A record number of Californians plan to vote in the 2018 gubernatorial election, and while half of those voters remain undecided, strong support for reproductive rights will be essential to their eventual choice, according to a survey of 2,313 California voters conducted by Change Research on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice California.
The survey found that support for women’s rights and reproductive freedom play an important role in 80% of Californians’ electoral decisions, with women ranking them as one of the the three most important issues affecting their vote in the gubernatorial and other elections. With 50% of voters indicating they are still undecided nine months before the Nov. 6 election, taking a strong stance in support of protecting and advancing reproductive rights will be key for candidates looking to win over undecided voters, especially women.
The survey showed that 84% of Californians support access to abortion care. This number includes a majority of voters who voted for Donald Trump in 2016, showing broad, bipartisan support for reproductive rights. The poll finds that similar numbers of voters believe the Supreme Court should uphold a California law designed to ensure women have access to accurate reproductive health information when the case is heard this spring.
I. CALIFORNIA IS OVERWHELMINGLY PRO-CHOICE
The vast majority of Californians, 84%, support keeping abortion legal and accessible. This includes a majority of Trump voters — 56% — and a full 97% of Clinton voters. This support also crosses gender lines: nearly 80% of men join the almost 90% of women who support abortion access.
II. HALF OF VOTERS ARE UNDECIDED ON CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR
With under five months until the gubernatorial primary, 50% of voters are still undecided. However, voters show a clear preference for a candidate with the strongest record on reproductive freedom. Women were especially likely to differentiate between candidates with strong records on reproductive rights and those who merely paid lip service on the issue. choosing a hypothetical candidate with the strongest record more often than all other candidates combined. Thus, while the large pool of undecided voters means that the race is still up in the air, those who demonstrate a strong commitment to reproductive rights are best positioned to advance to the general election in November.
III. WOMEN STAND OUT FOR SUPPORT FOR ABORTION RIGHTS
Eighty percent of those surveyed said that women’s rights and reproductive rights are important to how they vote — including 90% of women. Women list reproductive rights and women’s rights among their 3 most important issues, more important than jobs & the economy.
IV. VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT A CALIFORNIA LAW CURRENTLY BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on the constitutionality of California’s Reproductive FACT Act, strong majorities of voters across the political spectrum think the Court should uphold it. 82% of all voters, and two-thirds of Trump voters, want the Court to uphold the law, which requires all pregnancy-related counseling centers, including fake health clinics, to post a notice informing patients that the state offers public programs that provide family planning, prenatal care, and abortions.
V. THERE ARE RECORD LEVELS OF POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT AMONG CALIFORNIA VOTERS, ESPECIALLY ON THE LEFT
Following a year that featured the Women’s March, anti-Travel Ban protests, and high turnout in elections across the country, Californians reported unusually high levels of political engagement, especially on the political left. Five in 6 California voters reported online political engagement, and a similar number said they’d recently signed a petition. 37% have attended a march, rally or speech in the past few years — including 50% of those who voted for Hillary Clinton. Clinton voters were also especially likely to have volunteered for or donated to a campaign: 53% reported participating in these activities in the past few years, versus 36% of California Trump voters.
VI. ABOUT THIS POLL
Change Research This poll was conducted January 12-15 by Change Research. 3,472 adult residents of California were reached online. These individuals were reached using Change Research’s patent pending Bias Correct™ technology, which targets potential respondents based on factors like ethnicity, age, and geolocation to obtain a representative sample. Of these 3,472 people, 2,563 completed the survey. Those who lived outside of California or were not registered to vote were disqualified, leaving a sample of 2,313 registered California voters.
The poll was administered online and was made available to mobile and desktop users. Respondents could complete the survey at any time of day, at their own pace or in multiple sittings. Post stratification was administered on age, gender, ethnicity, education, and self-reported 2016 presidential vote.
The margin of error (MOE), as traditionally calculated, is 2%, indicating that there is a 95% chance that the actual state of the electorate is within two percentage points of our results. Change Research believes MOE is overemphasized in polling. The MOE simply grows or shrinks based on the sample size. However, many polls suffer from sampling errors and other forms of error, which cause discrepancies far outside the MOE. The emphasis on MOE can lead the public to believe it is the most important, or even the only, source of error. We believe that our Bias Correct™ technology, as well as our weighting algorithms, minimize other sources of error, but we want to help the public understand that they do exist — and in many cases play more of a role than the traditional MOE statistic.
VII. ABOUT CHANGE RESEARCH
Change Research provides fast, affordable and accurate technology-based polling to forward-thinking campaigns and causes.
Change Research Delivers Accuracy
Change Research’s large online samples have delivered consistently accurate results. Change Research has released public polls in nine races this year, in Montana, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and Alabama. In six of the nine races (Alabama Senate runoff, South Carolina special Congressional election, Montana special Congressional election, Virginia Republican gubernatorial primary, Virginia Attorney General race, Virginia Lieutenant Governor race), Change Research was the closest (or tied for closest) public poll.
Change Research Change Research Brings a Fresh Data Science Approach to Public Opinion Polling
The Change Research team is led by expert data scientists who built brand name technology companies like LinkedIn, PayPal and Intuit, and campaign professionals who ran national campaigns. Patent-pending Bias Correct technology yields much larger sample sizes with polls that accurately reflect the demographics of the population. Change Research polls are fast and affordable because of automated outreach, weighting and tabulation, delivering accurate polls within days for 80 to 90% less than traditional public opinion polls.
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