BY MARK DiCAMILLO and MERVIN FIELD
The Field Poll
With the 2008 presidential and congressional elections now decided, the state’s political community is now adjusting its sights on the 2010 governor’s race. Two-term Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is barred from running again, which means the contest will be an open seat.
This will likely lead to spirited contests among prominent individuals within both parties seeking the state’s top executive position.
Media reports have already begun to speculate as to which individuals may decide to make a run. In its latest survey completed in late October, The Field Poll presented a cross-section of registered voters statewide with the names of nine individuals who have been mentioned as gubernatorial possibilities, six Democrats and three Republicans. Voters were asked their recognition of each potential candidate and the extent to which they held a favorable or unfavorable impression toward each.
Of the six Democrats listed, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein achieves the highest name recognition, with more voters holding a favorable (50%) than unfavorable (39%) impression. She also receives the best rating among rank-and-file members of her own party, with 70% of Democrats viewing her positively and just 16% holding a negative impression.
Between two-thirds and three-quarters of voters statewide do not have an opinion of each of the three Republican possibilities measured. To the extent that voters hold an opinion, impressions of each are about evenly divided among the overall electorate. Among rank-and-file Republicans former EBay CEO Meg Whitman is currently viewed more favorably (23%) than unfavorably (9%).