Porter, Garvey tied for second place in closely watched California Senate primary, poll says

While Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff is on track to win the March 5 California Senate primary, and thus move on to the November general election, second place is a statistical tie between Congresswoman Katie Porter, a Democrat, and retired baseball great Steve Garvey, a Republican, according to the latest survey from the Public Policy Institute of California.

The survey found that 24% of likely voters favor Schiff to succeed Laphonza Butler as the next senator from California, while 19% favor Porter and 18% favor Garvey — a statistical tie, given that the sampling error is 3.3%.

Second place matters in this race, as California has a top-two “jungle primary” system, where the two highest vote-getters move on to compete in the general election, regardless of political party.

Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee trails the others in a distant fourth place, with 10% support.

This close to election day, it appears most voters have made up their minds about who they will support; just 6% said they don’t know who they’re voting for in the Senate race.

The PPIC surveyed 1,628 adult California residents, including 1,075 likely voters, between Feb. 6 and Feb. 13.

Here’s a rundown of other findings from the poll:

Donald Trump likely to sweep the state’s primary

Despite multiple ongoing criminal investigations and trials, former President Donald Trump has managed to mostly clear the field of the 2024 Republican presidential primary, and it appears that California will pose no exception.

Nearly two-thirds, 64%, of likely Republican voters say they will support Trump in the primary, while former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has just 17% support. California Republican Party rules state that if a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, they will be awarded all of the party’s state delegates. If Trump’s turnout matches polling, he could receive 169 delegates from the Golden State.

Still, Trump shouldn’t expect to win California if and when he goes head to head with President Joe Biden for a second time.

The PPIC survey shows that 55% of likely voters support the incumbent Democrat while just 32% support Trump. Biden’s lead extends across both Democratic and no party preference lines, with 82% of Democrats and 47% of NPP voters backing him.

Support for Proposition 1 lessens, but remains strong

More than half (59%) of California likely voters said they will approve Proposition 1, the ballot measure backed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to overhaul how the state delivers mental health and substance abuse treatment channel $6.4 billion in bond funding into new treatment centers and housing for the homeless.

That’s down from 68% when PPIC surveyed voters in December, but still shows that nearly six in 10 California voters are on board with the spending and reform package.

Support for the ballot measure varies heavily depending on party affiliation, with 76% of Democrats in favor and 56% of independents, but just 32% of Republicans willing to vote yes.

Newsom’s approval rating dips below 50%

California voters aren’t happy with the job Newsom is doing, nor are they pleased with the Legislature’s performance.

Newsom’s approval rating has dipped down to 48% of likely voters, bad news for the two-term governor whose national ambitions have driven him to launch what looks to some like shadow campaign for the 2028 Democratic presidential primary. That’s down significantly from this time last year, when Newsom had a 57% approval rating. (Newsom has denied that he is considering running.)

As for state lawmakers, just 42% of likely voters give them a passing grade.

So what’s bothering California voters? It’s the economy.

A plurality of Californians (20%) listed the economy and inflation as a top issue facing the state, according to the PPIC survey. Other top issues included homelessness (18%), housing affordability and availability (14%), crime (11%) and immigration (10%).

Concerns about housing costs, immigration and crime have more than doubled from this time last year, according to the PPIC.

Many view the Mexico border situation as a crisis

Is what’s happening along the California-Mexico border a crisis?

Nearly half (49%) of likely voters say it is, while 30% say it’s a serious problem but not a crisis.

Republicans (76%) are much more likely to view the immigration situation as a crisis, while just 38% of independents and 29% of Democrats believed it is.

A solid majority (62% of likely voters) believe that the U.S. should focus on making sure that the process for determining who can be admitted across the border is more efficient. Another 37% of likely voters said the focus should be on making sure migrants can’t cross the border at all.

Californians want a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas

The Israel-Hamas war has raged on for five months now, and a strong majority (63%) of Californians want to see that conflict end in a ceasefire.

Support for the ceasefire varied depending on party affiliation, with 75% of Democats and 66% of independents supporting it while 50% of Republicans do.

When it comes to providing military aid to Israel, 40% of Californians said that aid should decrease; a quarter said the U.S. should maintain existing levels while 9% favor more and the rest are unsure.

Just over a quarter (26%) said that the U.S. should send more humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, while 23% support holding steady, 20% want the U.S. to send less and 30% are unsure.