In a just released poll on the race for state superintendent of public instruction in California, Marshall Tuck has a substantial lead over Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond.
Tuck is preferred by likely voters over Thurmond by a 48 percent to 36 percent margin, according to the online poll conducted by Berkeley IGS Poll. The poll was conducted online from Oct. 19 to Oct. 26 in English and Spanish among 1,339 likely voters. Sixteen percent of respondents said they were undecided, or don’t plan to vote in next Tuesday’s election.
A KFI-NBC poll conducted a week earlier, showed the race as being much tighter, and within the margin of error. In the poll of 1068 likely voters conducted via landline by the consulting firm Thomas Parker Strategies, Tuck got the support of 37.2 percent of voters, compared to Thurmond’s 34.8 percent, with 28 percent undecided.
According to the Berkeley IGS poll, Thurmond, who is endorsed by the Democratic Party, is preferred by many more Democrats — 54 percent — than Tuck. But Tuck also is getting a substantial share of support — 35 percent — from Democratic likely voters. Tuck is also preferred overwhelmingly by Republicans, in part perhaps because his opponent has been endorsed by the Democratic Party, as well as by teachers unions. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans say they will vote for Tuck, compared to only 14 percent for Thurmond.
Among independent voters, who now exceed the number of Republican voters in the state, Tuck also has more support than Thurmond — 5o percent saying they will vote for Tuck, and 30 percent for Thurmond. The race has been characterized by massive spending, with over $50 million in combined contributions to outside independent expenditure committees and direct contributions to each candidate’s campaign.
Tuck outpaced Thurmond by a more than 2-to-1 margin in money backing his campaign, as of contributions reported by Oct. 28. By far the majority of Tuck’s support has come from outside expenditure committees — over $28 million, mostly made up of contributions from billionaires and other high wealth individuals backing charter schools.
Thurmond has received over $12 million in support from outside committees, mainly from teachers unions and other labor organizations.
Independent expenditure committees are required to conduct their activities without consulting with the candidates or any of their campaign workers.
In addition to this amount, $5.5 million was spent independently for ads and campaign mailers for Thurmond and Tuck by individuals and organizations not contributing money to a formal independent expenditure committee.
For the Berkeley IGS poll, voters were randomly selected from the state voter rolls by Political Data, Inc. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.