Poll: Karen Bass leads Rick Caruso in Los Angeles mayoral race

Rep. Karen Bass has built a double-digit lead in the Los Angeles mayoral race with just over two months to go until Election Day, solidifying her base among the city’s Democratic voters and eroding Rick Caruso’s margin in the San Fernando Valley, a new polls.

Since beat Caruso in the June primary by 7 points, Bass widened his advantage over the businessman to 43%-31%, with 24% undecided, according to a new poll from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental studies. co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

Bass consolidated support among Liberal and Democratic voters, picking up the lion’s share of those who opted for other candidates in the primary. She leads Caruso nearly 2 to 1 among former Councilmember supporters Kevin de Leonwho came third in the primary and won an overwhelming majority among supporters of Gina Violathe progressive activist came in fourth.

Bass also cut Caruso’s lead considerably appreciated in the valley, the only region of the city that the businessman won in the primaries. Valley accounted for 38% of the votes cast in the primary, and he won there by 7.5 percentage points. Now he has only gained 2 points, according to the poll.

Those numbers raise questions about whether the billionaire mall developer, who bombarded the airwaves in Los Angeles with millions of advertising dollars during the primary, can turn the clock back and make the race more competitive as the trickle between the two enters its final stage. .

“It’s not a done deal” because of Caruso’s vast resources, said Paul Mitchell, a political data expert who has followed the race closely.

“It’s a 12-point lead where you’re going to have a lot of spending, and Caruso is going to have an opportunity to try and run for voters again and also try to be more efficient than she is. is to turn on the voters who support him.

Nevertheless, Caruso is starting the fall campaign in a deep hole. While it’s unclear who is a likely voter so far in advance of the election, among voters whose poll responses indicate they are most likely to vote, Bass’s lead increases to 21 points – 53 %-32%, with 14% undecided.

Bass, a six-term congresswoman representing parts of the Westside and South Los Angeles, has several advantages for her — some of which her campaign generated, others that involve changes in the overall political environment.

Those advantages start with a much more favorable image among voters than Caruso’s.

About half of registered voters surveyed, 49%, said they had a favorable opinion of Bass, while 22% said they had an unfavorable opinion and 29% gave no opinion.

Caruso’s numbers are significantly worse. Thirty-five percent of respondents had a favorable impression of him, while 40% said they had an unfavorable opinion and 24% had no opinion.

“The favorable-unfavorable comparison between the two candidates is truly striking,” said Mark DiCamillo, who conducted the poll and has been polling California voters for decades.

Bass has built his popularity and considerable lead on the support of registered Democrats, people who identify as strongly liberal and black voters as well as liberal white voters. These groups make up the majority of voters in Los Angeles.

She leads Caruso by 40 points among registered Democrats, 30 among voters who describe themselves as somewhat liberal and nearly 70 points among those who identify as strongly liberal.

Caruso has had some success with moderates, an important part of the electorate among whom he has a nine-point lead. Among people who identify as strongly conservative, who make up a small portion of the city’s registered voters, he has a 50-point advantage.

Images of candidates are also polarized along partisan and ideological lines, according to the poll.

“His image among Democrats is extremely positive and his is extremely negative,” DiCamillo said. “It almost looks like a Democrat versus a Republican on the ballot, even though it technically isn’t.”

The poll found Bass and Caruso were essentially tied among Latino and Asian voters, with about 34% of the vote. Black voters favored Bass by more than 40 points and she was up among whites by 17 points.

In LA precincts with at least 80% Latino populations, Caruso won 34% of the primary vote and Bass 27%, according to a Times analysis. Turnout in those Latino-heavy neighborhoods analyzed by The Times was just 17% — well below the overall turnout of 30%.

This is the second poll in as many weeks to show Bass in a big way. A survey published by an outside group supporting the MP lifted her 11 percentage points among likely voters.

When asked what attributes they want in their next mayor, voters in Berkeley’s IGS poll leaned toward traits that more closely reflect Bass’s background than Caruso’s.

The poll found that 71% of voters said it was important to have someone progressive, 75% want a mayor with previous experience in elected office and 72% want someone with a history of defense of the right to abortion.

The only attribute that might favor Caruso is that 77% want a candidate who is tough on crime.

Voters were far less interested in whether the candidate had a business background, was a political outsider, or was a woman.

“If you look at those top four that were all 70% or higher, only one of them probably wouldn’t be associated with Bass as opposed to Caruso,” the USC political science professor said. Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro – crime being the exception.

In February, when The Times asked similar questions, respondents rated prior elected experience and progressive politics as the two most important attributes of a future mayor. In this poll, people who said previous experience was very important backed Bass by about a 40-point margin. Bass had similar advantages among people who said it was very important to have a progressive mayor and those who wanted a mayor with a long history of advocating for abortion rights.

Among voters who said it was very important to have a candidate who is tough on crime, Caruso leads 47% to 29%.

He made crime a major focus of his huge publicity blitz this spring – along with homelessness. But Bass seems to have been able to fix the problem so far.

In July, Caruso sharply attacked Bass for endorsing City Attorney nominee Faisal Gill, who ran in part on a promise to institute a 100-day moratorium on the prosecution of most new misdemeanor charges. . The deputy then revoked his endorsement of Gill.

Earlier in the campaign, she also approved more hiring at the Los Angeles Police Department.

While these stands angered some left-wing activiststhey don’t seem to have cost Bass many votes among the progressives, even if they blunted Caruso’s attacks.

Caruso’s commercials “were good at defining him in the primary season and getting him to where he got to, but I think it was more of a ceiling than I expected,” Hancock Alfaro said.

Bass has also benefited from “what has changed on the home front”, Hancock said – the renewed focus on women’s reproductive rights in the wake of the The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Bass’ campaign has repeatedly highlighted his longstanding support for abortion rights and Caruso’s stance on the issue. Journalist in a Los Angeles Magazine in 2007 profile paraphrased Caruso’s views on the subject, writing, “He says he opposes abortion in most cases but would support some stem cell research.”

Caruso’s campaign has decreases comment on this, but throughout the primary, the candidate said he would be a strong advocate for reproductive rights if elected. He also blasted the Supreme Court’s June ruling.

Bill Carrick, who previously advised mayoral candidate Jessica Lall and now work with Robert Luna in his campaign for Los Angeles County Sheriff, said Caruso’s former Republican affiliation was “the elephant in the room”.

Caruso needs to better explain why he’s a Democrat, Carrick said, and refine his explanation of why he switched parties.

Caruso flipped between Republican and no party preference several times before becoming a Democrat in January.

Still, Carrick, a longtime pundit on California politics, said Caruso will be an exuberant campaigner this fall who will spend big to get his message across.

“He is clearly planning an aggressive field operation and has obviously stepped up his retail campaign,” Carrick said.

The bass can also benefit from the recent failure on the part of Dist’s opponents. Atti. George Gascon to get a reminder on the ballot.

If the signature campaign had been successful, it could have been on the November ballot, although that is not a certainty. Had that been the case, it would likely have increased turnout among conservative voters who disapprove of Gascón and favor Caruso.

Recall supporters favored Caruso 57% to 24%, according to the poll. Caruso, a former LAPD commissioner, earlier this year said he supported the recallwhile Bass opposed it.

Had the recall been on the ballot, it would have posed a serious threat to Gascón. The poll found registered voters countywide would have favored recall by 41% to 20%, with the rest undecided. Citywide, the margin was slightly tighter, with 37% in favor of the recall, 23% opposed and the rest undecided.

The University of Berkeley Survey by the Institute of Government Studies was conducted August 9-15 among 4,538 registered voters in Los Angeles County. It included 1,746 City of Los Angeles voters, 1,212 of whom were considered likely voters. The estimated margin of error for the sample of registered voters is +/- 2.5 percentage points for the county sample and +/- 3 percentage points for the city.

Times editor Iris Lee contributed to this report.

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