LOS ANGELES — Latino voters in California are leaning heavily toward Democratic candidates, but appear to be more supportive of Barbara Boxer than Jerry Brown, according to results from the USC College of Letters, Arts &Sciences/LosAngelesTimes Poll.
A bilingual survey of 400 Latino registered voters was conducted as a supplement to the main USC College/Los Angeles Times Poll.
In the Latino oversample, 44 percent of Latino registered voters said they would vote for Attorney General Brown if the election were held today, with another 6 percent leaning toward the Democratic candidate. Twenty-four percent of registered Latino voters said they support former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, with 5 percent leaning toward the Republican candidate.
Seventeen percent of Latino registered voters said they were still undecided about the governor's race.
A majority of registered Latino voters, 55 percent, said it was more important to have a governor who would work across party lines, compared to 35 percent who preferred a "single-minded" governor who would "fight for what he or she thinks is correct."
Latino likely voters were about evenly split on whether they wanted a governor with "experience in government" or a governor with "real life experience in business" -- 46 to 47 percent.
"If you look beneath the numbers, Latinos are open, as open as white voters, to having a businessperson in the governor's seat. Whitman could have made inroads, but the fact that she's not making inroads, at least not yet, is suggestive of heavy Democratic registration among Latinos and may indicate responses to her earlier stances on illegal immigrantion," said Manuel Pastor, USC College professor of American Studies and Ethnicity. "Still, Brown's large lead is susceptible. As the poll shows, a large number of Latino voters are still undecided."
In the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer leads Republican Carly Fiorina 66-19, including voters leaning toward a candidate, among all registered Latino voters surveyed . Boxer's lead is particularly large among foreign-born Latino voters: 81 percent of foreign-born Latino registered voters support Boxer, compared to 9 percent support for Fiorina, former Hewlett Packard CEO.
Just 31 percent of Latino registered voters surveyed could identify Fiorina. Seventy-five percent of Latino registered voters could identify Barbara Boxer.
The 400-person Latino oversample was conducted on behalf of the USC College/Los Angeles Times Poll by polling firm Latino Decisions. Forty percent of the interviews were conducted in Spanish, including 76 percent of interviews conducted with Latino registered voters who are foreign-born.
Latino voters comprise approximately 19 percent of registered voters in California.
About the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll: The USC College/Los Angeles Times Pollproject is a series of six statewide public opinion polls that began November 8, 2009, and will continue throughout California’s crucial 2010 elections for governor and U.S. Senate.
These polls are taken at regular intervals and are designed to survey California residents’ attitudes on a wide range of political, policy, social and cultural issues to better inform the public and to encourage discourse on key political and policy issues.
About USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences: USC College of Letters, Art & Sciencesis the university’s primary center for research and education in the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. The largest of USC’s 19 academic schools, USC College is composed of more than 30 academic departments and more than 20 Ph.D. programs, and is home to more than two dozen research centers and institutes.