Loretta Sanchez+Kamala Harris

Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana), left, and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. (AP)

Phil Willon
March 28, 2016

California’s U.S. Senate campaign appears stuck in a political stasis, with nearly a third of voters still undecided about who to support in a race lost in the shadow of the nation’s presidential contest, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

Support for Democratic state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, the current frontrunner, has not budged from the level of support she registered shortly after entering into the race a year ago, despite spending nearly $4 million on her campaign.

Harris’ top Democratic rival, U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana), has shown small gains since the fall in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley. But she has not gained enough support to solidify the overall second-place finish in the June primary needed to advance the November general election.

The results were not any rosier for two of the top Republicans in the race, Tom Del Beccaro and George “Duf” Sundheim, whose showings are in the single digits. Del Beccaro and Sundheim are Bay Area attorneys and former chairmen of the California Republican Party.

The survey found Harris leading Sanchez 28% to 19% among registered voters, followed by Del Beccaro with 8% and Sundheim with 6%.

Among likely voters in the June primary — those with a solid track record of casting ballots — Harris was a notch higher, hitting 30%. That compares to 15% for Sanchez, 10% for Del Beccaro and 8% for Sundheim.

Republican Ron Unz, who championed a 1998 initiative to end bilingual education in California, jumped into the Senate campaign last week and was not included in the poll.

“I think what is most striking about the Senate race is that it hasn’t changed since September,” said Anna Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic polling firm that conducted the poll with the Republican firm American Viewpoint.

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