In the survey, scaling back government to spur the sluggish economy resonated more than further federal stimulus. A retooled and more nuanced Democratic message, which suggested that the rollback of corporate taxes, targeted spending cuts and investments in education would jump-start the economy, was received better. Even then, though, the Democrats' message lagged behind with only 43% support, compared with 45% for the Republican agenda.
Republicans voters as well are focused on the economy. Among the GOP faithful, 75% said they would prefer a 2012 presidential candidate who focuses on jobs and the economy, compared with 8% who wanted a national security focus and the 4% who saw social issues, such as abortion or same-sex marriage, as paramount.
By a 50%-to-37% ratio, Republicans said they would prefer a candidate who agreed with them on most issues, even if that might mean the nominee didn't stand as strong a chance of ousting Obama in 2012.
Despite the floundering economy, Obama remains a solidly popular figure in the Golden State, with a higher job approval rating (50%) than any other politician here. He scores far lower on specific issues, however. Voters give him poor grades on his handling of jobs (38% approval), taxes (37%), government spending (34%) and the federal deficit (32%).