Capitol Alert

Poll suggests tighter Senate race between Harris and Sanchez

U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez chats with activists in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia.
U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez chats with activists in the lobby of the Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia.

The U.S. Senate race between Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez may be closer than previously believed.

A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California Wednesday shows likely voters favor Harris by seven percentage points, 32 percent to 25 percent.

Confused? You’re likely not the only one.

Late Tuesday, The Field Poll/Institute for Governmental Studies survey found Harris leading Sanchez, 42 percent to 20 percent. The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, conducted online Sept. 1-8 by SurveyMonkey, had Harris ahead by 14 points.

Unlike Field, PPIC did not offer the candidates’ job titles to poll respondents. Harris is the state attorney general and Sanchez is a congresswoman from Orange County.

Mark Baldassare, the president and chief executive of PPIC, said he doesn’t think including the candidates’ titles would have made a difference. He pointed to PPIC’s July poll, which was done the same way, where Harris led Sanchez by 18 points, 38 percent to 20 percent.

It was a pretty quiet summer for the race, particularly in TV news. Harris won the endorsement of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Sanchez spent time trying to close the fundraising deficit while working to bring aboard disaffected Republicans. She’s stepped up her broadsides against Harris in recent days.

But little has occurred that would cause either candidate to significantly grow, or shrink, their vote share.

Concluded Baldassare: “I am at a loss to explain what happened in that race that would have made it closer or further apart between now and July.”

California Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Kamala Harris, speaking to California delegates in Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 27, 2016, said that the Democratic National Convention is about reaffirming commitment.

Campaigning in Whittier on Saturday, June 4, 2016, Loretta Sanchez brushes aside fellow Democrat Kamala Harris as too liberal and says California needs a senator from the Southland.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago