An Emerson College Polling/Inside California Politics survey of the California Senate Election finds a quarter of voters (25%) support Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, while 18% support former Los Angeles Dodger, Republican Steve Garvey, 13% support Democratic Representative Katie Porter, 8% support Democratic Representative Barbara Lee. Just under a quarter (24%) of voters remain undecided. Since the Emerson/Inside California Politics November poll, Schiff’s support has grown nine points, from 16% to 25%, Garvey increased eight points from 10% to 18%, Porter’s support remained the same at 13%, and Barbara Lee has lost a percentage point, from 9% to 8%.

“Thirty-eight percent of California Democrats support Schiff, while 41% of Republicans support Garvey,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, said. “Independents are split evenly between the two candidates, with 21% apiece. Seventeen percent of Democrats support Porter, along with 15% of independents.”

  • Forty-six percent of young voters under 30 are undecided. Eleven percent of whom support Schiff, 10% Porter, 10% Lee, and 7% Garvey. Among voters in their 30s, 29% are undecided, 20% support Schiff, 15% Porter, 14% Garvey, and 11% Lee. Among voters in their 40s, 22% support Schiff, 14% Garvey, 11% Lee, and 8% Porter. Of those in their 50s, 33% support Schiff, 28% Garvey, 16% Porter, and 9% Lee. Among those in their 60s, 29% support Schiff, 26% Garvey, 13% Porter, and 7% Lee. Of those over 70, 35% support Schiff, 24% Garvey, 14% Porter, and 6% Lee. 
  • Rep. Schiff’s support is highest among voters with postgraduate degrees, at 39%, 22% of this group support Porter, 12% Garvey, and 7% Lee. 

Voters were asked which candidate they trust to do the best job on a series of issues, regardless of which candidate they plan to vote for. On crime, 30% trust Schiff to do the best job, 22% Garvey, 18% Porter, and 13% Lee. On homelessness, 26% trust Schiff, 22% Garvey, 20% Porter, and 15% Lee. On abortion, 25% trust Porter most, 23% Schiff, 21% Garvey, 13% Lee. Regarding war in Israel and Gaza, 31% trust Schiff, 23% Garvey, 14% Porter, and 13% Lee. On immigration, 28% trust Schiff, 23% Garvey, 18% Porter, and 12% Lee. 

In the Republican Presidential Primary, 62% of voters support Donald Trump, 10% Nikki Haley, 6% Ron DeSantis, and 7% Vivek Ramaswamy, who dropped out of the race after the poll completed fielding. Fifteen percent are undecided. 

In the Democratic Presidential Primary, 72% support President Joe Biden as the party nominee, 5% support Marianne Williamson, and 3% support Dean Phillips. Thirteen percent are undecided. 

In a potential matchup between Trump and Biden, Biden leads 54% to 34%. Twelve percent are undecided. With third-party candidates Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, and Jill Stein added to the ballot, Biden leads 47% to 32%, 6% support Kennedy Jr., and 1% support West and Stein respectively. The share of undecided voters increases to 14%. 

Voters were asked if they support or oppose age limits for federal offices by the Constitution, similar to minimum age limits for Congress, the President, and the US Supreme Court. Seventy-one percent support age limits for federal offices, while 29% oppose age limits. 

Voters were asked if the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Sacramento are about as safe as other big cities, less safe, or more safe. Fifty-four percent of voters think Los Angeles is less safe than other big cities, 39% think it is about as safe, and 7% think it is more safe than other cities. Regarding San Francisco, 59% think it is less safe, 33% think it is about as safe, and 9% think it is more safe than other big cities. Regarding Sacramento, 49% think it is about as safe as other cities, 38% less safe than other cities, and 13% more safe. Voters are more optimistic about safety in San Diego: 51% think it is about as safe as other cities, 25% think it is more safe, and 25% think it is less safe than other big cities. 


The Emerson College Polling/Inside California Politics California poll was conducted January 11-14, 2024. The sample consisted of 1,087 registered voters, with a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error, of +/- 2.9 percentage points. The U.S. Senate Primary consisted of 964 likely voters, with a credibility interval of +/- 3.1 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, party, race, and education based on US Census parameters, and California voter registration and voter turnout data by regions (CA SOS). Data was collected by contacting a list of landlines and emails provided by Aristotle via Interactive Voice Response (IVR), along with an online panel of voters provided by Alchemer. 

It is important to remember that subsets based on demographics, such as gender, age, education, and race/ethnicity, carry with them higher credibility intervals, as the sample size is reduced. Survey results should be understood within the poll’s range of scores, and know that with a confidence interval of 95% a poll will fall outside the range of scores 1 in 20 times.

This survey was conducted by Emerson College Polling and sponsored by Nexstar Media. All questions asked in this survey with exact wording, along with full results and cross tabulations can be found under “Full Results.”