you and Jan think it is a good idea.  I have not had another single person think it makes sense, so schedule the debate and the loser drops out.  Poll your 114 followers on Twitter and see if they think it makes sense

Regards,

John K Stahl

Candidate CA 52

Republican