USC poll shows Mayor Robert Garcia with high favorability for U.S. Senate appointment

A new poll from the University of Southern California showed Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has high favorability when it comes to a potential U.S. Senate appointment.

The poll of 1,155 voters was released Thursday but conducted the week before Tuesday’s election. It asked California voters about a range of political issues, including who should be appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate should Joe Biden win the presidency and Sen. Kamala Harris vacate her Senate seat to become vice president.

When asked who voters would prefer to be appointed to the Senate, 52% of voters said they didn’t know. Bay Area Congresswoman Barbara Lee led those receiving votes with 11% and Garcia polled at 6%.

However, when candidates were posed to voters with a short biographical description next to their names, Garcia received the highest amount of support from those polled with 57% favoring his appointment. Congresswoman Karen Bass, who was considered for the vice president nomination, and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla both followed with 53%.

Those polled overwhelmingly said they wanted a new fresh face and new voice in politics (76%) while experience in Washington, D.C. (29%) and Sacramento (23%) were not considered requirements by respondents. Nearly half of respondents said they preferred an appointment of someone who was not affiliated with either capital.

Only 31% of respondents said they wanted Newsom to pick the state’s first Latino senator and just 24% said they wanted the governor to pick the state’s first LGBT senator.

“A majority of voters don’t care if Governor Newsom makes a ‘historic first’ choice,” the poll concluded.

The margin of error for the poll, conducted by researchers at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, was 3%.

Garcia declined to answer questions last week over whether he was in contention for a potential Senate appointment if one were to open up. Instead, he said he was focusing his energy on getting Biden and Harris elected to the White House, something that appears to be more likely as national polls continue to show Biden closing in on an electoral college victory.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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