As in other states, it is Clinton's fellow baby boomers who are most skeptical of him. Among voters 25 to 44, 32% said Clinton has sufficient honesty to be President, while a resounding 55% said he does not.
Baby-boomer doubts about Clinton also dominate the Democratic primary race. Clinton held a comfortable lead over Brown among senior citizens, runs evenly with him among voters 45-64 and only narrowly trails him among those 18-24. But voters from 25 to 44 prefer Brown over Clinton by a margin of more than 2 to 1.
In addition, the poll shows that Brown, who forged strong ties with blacks and Latinos during his two terms as governor, holds substantial leads in both groups--which have favored Clinton so far.
For Brown--who was crushed in a Senate race against Republican Pete Wilson when he last sought elected office in 1982--the survey indicates that his iconoclastic presidential bid has substantially refurbished his image in his home state. Last December, just 29% of California voters viewed Brown favorably, while 40% had an unfavorable opinion of him.
Now, though, 50% of all California voters view Brown favorably, with 41% holding a negative view of him. Among Democrats, the ratio is 67% favorable to just 27% unfavorable--up from December when local Democrats gave him a 45%-24% positive score. "Brown has been rejuvenated as far as California Democrats are concerned," said Brennan.
Despite Brown's strong showing, the poll offers clear indications that the Democratic primary race could remain volatile. One-third of Democratic voters--slightly more for Clinton and slightly less for Brown--say they could change their vote before June 2.
How the Poll Was Conducted
The Times Poll interviewed 1,395 California registered voters--619 registered Democrats and 526 registered Republicans--by telephone April 23-26. Telephone numbers were chosen from a list of all exchanges in the state. Random-digit dialing techniques were used to ensure that listed and non-listed numbers had an opportunity to be contacted. Interviewing was conducted in either English or Spanish. Results were weighted slightly to conform with census figures for sex, race, age, education, household size and county size. The margin of sampling error for percentages based on the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points; for the samples of registered Democrats and Republicans the error margin is plus or minus 5 points. For certain other subgroups, the error margin is somewhat higher. Poll results can also be affected by factors such as question wording and the order in which questions are presented.
A Tight 3-Way Race in California
Ross Perot and President Bush would run extremely close if the presidential race were held today, a Times Poll shoes. Meanwhile, former California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. holds a comfortable lead over Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton among Democrats.
If the November general election were being held today, and the candidates were Bill Clinton, George Bush and Ross Perot, for whom would you vote?
Don't know: 8%
Someone else: 1%
Which candidate can do the best job bringing the changes America needs?
Don't know: 10%
Someone else: 5%
If the June 2 Democratic primary were held today and the candidates were Jerry Brown and Bill Clinton, for whom would you vote? (asked of registered Democrats only)
Don't know: 8%
Someone else: 4%
If the Republican primary were held today and the candidates were George Bush and Pat Buchanan, for whom would you vote? (asked of registered Republicans only)
Don't know: 5%
Someone else: 5%
Source: Los Angeles Times Poll, taken April 23-26. Poll conducted among 1,395 registered voters across California, including 619 registered Democrats and 526 registered Republicans. Margin of error plus or minus 3 percentage points for the top two questions; plus or minus 5 percentage points for the bottom two.