Pollsters and campaign consultants trying to discern California’s true bellwether for political proclivities may want to look no further than Ventura.
In last November’s election, the city of 108,000 was one of five where voters matched the preferences of California as a whole for all 19 statewide contests – president, U.S. Senate, and 17 ballot measures, according to the California Secretary of State’s recently released supplement to the statement of vote.
Moreover, Ventura’s vote totals differed from the statewide numbers by less than 1.4 percentage points per statewide contest on average.
In the campaign for Proposition 53, which sought to require a public vote on revenue bonds of $2 billion or more, 50.8 percent of Ventura voters voted no, just 0.2 percentage points more than the 50.6 percent overall no vote. For Proposition 55, which extended higher income taxes on wealthy filers, 63.6 percent of Ventura voters backed it, slightly above the initiative’s 63.3 percent approval statewide.
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7.85 Cities’ average percentage point disparity from California tally of 19 statewide contests.
The largest disparity came in the race for president, where 58.3 percent of Ventura voters supported Democrat Hillary Clinton. Clinton carried California with 61.7 percent of the vote, 3.4 percentage points more. About 34.6 percent of city voters preferred Republican Donald Trump, roughly 3 percentage points above his statewide total.
Pleasanton, Monrovia, Martinez and La Mesa were also 19-for-19 on the November ballot measures, with 16 other cities 18-for-19 and 43 cities 17-for-19.
Besides Ventura, the cities with vote percentages most in line with statewide tallies were Monrovia, Gilroy, La Mesa and West Sacramento.
For a microcosm of non-California, on the other hand, head to Taft. Voters in the Kern County city of 9,500 duplicated the statewide outcome on just seven contests. And when it came to total percentage point disparity, voters in Berkeley strayed a whopping 448.4 percentage points from the 19 statewide tallies.