Field Poll

Capitol Alert
By Christopher Cadelago
October 8, 2015

  • Poll shows general election voters could choose between two Democrats
  • It’s early: 34 percent of likely voters remain undecided

Two Democrats – state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez – hold the top two spots in the contest to replace U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, according to a new Field Poll.

The survey of likely voters has Harris ahead of Sanchez, 30 percent to 17 percent. Republican Rocky Chávez, an assemblyman from Oceanside, is in third place at 9 percent, followed by Tom Del Beccaro, 6 percent, and Duf Sundheim, 3 percent. Del Beccaro and Sundheim are former California GOP chairmen.

This early in the election, with more than 30 percent of voters still undecided, likely voter preferences remain highly partisan – “what you would expect at this point,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll. With Harris maintaining a strong lead, he said, the persistent question is “will it be Sanchez, or one of the Republicans?”

Under California’s election system, the top two candidates in the primary, regardless of their party affiliation, advance to the general election. While dozens of legislative and congressional races have featured two candidates from the same party in November runoff elections, it has not happened in a partisan statewide contest since the top-two law went into effect in 2012.

For Republicans to do well in the Senate race, DiCamillo said, they must coalesce around one candidate, as well as build a stronger constituency among voters with no party preference.

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