Field Poll

Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
ccadelago@sacbee.com
April 8, 2016 – 1:00 PM

  • 48 percent of likely voters don’t have a candidate in mind
  • Harris, Sanchez continue to hold down top two positions
  • Pollster describes ‘extremely quiet’ contest

Californians have the rare opportunity to vote for a new U.S. senator in two months – but nearly half of likely voters still haven’t settled on a candidate, according to the latest Field Poll.

Some 48 percent remain undecided or don’t prefer any of the five best-known candidates appearing on the June 7 presidential primary ballot. That large bloc has budged little since January, when it stood at 45 percent, and last May, at 61 percent.

“For a U.S. Senate race it has been extremely quiet,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll. “It seems like we’re sleepwalking to Election Day.”

Among the decided voters, Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris leads Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Orange, 27 percent to 14 percent.

The wide-open race to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer features a massive 35-candidate field, including 12 Republicans, eight Democrats, 11 others who decline to provide a party preference and four affiliated with other parties.

Only about one in four voters is able to provide a favorable or unfavorable rating for the three best-known Republicans in the poll – former state Republican Party chairmen Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim, and businessman Ron Unz.

Overall, Unz has 5 percent support, with Del Beccaro at 4 percent and Sundheim at 2 percent.

Field asked the undecided voters whether they are likely to back a Republican or Democrat in the primary, and nearly twice as many are inclined to vote for a Republican (29 percent) as a Democrat (16 percent).

“Early deciders appear to be heavily Democratic,” DiCamillo said. “Republicans are just not tuned in yet.”

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