A new poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California shows Gov. Jerry Brown with a huge 19% advantage over GOP challenger Neel Kashkari in the 2012 gubernatorial race. The poll shows 52% of likely voters favor Brown in the November election, while 33% support Kashkari.
The partisan nature of the discrepancy is clear: 80% of Democrats support Brown, 70% of Republicans say they support Kashkari. The salient difference is among Independents; 52% of them favor Brown and 28% support Kashkari.
Kashkari may be well behind, but he may also be fighting for the future. Columnist George Will noted that Kashkari’s fate may be quite similar to Barry Goldwater’s, writing, “the Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate has an agenda and spirit similar to Goldwater’s. Neel Kashkari is not, as some careless commentary suggests, an anti-Goldwater, diluting the state party’s conservatism. He is Goldwater 2.0, defining conservatism half a century on.”
Will also mocked Tim Donnelly, Kashkari’s GOP primary opponent, as a ” factually challenged fire-breather (of illegal immigration, he said, ‘We are in a war.’)”
Will noted Kashkari’s statement, “Well, 100 percent of Californians know who Brown is, so 48 percent are looking for an alternative… If I get Jerry on a debate stage, anything can happen,” and concluded:
Goldwater lost 44 states but won the future. His conservative cadre captured the GOP, which won five of the next six and seven of the next 10 presidential elections. If California becomes a purple state, and Democrats can no longer assume its 20 percent of 270 electoral votes, Republicans nationwide will be indebted to the immigrants’ son who plucked up Goldwater’s banner of conservatism with a Western libertarian flavor.