After State Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) announced he would challenge Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D), the Capitol Weekly newspaper published a September Sextant Strategies poll that tested the now unfolding Senate race. The survey was unusual in that the pollsters used Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox as a “stand-in” GOP Senate candidate. Therefore, such a move could dramatically change the polling results. The poll was conducted during unidentified dates in September, but uses healthy sample sizes: 1,554 general election interviews, and 1,197 for the all-candidate primary.
Sen. Feinstein does not fare as well as one might guess. Her favorability rating is only 49:43% among general election voters. On the primary ballot test, she would lead 40-32-14%, over Cox and de Leon, respectively. This is where including non-candidate Cox likely skews the result. In a proposed Feinstein-de Leon general election pairing, Sen. Feinstein’s lead is 36-17%, with 28% (largely Republicans) who say they would vote for neither.
More polling is needed before we can develop an accurate picture of the California Senate situation, but these preliminary numbers do reveal some weakness for Sen. Feinstein.
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