California turnout could reach record low
By Felicia Sonmez
The California gubernatorial race is one of today's most closely-watched contests -- at least, outside of California.
According to a Field Poll estimate, only 33 percent of registered California voters are expected to turn out for today's gubernatorial primaries. If that number holds, it would be even lower than the state's previous all-time low of 34 percent in the 2006 gubernatorial primary.
Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R) and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner (R) have spent more than a combined $100 million on the race, flooding the airwaves with TV ads.
But the lack of a competitive Democratic primary is likely keeping many voters at home: state Attorney General Gov. Jerry Brown (D), the former governor seeking to make a comeback, faces only nominal primary opposition. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), who will likely face former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (R) in the fall, does not face a big-name challenger, either.
Another contributing factor is the increase in voters who are not registered in any political party. As of May 24, 20 percent of registered California voters declined to state their affiliation, compared with 15 percent of voters in 2002. Decline-to-state voters can participate in party primaries if they specifically request to do so, but it would appear that not too many do.
The high number of undecideds in the race could also work to depress turnout. In the latest Field poll, as many as 20 percent of voters said they were undecided; historically, many of those late-deciders decide not to cast a vote at all.
June 8, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Election , 44 The Obama Presidency
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