Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Can John McCain carry California? Consult a new poll later today

May 23, 2008 |  8:08 am

John McCain has been offering springtime promises that a Republican presidential ticket headed by him can make California -- and its huge cache of 55 electoral votes -- competitive in November.

Such pledges by previous GOP standard-bearers have proved patently false in recent elections. But might McCain -- with his maverick persona, Western roots and potential appeal to Latinos -- be the exception to the rule?

A new L.A. Times/KTLA poll tested the proposition in McCain matchups with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And in at least one of the scenarios, the results may surprise many folks.

We aren't at liberty to reveal the exact results yet; for that, check out our homepage ( about 5 p.m. EDT today (2 p.m. PDT).

Some perspective...

The last Republican to win the state in a White House race was George H.W. Bush in 1988; he defeated Michael Dukakis, 51%-48%.

Bill Clinton won it in 1992 with 46%; Bush got 33% and Ross Perot 21%. Clinton triumphed handily again in 1996, with 51% of the vote to Bob Dole's 38%.

In 2000, Al Gore beat George W. Bush, 53%-42%. And four years ago, John Kerry kept the state securely in the Democratic column, getting 54% of the vote to Bush's 44%.

The odds, clearly, should be against McCain.

-- Don Frederick