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DECISION '98 | ELECTION '98 / Los Angeles Times
California exit poll

The Message Behind the Votes

November 04, 1998

The most important issue cited in both the governor's and U.S. senator's race was education. Gray Davis and Barbara Boxer, the Democratic candidates, were clearly the beneficiaries on this issue.

WHICH ISSUES WERE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU IN DECIDING HOW TO VOTE FOR GOVERNOR/U.S. SENATOR? (Two responses accepted)

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Governor U.S. Senator Davis Lungren Boxer Fong Voters Voters Voters Voters Taxes 22% 42% 23% 42% Education 56% 35% 45% 28% Crime/Assault weapons 21% 15% 20% 14% Illegal immigration 4% 15% 5% 12% Health care/HMOs 21% 8% 25% 9% Morality and family issues 6% 28% 5% 29% Race relations 5% 3% 4% 3% Environment/Offshore oil drilling 8% 1% 10% 1% Abortion 12% 13% 13% 13% The state budget 5% 7% 4% 6% The economy and jobs 13% 9% 13% 11% None of the above 6% 5% 9% 8%

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WHICH OF THESE THINGS HAD A MAJOR INFLUENCE ON YOUR VOTE FOR GOVERNOR? (Two responses accepted)

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Governor Davis Lungren Voters Voters My candidate is best qualified 56% 45% My candidate is in my political party 23% 21% Lungren is too conservative 20% 1% Davis is too liberal 2% 31% My candidate shares my moral values 16% 27% My candidate ran a more positive campaign 10% 6% Reaction to Clinton-Lewinsky scandal 6% 8% Republicans have held the governorship for too long 10% 1% I want to continue having a Republican governor -- 14% I want my party in office because of reapportionment 3% 4% Nothing in particular 4% 3%

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WHICH OF THESE THINGS HAD A MAJOR INFLUENCE ON YOUR VOTE FOR SENATOR? (Two responses accepted)

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U.S. Senator Boxer Fong Voters Voters My candidate is best qualified 57% 43% My candidate is in my political party 25% 20% Fong is too conservative 19% 1% Boxer is too liberal 1% 43% My candidate shares my moral values 19% 21% My candidate ran a more positive campaign 6% 10% Reaction to Clinton-Lewinsky scandal 7% 6% Boxer is a woman 6% 3% Fong is Asian 1% 4% Nothing in particular 6% 6%

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****

IN VOTING FOR CANDIDATES TODAY, WAS YOUR VOTE A PROTEST AGAINST THE REPUBLICANS FOR THEIR HANDLING OF THE CLINTON-LEWINSKY AFFAIR, OR A PROTEST AGAINST CLINTON, OR DID THE CLINTON CONTROVERSY NOT INFLUENCE YOUR VOTING ONE WAY OR THE OTHER?

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Governor U.S. Senator Davis Lungren Boxer Fong Voters Voters Voters Voters Protest against the Republicans 36% 2% 37% 3% Protest against Clinton 3% 39% 3% 35% No influence 61% 59% 60% 62%

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WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF...

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All Voters Democrats

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****

WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF...

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Independents Republicans

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WHICH RACES OR BALLOT INITIATIVES PARTICULARLY MOTIVATED YOU TO TURN OUT TO VOTE TODAY? (Two responses accepted)

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All Voters Democrats Governor's race 55% 61% U.S. Senate race 33% 32% Prop. 1A (School bond) 6% 7% Prop. 5 (Indian gaming) 19% 20% Prop. 8 (School class size reduction) 5% 7% Prop. 9 (Electric utilities) 3% 3% Prop. 10 (Tobacco surtax) 8% 6% Other races or initiatives 3% 3% Interested in everything on the ballot 16% 14% Nothing in particular 7% 6%

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****

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Independents Republicans Governor's race 50% 51% U.S. Senate race 32% 37% Prop. 1A (School bond) 7% 5% Prop. 5 (Indian gaming) 25% 17% Prop. 8 (School class size reduction) 4% 3% Prop. 9 (Electric utilities) 3% 3% Prop. 10 (Tobacco surtax) 8% 9% Other races or initiatives 2% 3% Interested in everything on the ballot 16% 17% Nothing in particular 8% 8%

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THINGS IN CALIFORNIA ARE GENERALLY:

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All Voters Democrats Going in the right direction 55% 75% Seriously off on the wrong track 30% 25%

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****

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Independents Republicans Going in the right direction 72% 66% Seriously off on the wrong track 28% 34%

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IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS, CALIFORNIA'S ECONOMY WILL:

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All Voters Democrats Get better 39% 44% Get worse 12% 10% Remain about the same 49% 46%

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****

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Independents Republicans Get better 36% 33% Get worse 14% 14% Remain about the same 50% 53%

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Source: Los Angeles Times exit poll conducted Tues.

Note: Numbers may add up to more than 100% where more than one response was accepted. "--" indicates less than 0.5%. All figures reflect preliminary exit poll results.

How the Poll Was Conducted

The Times Poll interviewed 3,693 voters as they left 60 polling places across California during voting hours. Precincts were chosen based on the pattern of turnout in past statewide elections. The survey was by confidential questionnaire. The margin of sampling error for percentages based on the entire sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points. For some subgroups the error margin may be somewhat higher. Because the survey does not include absentee voters or those who declined to participate when approached, actual returns and demographic estimates by the interviewers were used to adjust the sample slightly. Ballots were offered in English, Spanish and Chinese. Interviews at the precinct level were conducted by Davis Research, Calabasas.

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