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Central Valley congressional races provide rare opportunity to flip historically red districts

Central Valley voters in Congressional Districts 21 and 22 don’t know who is running for Congress, lack party loyalty, and plan to vote on June 7

Courage California partnered with Communities for a New California and Data for Social Good to conduct congressional polls of over 900 registered voters in the newly drawn congressional districts 21 and 22 in the Central Valley. 

The new congressional district 21 includes parts of Fresno and Tulare Counties, and a mix of the current congressional districts 16 (44%), 21 (15%), 22 (41%), and 23 (1%). Representative Jim Costa is running as the incumbent in the new district. 

The new congressional district 22 includes parts of Kern, Kings, and Tulare Counties, and a mix of the current congressional districts 21 (50%), 22 (10%), and 23 (40%). Representative David Valadao is running as the incumbent in the new district. 


More Central Valley voters identify as Democrats and liberals.

Official voter registration in both congressional districts is nearly identical: 44% (CD21) and 43% (CD22) Democrat, 26% Republican, 23% No Party Preference, 4% Independent, and <1% for each of the other parties. However, in our poll, voters were more likely to think of themselves as Independent than Republican or (only in CD22) Democrat, compared to registration. 

  • In CD21, 46% of voters think of themselves as Democrat, 18% as Republican, 18% as No Party Preference, 17% as Independent, and 2% as Other.
  • In CD22, 35% of voters think of themselves as Democrat, 21% as Republican, 22% as No Party Preference, 17% as Independent, and 5% as Other. 

For voters who do not think of themselves as Democrat or Republican, the majority (37% in CD21 and 46% in CD22) do not because they believe corporations have too much influence in the parties. Furthermore, most would only rejoin a party when there are no more advantages for the wealthy and corporations (35% in CD21 and 58% in CD22). 

The majority (40%) of CD21 voters who want to stay No Party Preference of Independent do so because it makes parties have to earn their vote, and the majority (52%) of CD22 voters do so because it allows them to choose the best Democrat or Republican. 

More voters identified their political views as “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal” in both congressional districts, as compared to “moderate,” “somewhat conservative,” and “very conservative.” 

  • In CD21, 36% describe themselves as very or somewhat liberal, 35% as moderate, and 29% as very or somewhat conservative.
  • In CD22, 42% describe themselves as very or somewhat liberal, 34% as moderate, and 23% as very or somewhat conservative. 

The majority of Central voters are planning to vote in the June 7 primary election, but are not paying attention to their congressional election.

At present, 74% of CD21 voters are planning on voting in the June 7 primary election, and 83% of CD22. 

Table 1: CD21 Voter Certainty on Voting in June 7 election, By Race

Absolutely CertainFairly CertainNeither Certain or UncertainProbably Won’t VoteWon’t Vote
Asian58%0%27%15%0%
Black51%25%18%0%5%
Latinx45%23%25%7%0%
White69%18%12%1%0%
ALL54%20%20%5%<1%

Table 2: CD22 Voter Certainty on Voting in June 7 election, By Race

Absolutely CertainFairly CertainNeither Certain or UncertainProbably Won’t VoteWon’t Vote
Black66%35%0%0%0%
Latinx65%17%14%2%2%
White68%19%11%2%1%
ALL63%20%14%2%1%

However, the majority of voters (61.3% in CD21 and 49.6% in CD22) are only paying attention to their congressional race a little or not at all. 

Many Central Valley voters do not know who their congressional representative is, and an overwhelming majority do not know who is running to be their future representative. 

In CD21, 61% of voters do not know who their congressional representative is and only 27% identify Representative David Valadao. Similarly, 66% do not know who is running to be their future representative, while 17% identified Representative Jim Costa, 11% Valadao, and 4% Rudy Salas. 

In CD22, 38% of voters do not know who their congressional representative is, 35% identify Devin Nunes, 27% identify Valadao, and 1% identify Lourin Hubbard. 71% do not know who is running to be their future representative, while 14% identified Valadao, 6% Eric Garcia, 5% Lourin Hubbard, and 4% Elizabeth Heng. 

Jobs and the economy is the top issue voters will consider for supporting a candidate, with housing and healthcare also of notable consideration. 

When asked to rank a set of issues, 51% of voters in both districts chose jobs and the economy in their two top choices, and the majority did so because there are few high paying jobs. 

In CD21, 51% of voters also ranked healthcare among their two two issues, and 38% chose housing. In CD22, 45% of voters ranked housing in their top two, and 43% healthcare. Housing costs (affordable homes and rent) were the primary reason for choosing housing, and voters who chose health believe healthcare should be a human right. 

The majority of Central Valley voters trust their own online research to get information about politics. 

The majority (50%) of voters in both congressional districts trust their own online research most in getting information about politics, followed by print/radio/TV/podcast (24%). 

Central Valley voters are split on favorability towards Governor Newsom. 

In CD21, 45% of voters have either a “strongly unfavorable” or “somewhat unfavorable” opinion of Governor Gavin Newsom, 41% have either a “strongly favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion, and 15% have no opinion. Latinx voters have more favorable opinions (44% favorable vs. 38% unfavorable), while Black voters have more unfavorable opinions of Newsom (39% favorable vs. 44% unfavorable). With the exception of Latinx voters, the highest percentage of voters across races have strongly unfavorable opinions of Newsom.

In CD22, 46% of voters have favorable opinions of Governor Newsom, 44% have unfavorable opinions, and 10% have no opinion. Latinx voters have more favorable opinions (52% favorable vs. 37% unfavorable), as do Black voters (50% favorable vs. 42% unfavorable). The majority of white voters (51%) have strongly unfavorable opinions of Newsom. 


About this poll

Data for Social Good conducted the poll with Courage California and Communities for a New California from February 25 – April 11, 2022. The poll was administered online and by phone in English and Spanish. We polled 572 registered voters in CD21 and 375 in CD22. The CD21 margin of error is +/- 3% and the CD22 is +/-4%. We will expand our congressional polls to Orange County and the Inland Empire for the general election.