WALTERS: But will new voters turn out?
Published: Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 2, 2012 at 7:32 p.m.
There definitely has been a big surge in California voter registration in recent days
The secretary of state’s office
The question that political oddsmakers are asking is whether the registration surge will translate into a relatively high voter turnout, something like the 79.4 percent recorded in 2008.
A high turnout like that would help Democrats win several close congressional and legislative races and Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to win on Proposition 30, his hotly contested sales and income tax increase.
The state’s three major polls have pegged Proposition 30’s support at under 50 percent in the last couple of weeks, down markedly from surveys earlier in the fall. But they also indicate that Proposition 30’s biggest supporters are young voters, a subcategory that usually has a low propensity for actually casting ballots.
Therefore, Proposition 30’s supporters are hoping that the surge of new young registrants will translate into a surge of new young voters who will overcome the gap between what the polls say and what they need to win
They take heart from the Field Poll released Thursday, which not only confirmed the measure’s popularity among under-30 voters (61 percent) but found a higher level of support generally during the latter stage of its survey.
That, they hope, indicates that Field, which could not test sentiment among the newest batch of registrants, may have undercounted young, pro-Proposition 30 voters.
Scott Lay, a California community college lobbyist and political blogger, contended in a Twitter post Thursday, following release of the Field Poll, that
There’s no presidential contest in California this year. Obama is a surefire winner, as is U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, so the natural drivers of voter turnout are missing, and it’s unlikely to hit the 2008 mark.
But it will almost certainly be higher than
Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee.
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