Campus poll finds most CA Biden supporters are motivated by dislike for Trump

Donald Trump
Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons
California voters are less white and more metropolitan than they used to be, which generally correlates to being opposed to Trump, according to UC Berkeley professor Gabriel Lenz. (Photo by Gage Skidmore under CC BY 2.0)

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Two-thirds of likely California voters say they will support former vice president Joe Biden in the coming election, according to a recent poll released by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, or IGS.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 9 through 15 to assess registered voters’ preferences on presidential candidates along with other policy stances. Most California voters who indicated their support for Biden claimed their primary motivation was dislike for current President Donald Trump, according to an IGS press release.

“His job performance rating is very low, historically low,” said IGS Director Mark DiCamillo. “He has never been popular in California — 70% of Californians have said they disapproved of the job he is doing.”

The poll asked Biden’s supporters to choose an adjective that would best describe their reaction if he won, most of whom said they would feel “relieved,” rather than “excited.”

DiCamillo added that the upcoming election is centered around the incumbent president, Trump, more than most other presidential elections.

“The presidency of Trump should stimulate large voter turnout of infrequent voters like young voters,” DiCamillo said. “If the election were held today, Biden would carry the Electoral College.”

California voters are less white and more metropolitan than they used to be, which generally correlates to being opposed to Trump, according to UC Berkeley professor of political science Gabriel Lenz. He added that the relative urban population in a given geographic area is one of the “strongest indicators” for voting against Trump.

Eric Schickler, IGS co-director, said Trump’s strategy has been to appeal to a highly conservative base of supporters, which includes evangelicals and white voters without college educations. He added that this strategy “does not work” in California.

According to Lenz, Trump is often appealing to less-educated voters because he makes arguments that sound “superficially good.”

The poll found that in the coming election 78% of Californians plan on voting by mail, although 41% of Californians said they are concerned the U.S. Postal Service will not be able to safely deliver their mail-in ballots on time.

DiCamillo also said in the press release that only 50% of California’s Trump supporters indicated they would vote by mail-in ballots due to their “greater distrust” of the postal service, compared to 90% of Biden supporters.

Additionally, the poll found that 82% of Californians expressed concern that many Americans will not “respect the outcome” of the upcoming presidential election. This feeling is shared among Biden and Trump supporters, DiCamillo said in the press release.

“Part of the reason to do polling, in general, is it gives a check on the quality of democracy,” Lenz said. “We want to make sure that our elections are honest. Polls predict elections quite well.”

 

Contact Eric Rogers and Kelly Suth at [email protected].