U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris, left, points a finger toward fellow candidate Loretta Sanchez during a debate in Los Angeles on Oct. 5, 2016. Rick Loomis Los Angeles Times
U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris, left, points a finger toward fellow candidate Loretta Sanchez during a debate in Los Angeles on Oct. 5, 2016. Rick Loomis Los Angeles Times

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Capitol Alert

Poll: Kamala Harris far ahead of Loretta Sanchez for U.S. Senate

By Christopher Cadelago

ccadelago@sacbee.com

November 04, 2016 08:00 PM

California Attorney General Kamala Harris heads into Tuesday’s historic U.S. Senate election with a considerable lead over fellow Democrat Loretta Sanchez, whose plan to coalesce Republicans and Latinos behind her has not materialized, according to a new poll.

Harris is far out ahead of Rep. Sanchez, a 10-term congresswoman from Orange, 47 to 23 percent, among likely voters. Some 17 percent remain undecided, and another 13 percent volunteered that they plan to sit out the contest between two members of the same party. Among those who have already voted, 55 percent chose Harris, 26 percent backed Sanchez and 14 percent said neither.

“I would bet the ranch on Harris,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.

While Sanchez has touted herself as the business-friendly choice for disaffected voters, about one-third of Republicans and 12 percent of unaligned voters told pollsters they will not cast a ballot for either Sanchez or Harris.

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That means more Republicans are choosing not to vote at all than to support Sanchez (26 percent). The survey, released four days before voters head to the polls, also found Republicans don’t see much ideological difference between them.

“The big failure for Sanchez is she did not attract Republicans and Republican-leaners to her side,” DiCamillo said. “And that’s mainly because she didn’t differentiate herself from her opponent among Republican voters.”

 

Harris has never trailed since launching her bid in January 2015, with her share of the vote increasing seven percentage points since a May poll. She continues to hold advantages in all major regions of the state, and with voters in all age ranges and educational backgrounds.

Her lead among Latinos, 36 to 33 percent, has persisted over the last month amid a sustained effort from the early days of the campaign to appeal to the group. Harris has won major endorsements from Latino leaders and used her large financial advantage to run early TV ads in English and Spanish.

None of this bodes well for Sanchez, who took advantage of a splintered, 34-candidate field to win her spot in the fall runoff. Despite finishing far behind Harris in June, Sanchez’s campaign looked to the fall with hopes of winning over the larger and more diverse electorate.

Specifically, she planned to target Southern California voters, as well as Latinos, independents and Republicans.

The poll had Harris ahead in voter-rich Los Angeles (55 to 20 percent); along the South Coast (38 to 28 percent) and other parts of Southern California (39 to 24 percent).

In Harris’ native Bay Area, a region Sanchez has bemoaned for being the power-center of the state for too long, Harris has a massive 56-to-18 percent lead.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago