Kevin de León made small gains with likely voters in California’s U.S. Senate race but still trails incumbent Dianne Feinstein by a hefty margin.
The Public Policy Institute of California’s poll reported that a fifth of likely voters have no intention of weighing in on the Democrat-on-Democrat race. Nearly half of Republicans and a quarter of independents said they won’t vote.
Feinstein won the support of 46 percent in the PPIC poll, almost double de León’s 24 percent. Feinstein led among all ethnic groups and in all regions of the state — by more than 20 points in San Francisco and Los Angeles. De León, however, had a slight edge among Republicans who said they intended to vote for one of the Democrats.
Bill Carrick, Feinstein’s longtime campaign consultant, called it a tough vote for Republicans. Exit polls from the 2016 U.S. Senate race between Democrats Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez showed 35 percent of GOP voters laid off the race. Carrick said the overall results are encouraging for the veteran senator.
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“I think her strengths are readily apparent,” Carrick said. “We’ve seen a lot of polls and an actual election. It’s demonstrated that she’s in very strong shape.”
The results of the poll, conducted July 8-17, showed some movement for de León’s campaign against Feinstein, a 26-year incumbent and clear favorite among primary voters. De León has climbed 7 points since the institute’s last poll in May, in which voters were asked to choose between the two candidates. And most of the likely voters surveyed in the current poll responded before the California Democratic Party endorsed de León in the race, snubbing Feinstein.
His campaign took a swipe at Feinstein.
“After spending $10 million in the primary — including $8 million of her own wealth — it’s clear Senator Feinstein’s desperate efforts to buy this election just aren’t moving the needle for her,” said Jonathan Underland, a spokesman for de León.
Feinstein has gained 5 points since the May PPIC poll and climbed 2 points over her showing in the primary.