The latest California poll conducted by the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times between March 14 and March 19 showed that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was still in the lead, while former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum remained in second place.
The survey showed that Mr. Romney was the favorite of 42 percent of the 1,500 registered Republican voters questioned, while Mr. Santorum garnered the support of 23 percent of the voting intentions. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich came third with 12 percent of the votes, two percentage points ahead of Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
However, in a head to head against President Barack Obama, none of the Republican contenders would come on top. Should the election be held today, the president would defeat Mr. Romney by 21 percentage points. He would also beat Dr. Paul by 28, Mr. Santorum by 29, and Mr. Gingrich by 32 points.
The survey also showed that 60 percent of those questioned were satisfied with Mr. Obama’s job performance, while on average 62 percent viewed the president in a positive way. Among Latinos, though, the figure is 73 percent.
In contrast, nearly two thirds of those surveyed felt Mr. Obama had mishandled the rise in gasoline prices. Yet, poll director Dan Schnur does not think the issue will jeopardize the president’s chances in the Golden State. “Gasoline prices would probably have to hit $20 a gallon to put Obama in serious trouble here in California,” he said. However, he did not believe this would apply to other states. “[…] if voters in a deep-blue state like this one are that unhappy with the way he’s handling this issue, it should be a big warning as to what his campaign is going to have to deal with in Ohio or Florida,” he warned.
California will hold its primary contest on June 5. The majority of its 172 delegates will be awarded by congressional district.