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Essential Politics: New national tracking poll still shows Democrats poised to take the House

Essential Politics: New national tracking poll still shows Democrats poised to take the House
Essential Politics (LAT)

Whether it’s a wave or just a steady flow of voter sentiment, a new national tracking poll continues to forecast a rising tide for Democrats in their quest to reclaim control of the House.

USC/L.A. TIMES POLL: 55%-42% FOR DEMOCRATS

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The survey is the first of three weekly tracking polls of voter sentiment that USC and The Times plan to release between now and election day.

It’s not hard to find what’s driving much of that sentiment: strong feelings about President Trump. The desire to vote against him runs especially strong among female voters, particularly college-educated white women and minority women. That’s created new battlegrounds in suburban districts that once reliably voted Republican, from Orange County to northern New Jersey.

A slight majority of likely female voters in the USC/L.A. Times poll, 51%, said they saw their vote as an expression of opposition to Trump, compared with 24% who said it would express support for Trump and 25% who said neither. Men divided almost evenly on that question, with 38% in opposition, 36% in support and 26% saying neither.

DECISION CALIFORNIA

-- Republican Reps. Mimi Walters and Steve Knight are staunch allies of the president. But only Walters is getting hit on it in Democratic attack ads. Elsewhere, most are largely avoiding the topic of the president in a surge of television advertising in the final weeks of California's most competitive campaigns.

-- Billionaire Tom Steyer is spending tens of millions of dollars this year trying to reach a group of voters that Democrats need to take back the House but so far has proven to be an unreliable voting bloc: young people.

-- With a quartet of California congressmen by his side, Trump on Friday directed federal agencies to speed up their environmental review of major water projects in the state and develop plans to change regulations that hamper water deliveries.

-- Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox toured Los Angeles’ skid row last week, home to a large homeless population, and likened the area to a "third-world country.”

-- The $40-million campaign for one of California’s traditional sleepy races, superintendent of public instruction, is a proxy war over the future of the state’s charter schools.

NATIONAL LIGHTNING ROUND

-- National security advisor John Bolton faces two days of high-tension talks in Moscow beginning Monday after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty.

-- Democrats have yet to win a House majority and San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s return as speaker is by no means certain, but already she has one eye on the exits. “I see myself as a transitional figure,” Pelosi said in an interview with The Times.

-- With the departure of Nikki Haley, Trump says he hopes to select a new U.N. ambassador "very quickly."

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-- Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, the only independent governor in the country, said he could not win a three-way race and that voters deserve a choice other than Republican Mike Dunleavy.

TOUGH SLEDDING FOR GAS TAX REPEAL, RENT CONTROL EXPANSION

California’s most talked-about statewide ballot measures this fall share something else in common, too: They both are in danger of being rejected by voters.

The latest USC/Los Angeles Times poll shows skepticism about the effort to repeal the state’s new gas tax, Proposition 6, and the effort to remove existing limits on rent control, Proposition 10.

The rent control proposal, meanwhile, the poll found 41% of likely voters favor Proposition 10 with 38% opposed and 21% undecided.

California’s housing woes are at the heart of the rent control measure as well as several major laws enacted over the past year in Sacramento. But while researchers and politicians alike agree that the fundamental issue is a lack of homes, the poll found the public doesn’t believe it.

Just 13% of eligible California voters believe that too little home building is a primary contributor to the state’s affordability issues. The answer ranked sixth among eight options offered in the poll; lack of rent control topped the list with 28%.

TODAY’S ESSENTIALS

-- Only hours remain before the official deadline to register to vote in California.

-- Strained by staffing shortages and major emergencies, the L.A. County Fire Department busted its overtime plan by tens of millions of dollars, inflating salaries for hundreds of firefighters and prompting a county audit.

-- Despite objections from cities and police chiefs, state officials on Friday declined to stop marijuana firms from making home deliveries across California, including in areas that have banned pot shops.

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-- A federal appeals court appeared skeptical Friday about blocking the Trump administration from giving exemptions to nonprofit groups and others from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate.

-- A California official who enforced the state’s liquor laws in Koreatown schemed with a businessman to shake down karaoke bar owners as part of a brazen ploy that went on for years, federal prosecutors alleged Friday.

-- In Orange County, 24 Vietnamese Americans are running for office. Thirteen share the same last name.

LOGISTICS

Essential Politics is published Monday and Friday.

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