The Times San Diego County Poll : Bush Leads Dukakis 53%-36% in Poll of City

Times Staff Writer

Demonstrating traditional Republican strength in San Diego, GOP presidential nominee George Bush is comfortably ahead of Democrat Michael Dukakis by a 3-to-2 margin in the city, a Los Angeles Times poll shows.

With less than three weeks remaining before the Nov. 8 election, the Times poll found that Bush leads Dukakis by a 53%-36% margin among likely voters in the city. Nine percent of those polled said they had not decided which candidate to support, and 2% expressed support for minor-party candidates.

Past voting patterns and voter registration figures suggest that Bush probably leads Dukakis countywide by an even wider margin than the 17% gap found between city voters.

No Democratic presidential candidate has carried the city of San Diego since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, an election in which Johnson narrowly lost countywide to Barry Goldwater while winning in a landslide nationally. The last Democrat to carry San Diego County was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944.


‘The Big L Word’

Over the last 10 presidential races, Republicans consistently have drawn a greater percentage of votes in the county than in the city, a trend partly attributable to voter registration differences between the city and the county. The Democrats hold a 2% registration edge in the city, 44.3% to 42.3%, while Republicans hold a 46.5%-39.7% registration advantage countywide.

“Those are encouraging numbers, but we’ve got to continue working hard,” said Tom Stickel, Bush’s local campaign chairman, of the latest poll. “In this campaign, we’ve heard about the Big L word--liberal--that Democrats don’t want to talk about. Then there was the Big T word--taxes. And now the word we’re hearing over and over again is the Big C--complacency. That’s what we’re fighting against continually, because we know that we can’t just win in San Diego. We have to win big.”

The Times poll is based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 15 of 593 registered voters in the city of San Diego, 425 of whom were probable voters. The poll’s margin of sampling error is plus or minus 6%.


Bush Attracts Older Voters

The poll showed Bush faring better among older voters than younger ones. Among probable voters over age 40, Bush led Dukakis 56% to 34%, while the Republican’s lead was 10% less, 50% to 38%, among younger voters. In both the above- and under-40 age groups, 9% of those polled were undecided.

Among “baby boomers” between the ages of 24 and 41, the race is a virtual dead heat, with Bush leading Dukakis by 45% to 43%.

Reflecting a national pattern, Bush draws stronger support locally among men than women, the poll revealed. Among men, Bush led Dukakis 56% to 35%, while Bush’s lead narrowed to a 51%-37% margin among women. Racial breakdowns in the poll were too small to draw conclusions.


This question was asked of likely voters in the city of San Diego:

If the November election for President were being held today, would you vote for Democrat Michael Dukakis, Republican George Bush, or do you lean more toward some other candidate?

Bush: 53%


Dukakis: 36%

Other: 2%

Don’t know: 9%

Source: Los Angeles Times Poll