California voters are split when asked if they are inclined to reelect President Obama, but when asked to choose between Obama and his two chief Republican rivals, voters in the deep-blue state support the president by double-digit margins, according to a new Field Poll released early Thursday.
The poll also shows that betweeen those two top Republicans, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the more formidable opponent against the president in the Golden State than the co-frontrunner for the GOP nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Forty-five percent of California voters say they are inclined to vote to reelect Obama, while 44 percent say they are not inclined to do so.
Obama's approval rating in the Golden State is 48 percent, according to the poll, with 44 percent of voters disapproving of his job performance. That is roughly equal to his 46-percent approval rating in the previous Field Poll, conducted in early September.
Voters' lukewarm feelings about Obama's reelection appear to stem from a deep pessimism about the future. Only 19 percent of Californians believe the country is headed in the right direction, while 70 percent believe it is on the wrong track. The current "wrong track" percentage rivals poll results from the final months of George W. Bush's presidency.
But when the president is matched up against the two men leading the Republican field, his prospects look considerably brighter. In California, Obama still leads Romney by ten points, 50 percent to 40 percent, roughly equal to his 13-point lead over Romney in the previous Field survey. Independent voters are split down the middle; 42 percent support Romney, and 41 percent choose Obama.
Gingrich, on the other hand, trails Obama by a margin twice as large, 55 percent to 35 percent. Obama wins a whopping 60 percent of independent voters, compared to just 25 percent for Gingrich.
Results released on Wednesday showed Romney and Gingrich leading the GOP pack in the state.
The Field Poll was conducted Nov. 15-27, surveying 1,000 registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent. Some questions, such as the head-to-head matchups, were asked of split samples and carry margins of error of around +/- 4.5 percent.