Key California Democrats Feel More Upbeat Post-Convention Than Republicans

What did influential California Democrats and Republicans have to say about their party convention? Find out the results of our Patch survey of influential party members.

California's influential Democrats came away from their national convention feeling significantly more optimistic that Barack Obama will win a second term than Republicans felt post-convention about GOP candidate Mitt Romney disrupting those plans.

Patch recently surveyed key members of both major parties to gauge their responses to their own party's convention — and that of their opponents.

Of 72 influential Democrats who received the survey, 25 responded with their thoughts on President Obama's chances of reelection. The California Republicans surveyed had a higher response rate: 41 out of 87 responded to our survey.

Overall, about 80 percent of the Democrats felt more optimistic about Obama's prospects after the party convention, while about 49 percent of Republicans felt better about Romney's chances.

About 10 percent of Republicans said they felt less confident in their candidate after the convention while 42 percent of Republicans said the convention did not change their opinions about Romney's chances in November.

No California Democrat surveyed said he or she felt less confident in Obama's chances after the convention.

But representatives from both parties are not all that confident that their party's convention festivities will heavily influence the outcome of the November presidential election.

Speeches by Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama were the highlights of the convention for many of the Democrats who responded to our survey.

"Two words. Bill Clinton," one of the Democrats said.

Another wrote: "Michelle Obama's speech illustrating the deep, personal connection that the President and his family have to the struggles of average Americans." 

Several Republicans who responded to our survey agreed, pointing to speeches by Clinton and the first lady as presentations that Democrats did right at the convention.

"They chose Bill Clinton, silver-tongued devil, to do his thing," wrote one Republican. "Bubba can deliver the goods."

On the other hand, Republicans had mixed reviews of Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican National Convention. While some said it was the highlight of the convention, others said it was a little more embarrassing.

"I think the empty chair is a visual of an AWOL President which will stick with us throughout the campaign thanks to the ramblings of Clint Eastwood," one Republican wrote.

"Unfortunately, Eastwood," was one Republican's response to our question about a misstep at the Republican National Convention. "He became the talk instead of Romney. But the talk of his performance probably drew millions of people to his speech, who otherwise would not have listened to negative comments about Obama."

Some Democrats agreed with Republicans that Clint Eastwood's speech was a miscalculation.

"The Eastwood dialogue with the empty chair was an interesting bit of performance art but far too abstract and rambling for such an event and it has become a meme for the GOP itself," wrote one Democrat. "Strange, out of touch and defying common sense."

The majority of the key Democrats who responded to our survey could not name a highlight of the RNC. Some mentioned speeches by Condoleezza Rice and Ann Romney, and others said Hurricane Isaac and an economic bump for Tampa.

Many Republicans who responded to our survey said the biggest missteps of the Democratic National Convention were the votes to exclude the word "God" and recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel from the party platform.

How much will the conventions affect the outcome of the November election?

Influential Republicans told Patch that both conventions will not weigh heavily on the outcome of the election. Five percent said it would be a big effect and 34 percent said the conventions will have somewhat of an effect, while 54 percent said it would not have much of an effect and 7 percent said the conventions would have no effect at all.

Democrats responded similarly. Sixteen percent said the conventions will have a big effect on the election's outcome and 48 percent said it would have somewhat of an effect, while 32 percent said it would not have much of an effect and 4 percent said the conventions would have no effect at all.

Did the candidates make a strong case for why they should be elected?

Most of the Republicans and Democrats surveyed said their party's candidate made a good case for why he should be elected president in November. Of the Republicans surveyed, about 44 percent said they strongly agreed that Romney made a convincing case for his election. Forty-eight percent of the Democrats said they strongly agreed that the president made a strong case for his re-election.

Patch’s Red and Blue California Surveys

Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in California. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this latest set of questions.

Patch will be conducting Red California and Blue California surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in California. Below are rosters of the California party members who have agreed to take our surveys. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in these surveys that last just a few minutes, please email Sandra.Oshiro@Patch.com

Red California Survey roster: Richard Adams (Studio City Neighborhood Council safety chief); Gary Aminoff (San Fernando Valley Republicans president); Bob Angel (voter); Michael Antonovich (Los Angeles County supervisor); Steve Baric (California Republican Party vice chair); Tony Beall (Rancho Santa Margarita City Council member); Nick Biddle (activist); Susan Blau (Studio City political activist); Galina Bondar (former chief of staff); Dion Bracco (Gilroy Council member, mayoral candidate); Carl Brickey (Cosumnes Republican Assembly president); Daniel M. Brown (San Francisco GOP Central Committee member); Sue Caro (County GOP chairwoman); Scott Carpenter (Orange County political blogger); Jenny Cartell (Birth Choice anti-abortion ministry executive director); Tamara Colbert (Tea Party member); John Colbert (former Republican candidate for Congress); Dylan Conroy (Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council representative); Irene DeBlasio (Republican activist); Steve Detrick (Elk Grove City Council member); Ben DiBenedetto (Studio City Neighborhood Council board member); Jane Diehl (Redondo Beach school board member); Chip Dykes (Oceanside City Council candidate); Laura Emdee (Redondo Beach school board member); Peter Fleming (Realtor); Heidi Gallegos (Rowland Unified School District Board member); Andrew Gayner (Carmichael Patch blogger); Mike Gin (Redondo Beach mayor); Debbie Giordana (City Council member); Gil Gonzalez (State Senate candidate); Bonnie Gore (Roseville City Council candidate); Ty Greaves (Berryessa Milpitas Republican Assembly president); David Hall (Mt. San Antonio College Board trustee); Kevin Hangman (RCC president); Greg Higley (Elk Grove mayoral candidate); Patrick Johnson (assistant campaign treasurer); Ernest Koeppen (La Canada Flintridge resident); Becky Kolberg (Contra Costa GOP chair); Bob Kowell (Murrieta-Temecula Republican Assembly president); Greg Krikorian (State Assembly candidate); Randon Lane (Murrieta City Councilman); Jim Light (balanced-growth advocate); Patrice Lynes (activist); Morgan Martinez (former governor aide); Larry Masuoka (San Juan Unified School District Board member); Brad McGirr (Rancho Santa Margarita planning commissioner); Gina McNelley (Capistrano Valley Republican Women Federated member); Bridget Melson (East Bay Tea Party chair); Mark Meuser (State Senate candidate); Nathan Mintz (former State Assembly candidate); Larry Molton (California GOP member); Nina Mourning (Carmichael Republican); Roger Niello (Sacramento County Chamber of Commerce president); Chris Orrock (Elk Grove Republicans Club head); Barbara Ortega (former State Assembly candidate); Gayle Pacheco (Republican Women Federated member); Chris Pareja (congressional candidate); Aaron Park (Placer County Republican Assembly president); Al Phillips (State Assembly candidate); Mary Piepho (Contra Costa County supervisor); Pam Pinkston (Carmichael Tea Party leader); Mark Pruner (Yolo County Republican Party president); Al Restivo (Former La Canada Republicans Club president); Matt Rexroad (Yolo County supervisor); Pauline Roccucci (Roseville Mayor); Elizabeth Sanford (political consultant); Bill Saracino (State Assembly District 43rd chair); Sophia Scherman (Elk Grove City Council member); Scott Schmidt (Former LA Chapter Log Cabin Republicans president); Howard Schmidt (chief of staff for Sacramento County supervisor); Nick Shih (activist); Suzanne St. John (activist); Jay Stern (State Assembly candidate); Mary Su (Walnut mayor); Gino Sund (Altadena Town Council member); Oksana Svityashchuk (campaign public relations); Jim Tapscot (Ramona TEA'D group member); Peter Tateishi (State Assembly candidate); Brad Torgan (LA Chapter Log Cabin Republicans president); Phillip Tufi (former State Assembly candidate); Valentina Vasilchuk (campaign media officer); Steve Vaus (city budget review committee member); Bob Walters (former San Juan Unified School Board member); Gary Walton (business owner); Kevin Waterson (college administrator); John Webb (businessman).

Blue California roster:  Peter Arellano (Gilroy council member); Anita Avrick (Redondo Beach school board member); Michael Barber (San Mateo supervisor's aide); Kathy Bisbee (CMAP executive director); Gary Bienner (former supervisor candidate); Reginald Bronner (former State Assembly candidate); Jennifer Browning (campaign volunteer); David Burruto (San Mateo County Democratic Party chair); Ralph Carhart (Fair Oaks recreation and parks district board member); Nancy Chaires (Elk Grove planning commissioner); Jay Chen (congressional candidate); Norman Chramoff (Democratic Party member); Ken Cooley (State Assembly candidate); Joice Corridori (Agoura political activist); Payne Domingo (Gilroy school board trustee); James Donnelly (Democratic Club president); John Duran (West Hollywood councilman); Pablo Espinoza (media director); Lucas Frerichs (Davis city councilman); Michelle Garcia (party member); Gary Giacomo (Democratic Club member); Joanne Gifford (DNC delegate); Armando Gomez (Milpitas councilman); Marsha Grilli (school board member); Alan Haskvitz (teacher); Don Helverson (teacher); Lindsey Horvath (city council member); Howard Hwang (party member); Juliana Inman (city council member); Louise Jaffe (college trustee); Sarah Johnson (community activist); Jessie Kallman (Democratic Club executive director); Michael Kapp (political activist); Ro Khanna (former Obama administration official); Kris Kingdon (former chamber executive director); Karen Knecht (Democratic Club member); Jeff Kravitz (attorney); Keith LaMar (activist); Kristina Lawson (city council member); Dotty LeMieux (Democratic Central Committee of Marin first vice-chair); Todd Loewenstein (school board member); Mary Ann Mancuso (party member); Jennifer Mason Wolfe (teacher); Richard M. Mathews (LACDP vice-chair, Region 1); Gary Miller (county party central committee member); Vince Monroy (communications director); Katrina Morales (activist); Harry Munns (harbor commissioner); Mark Nielsen (former mayor); Don Nottoli (supervisor); Marc Perkel (church founder); Jeffrey Prang (mayor); Diana Prola (school board member); Kish Rajan (city council member); Linda Rubin (party member); Ilona Saari (author); Tony Santos (former mayor); Tim Sbranti (mayor); Jane Schafer-Kramer (labor union activist); Bob Schelen (county party chair); Darren Suen (former city council candidate); Joe Terry (talk show host); Robin Torello (Democrat Club chairwoman); James Tsai (party member); Cat Tucker (Gilroy mayor pro tempore); Mark van Gorder (supervisor candidate); Ron Varasteh (congressional candidate); Jill Wain Meniatis (Democratic Club member); John Walker (neighborhood council president); Lee Walkup (party member); Shelia Young (former mayor); Laurence Zakson (convention delegate)

Eric September 29, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Nonoise, are you still caught up with the idea of "welfare queens" that Reagan essential made-up in the 70's?? I'm the first to say that this is far from a perfect system, and I would agree that many people receiving government benefits really do not need them, but these are criminals that are committing fraud and shouldn't be lumped in with the poor. Accurate figures are hard to come by, but if you look at unskewed statistics, less than 2% of people on welfare are committing fraud. The majority of fraud in the welfare system comes from the vendors themselves. It makes me sad when people like you blame the poor for their situation. Do you think you could support yourself in a minimum wage job without benefits? Many welfare recipients work multiple jobs and still struggle to make ends meet. The ridiculous anecdote that you've provided is just that. Ridiculous!! Do you honestly regularly witness people using their EBT card to buy liquor and cigarettes at Food4Less stores and then walk out to their brand new car while talking on their cell phone? Let me guess, you've read about it, right? Welfare programs are successful. President Johnson's "war on poverty" reduced poverty to 12%, down from around 23%. The level of poverty hovered around 11% for the next 2 decades until Reagan cut the budget for welfare programs and the poverty level rose to around 15%. To say that only a few people receiving welfare benefits actually need them is simply ignorant.
nonoise September 29, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Eric, I hate to lump those criminals in with the really poor people. I know there are many people that are the working poor and just plain need help. I have great respect for them. But spend anytime shopping at Food4Less and you will see what I am talking about. I only see welfare programs being successful when they are educating those that need them about family issues (not having too many kids they can not afford), food education, and job education. There are some success stories to be proud of. But then there are many that just want a "freebie". Hang out at Food4Less on a Friday or Saturday night. You will see what I am talking about.
nonoise September 29, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Helping the poor does not just mean giving a freebie. True help also comes with education, with a few exceptions like the disabled.
The MOG September 30, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Let me say, back when Radio Shack was a wooden corner store on a dirt lot, and cola was 15 cents, a Hostess Fruit Pie 25 cents, my mother would give me a dollar food stamp to spend every week...but you don't measure compassion by how many people are dependent on Gov. for their food! You measure compassion by how many people are empowered with jobs so they have the dignity to sustain themselves. The majority of funding for welfare doesn't go to the truly needy. It goes for administrative jobs, overhead, worker retirement packages, etc. I'd ask you to consider that Social Security suppliments the Middle Class Life-Style of fortunate ones, who will get back far more than they contribute, rather than provide a decent standard of living for an eldery widow, or orphaned child. We want a society that fosters a society that favors & rewards hard work (Something the Pres. knows nothing about btw) rather than the conditions of economic dependency. Economic freedom is the requiste for personal liberty. The Right to pursue ownership, engage in business, & to keep your earnings for your own purposes, not Government. Gov. is created for the people, not the other way around. I've got my eye on Food4Less ( I see the Food, where's the 4Less?) if what nonoise says is true, it's illegal & a violation of land use, which HHPNC has input. Just like when they wanted to sell booze all hours. No way Jose. Not gonna happen!
Alex Daniels October 22, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Obama is over...thank GOD!!!


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