On Wednesday, the Vanguard analyzed the 4th Assembly District Race and concluded that Bill Dodd had a sizable advantages in terms of both money and breadth of support that put 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.
Finally, Joe Krovoza’s $250,000 cash on hand precludes us from ruling him out as a wild card. He lacks the enormous war chest of the Bill Dodd campaign or the immense elected official and special interest support of the Dan Wolk campaign.
It was his campaign that did the recent survey of likely primary voters. The Krovoza campaign hired Global Strategy Group, a public affairs firm, to do the voter survey.
The campaign shared a memo from Jonathan Brown dated April 3, 2014. They write, “Between March 13 and 14, 2014, Global Strategy Group conducted a live telephone survey of 400 randomly selected registered voters in California’s 4th Assembly District who are likely to vote in the June 2014 statewide primary election. The estimation error associated with a sample of this size is 4.9%. Note that special care was taken to ensure the geographic and demographic divisions of the actual electorate are properly represented.”
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 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.”
They also point 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 they lack the funding to make this a real race.
The Dodd campaign did note one inaccuracy in our analysis. We had noted that Bill Dodd had no endorsements in Yolo County, and that turned out to be dated and inaccurate.
Mr. Dodd has been endorsed by Yolo County Supervisor Duane Chamberlain, as well as Winters City Councilmember Wade Cowan and former Mayor Michael Martin. Mr. Dodd has endorsements from all six counties of District 4.
While we appreciate the additional information, we believe that, as of right now, our analysis largely holds. But the Krovoza campaign makes three very critical points that need to be noted. First, that no candidate is known by 20% of the voters is important in understanding that this race is likely to be far more fluid than our analysis on Wednesday would suggest.
Second, more than half the voters remain undecided. And third is that Bill Dodd is a strange frontrunner, in that there are going to be Democrats unwilling to support him because of his past and Republicans unwilling to support him because of his present.
In the end, this campaign still really has not launched We will have to see how the money by Dodd and Krovoza play against the potential for independent expenditures on behalf of Dan Wolk.
—David M. Greenwald reporting