This morning’s newspapers announced that the latest statewide poll showed that I was now in first place among Republicans in the California U.S. Senate race, despite having jumped into the race on the absolutely last day for filing.
Given that my own support in the poll was merely 5%, placing me over 40 points behind “Undecided,” I think this situation is more a reflection of the current weakness of the once-mighty California Republican Party than the vast strength of own candidacy.
Meanwhile, I’ll be participating in a U.S. Senate Candidate forum in Stockton this afternoon, then taking a red-eye flight for a possibly heated Sunday afternoon debate at Harvard University on our Free Harvard/Fair Harvard Overseer campaign, at which I’ll probably receive some very tough questioning regarding my stated opposition to “Affirmative Action.”
Field Poll: Near Majority of Voters in California’s U.S. Senate race favor—nobody
Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News, April 9, 2016
If June’s open primary election to fill Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat were held today, the winner — in a landslide of indifference — would be Undecided and None of the Above, according to a new Field Poll.
Attorney General Kamala Harris maintains a solid lead among the top candidates, but nearly a majority of California voters still have no preference less than two months before June’s primary.
This is the second time a senate race in California has deployed the open primary system — in which the two top vote-getters square off in November’s general election, regardless of party — and far from emboldening downtrodden Republican voters, it seems to have left them scratching their heads.
Most Californians aren’t even aware that a Senate race is going on,” said Jack Pitney, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. “The presidential race is eclipsing everything else. Plus it’s not a case where Republicans have a really strong shot at winning in November.”
Taken together, combined support for the two Democrats leading in the poll — Harris (27 percent) and U.S. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (14 percent) — amounts to 41 percent, still 7 percent shy of the voters who have no preference or are undecided. The numbers have hardly budged since January.
The nonpartisan Field Poll was conducted from March 24 to April 3, among 633 respondents representing a likely cross-section of voters. Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, was so aghast at the level of lassitude revealed by the poll he didn’t even mention Harris or Sanchez in the headline of his news release.
California race for US Senate still under voters’ radar
John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, April 9, 2016:
A pair of Democrats, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Orange Country Rep. Loretta Sanchez, hold a commanding lead over a trio of Republicans in what so far is a barely visible contest to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Harris’ 27 percent tops the race, with Sanchez at 14 percent and Ron Unz, Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim all mired in mid- to low single digits. But all those numbers are dwarfed by the 48 percent of likely voters who remain undecided, two months before the June 7 primary.“It’s amazing,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. “No one seems to be paying attention.”
The din from the fight-to-the-death national presidential campaigns, which is only going to get louder as the state’s primary nears, may be drowning out the candidates in the California contest, even though they’re running for the state’s first open Senate seat in 24 years.
With so many voters yet to make a choice, it’s virtually impossible to glean too much from the poll, DiCamillo said.
“When voters aren’t paying attention, it’s a crapshoot,” he added.
While Harris looks like a good bet to finish in the top two and move on to the November general election, it’s a lot harder to determine who will share that ballot with her, DiCamillo said.
While Sanchez has strong support among Latino voters, she trails Harris — but leads all the Republicans — with almost every other demographic group in every part of the state, including both men and women and all but the youngest group of voters, where she’s tied with the attorney general.
There’s been almost no movement in the race. In October, Harris was at 30 percent, three points higher than in the new poll. Likewise, Sanchez also has fallen three points since October.
On the Republican side, it’s Unz, who jumped into the race less than a month ago, leading at 5 percent, with Del Beccaro dropping from 6 percent in October to 4 percent now and Sundheim falling a single point to 2 percent in that same period.
About the only bright spot for the GOP candidates is that nearly two-thirds of the undecided voters are Republicans, which history shows are likely to support a fellow party member in June, DiCamillo said. If GOP voters can coalesce around a single Republican, it could dramatically change the landscape of the Senate race.