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California Democrats ‘well-positioned’ in most swing House districts, poll shows

Denham gets hot at Harder during discussion of hate crimes

Jeff Denham and Josh Harder sat side by side at last as they spoke to The Modesto Bee’s editorial board Thursday in a long-awaited first debate.
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Jeff Denham and Josh Harder sat side by side at last as they spoke to The Modesto Bee’s editorial board Thursday in a long-awaited first debate.

A new poll has good news for Democratic Congressional challenger Josh Harder, who is running to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham, but bad news for fellow Democrat Andrew Janz, who is running against Republican Rep. Devin Nunes. 

 Pollsters at the University of California, Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies surveyed more than 5,000 likely voters in eight California congressional districts and found that Democrats were “well positioned to capture a number of GOP-held seats considered by neutral observers to be in play in this year’s congressional elections.” 

 In the 10th district, which covers Stanislaus County and part of San Joaquin County, Harder had the support of 50 percent, while Denham, R-Turlock, had 45 percent. 

In the 22nd district, which includes parts of Fresno and Sanger and Visialia, incumbent Nunes, R-Tulare, had the support of 53 percent, while Democratic challenger Janz had 45 percent. 

 In an analysis accompanying the survey results, Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said “the shadow of President Donald Trump looms large over voters in each district and appears to be a reason why a number of these historically Republican-leaning districts are in play.” 

Pollsters found a direct relationship between respondents’ support for congressional candidates and their like or dislike of Trump. In Denham’s district, for instance, 57 percent disapprove of Trump’s job performance and 43 percent approve. In Nunes’s district, by contrast, 56 percent approved and 44 percent disapproved. 

 The poll was conducted Sept. 16-23, and the margins of error are between plus or minus four percentage points and six points, depending on the district.

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