Garvey 22%, Porter 16%, Lee 9%

A new Emerson College Polling/Inside California Politics/The Hill survey finds Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff maintaining his lead in the U.S. Senate Primary, with 28%, followed by former professional baseball player and Republican Steve Garvey at 22%, and Democratic Rep. Katie Porter with 16%. Nine percent support Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee. Seventeen percent remain undecided. 
Since January, Schiff’s support has increased by three points, from 25% to 28%, Garvey’s support increased by four points, from 18% to 22%, and Porter’s support increased by three points, from 13% to 16%.

“Candidate support varies by age group,” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, noted. “Schiff’s support is highest among voters in their 60s, at 45%, and those over 70, with 39%, whereas Porter’s strength is among young voters, where she holds 23%. Notably, this group has the highest share of undecided voters at 28%. Garvey’s strength is also with older voters, with 33% support among voters over 70.”

  • Independent voters are split between Garvey (23%) and Schiff (22%).

The economy remains the top issue facing California voters (27%), followed by immigration (14%), housing affordability (14%), crime (11%), healthcare (9%), homelessness (8%), education (7%), threats to democracy (5%), and abortion (3%). CQ

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. 

  • Crime: 32% Schiff, 25% Garvey, 19% Porter, and 12% Lee. 
  • Homelessness: 29% Schiff, 26% Garvey, 20% Porter, and 13% Lee. 
  • War in Israel and Gaza: 33% Schiff, 25% Garvey, 14% Porter, and 12% Lee. 
  • Immigration: 32% Schiff, 27% Garvey, 17% Porter, and 11% Lee. 
  • Abortion: 26% Porter, 25% Schiff, 23% Garvey, and 11% Lee. 

Voters were asked how much they had heard, seen, or read about last week’s U.S. Senate debate, a lot, a little, or nothing. Among the 69% who have heard, seen, or read a lot or a little about the debate, a third (33%) think Schiff won the debate, 19% Porter, 18% Garvey, and 9% Lee. Twenty-one percent think no candidate won the debate. 

Half of California voters (50%) approve of the job President Biden is doing in office, while 41% disapprove. Governor Newsom holds a 49% job approval, while 40% disapprove.

In the likely general election between Biden and former President Donald Trump, 55% would support Biden, 33% Trump, while 12% are undecided. With third-party candidates added to the ballot test, Biden’s support decreased to 49%, Trump’s to 31%, while 8% instead supported Robert Kennedy Jr., and 1% supported Cornel West and Jill Stein respectively. 

In the March Republican Primary, 72% of GOP voters plan to vote for Trump, 20% for Haley, and 8% are undecided. In the Democratic Primary, 75% of voters support President Biden, 9% Dean Phillips, and 16% are undecided.


The Emerson College Polling/Inside California Politics/The Hill California poll was conducted February 16-18, 2024. The sample consisted of 1,000 registered voters, with a credibility interval, similar to a poll’s margin of error, of +/- 3 percentage points. The U.S. Senate Primary consisted of 935 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.”