Further Analysis: Wolk Campaign Responds to Vanguard Analysis

Wolk-Assembly-AnnounceOn Wednesday, the Vanguard analyzed the 4th Assembly District Race and concluded that Bill Dodd had a sizable advantage in terms of both money and breadth of support, which put him into the frontrunner class.  The Krovoza campaign responded by releasing their campaign memo.

The week started out with all three campaigns reluctant to disclose whether they had polled the electorate, but by the end of the week, all three have released their polling.

In many ways, the results from the Wolk and Krovoza are similar to one another, but different from the Bill Dodd polling, which shows Bill Dodd with a huge lead and Charlie Shaupp, one of the Republicans in the race running second.

The Wolk campaign’s memo reads, “The race for California’s 4th Assembly district starts as a wide-open affair, but Dan Wolk’s profile produces the strongest growth. In the initial vote before voters hear any information other than the candidates’ party and occupation, Republican Charlie Schaupp leads the field by winning Republican votes, while Bill Dodd, Dan Wolk and Joe Krovoza are competing to make the general election.”

The poll, conducted March 23-25 by Gerstein, Bocian, and Agne Strategies (GBA Strategies) by live dialers, reached voters on cell phones and landlines. The poll included 400 randomly selected likely voters, carrying a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

However, while the Krovoza memo profiles how Krovoza makes it to the final two, the Wolk polling firm, on April 10 writes, “Dan Wolk has the strongest profile of any candidate in the race and as we simulate a campaign, Wolk gains the most ground. The profiles were entirely positive statements of equal length based on the candidate’s official ballot statements.”


The key findings, conclude that “This is an undefined race with candidates who have low name recognition.” The analysis says, “The initial vote is based on minimal name identification, along with political party and job titles that will be on the ballot. Wolk leads in Yolo County, while Dodd leads in Napa. Schaupp pulls the lion’s share of Republican votes, while Wolk, Dodd and Krovoza split Democrats and unaffiliated voters.”

They argue that Dan Wolk’s “profile is clearly the strongest.”  They write, “After voters hear profiles on each candidate, Dan Wolk gains 7 points, while Dodd and Krovoza only gain 3. This puts Wolk into the general election with Schaupp.”

This is contrast to what the Krovoza poll found.

Their memo argues, “Joe Krovoza has strong credentials and affiliations that will impact voters.”  They write, “Krovoza’s career at  UC Davis – Mayor/University Director is his ballot designation – will be well received by voters.  The University is viewed favorably by four-in-five voters and half have a strongly favorable opinion of UC Davis.  Those ratings are even higher among non-Republicans (86% total favorable, 56% strongly favorable).  His endorsement by the Sierra Club is particularly helpful – the organization is viewed favorably by 63% of non-Republicans (by comparison, local labor unions are viewed favorably by 48% of non-Republicans).”

They argue that Joe Krovoza “is tied for second after profiles.”  They write, “After respondents heard positive profiles describing the three Democratic candidates, including key endorsements, Krovoza is tied for second place with Dan Wolk behind Bill Dodd.”

However other areas are similar.

Their synopsis reads, “Our recent survey of likely primary voters indicates the race in the 4th Assembly District is wide open with no candidate possessing much name recognition.   As a result, the vast majority of voters are undecided on the initial vote.  Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza has several advantages that leave him well placed to make the top two with adequate funding.”

They do point out several key findings.  First, no candidate is known by even one-fifth of the voters.  They write, “Of the entire field, no candidate had as many as 20% of primary voters who were sufficiently familiar with their names to offer a favorable or unfavorable opinion of them.  Only 15% of primary voters have a favorable opinion of Bill Dodd, but that was the highest in the field.”

More than half of the voters are undecided.  Democrats in the district are the most undecided (by a narrow margin).  “Overall, 56% of all voters are currently undecided in the 4th Assembly District race.  By party, 59% of Democrats are undecided, compared to 58% of Independents and 48% of Republicans.”

The Krovoza campaign also points out, as we did, the real downside of Bill Dodd’s campaign.  They write, “Dodd’s potential in this race is highly questionable because…  Bill Dodd is in political ‘No Man’s Land’ as a registered Democrat.”  They argue, “When non-Republicans hear about Dodd’s past as a longtime registered Republican and the sources of his funding for this campaign, better than four-in-five have doubts about voting for him.”

The Vanguard made this point as well, noting that Bill Dodd himself said that he is often not Democratic enough for Democrats but too Democratic for Republicans in rural areas, who will undoubtedly flock to the nominal Republicans even though for the most part that Republican lacks the funding to make this a real race.

However, we still hold with our initial analysis.

The Vanguard believes that Bill Dodd has a sizable advantages in terms of both money and breadth of support that puts him into the frontrunner class.

Dan Wolk’s strength rests with his broad base of support among elected officials in Yolo County but also his wide support from unions and the Democratic Party.  Playing against that advantage is the fact that Dan Wolk sits at a distant third with a mere $83,560.

Political observers across the campaign have told the Vanguard that they continue to be surprised that Dan Wolk does not have more money.  There seems to be an expectation that at some point there will be a surge, but to date that has not happened.

However, the long list of union supporters could translate either into independent expenditure campaigns or campaign workers.  For us that is the key wild card.  We have seen evidence that some of the political action committees for unions supporting Dan Wolk are about to activate.  If that happens, we get an interesting battle between the soft money of the unions and the hard money of Bill Dodd.

Given that this is a battle to get into November, how that will play out and how it will differ from 2008 will be interesting to monitor.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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        1. Barack Palin

          Two “quasi-republicans” as you put it are on top, are they not splitting the vote too?
          Even with that they BOTH still lead. Possibly the electorate is finally waking up after the Leland Yee, Calderon and Wright scandals.

          1. Davis Progressive

            look at the chart above, you’ll see my point if you choose to. The district overall has a strong democratic lean.

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