Poll: Republican in statistical tie with Schiff in California senate race



(The Center Square) – Dodgers legend Steve Garvey holds a narrow lead over Representative Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, in the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California.

The March 1 poll from UC Berkeley has Garvey with the support of 27% of likely voters, with Schiff at 25% — technically a statistical tie.

“I’ve been on a 50 year journey with the people of California. They trust me and know I’ll fight every day for a California that’s more secure, compassionate, and affordable for us all,” Garvey said in a statement. “I’m honored to have their support.”

In California’s top-two primary system, the top two primary vote getters — regardless of party — advance to the general election.

According to reporting from the Washington Post, Schiff has poured $11.2 million into ads targeting Garvey, and not his Democratic opponents such as third-place contender Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, in an effort to ensure his general-election opponent is a Republican in the deep-blue state.

Campaign finance transparency database OpenSecrets, using data last updated in mid-February, notes Schiff accumulated the largest war chest, raising over $31 million across the 2023-2024 cycle, though Porter is not far behind at nearly $28 million. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, having raised almost $5 million, is a distant third in fundraising, with Garvey having raised just a hair over $2 million.

The California Secretary of State’s latest voter registration figures have Democrats at 10.3 million registered voters (47%), Republicans at 5.3 million (24%), 4.8 million no party preference voters (22%), and 1.6 voters registered with other parties (7%).

Given Democrats’ statewide advantage, should Garvey and Schiff advance to the general election, Schiff would likely have to spend far less than he would otherwise in a costly Democrat-on-Democrat race in the largest state in the country. Berkeley’s poll found that in a head-to-head race, Schiff earns the support of 58% of likely voters, compared to Garvey’s 38%.

In California, Republican presidential primaries are closed, meaning only registered Republicans can vote for Republican candidates in the presidential primary. This does not apply to other races outside of county party central committees — all other races are top-two races where all parties’ candidates compete against each other to advance to the general election.

On March 5, California voters will both select a candidate to fill out the remainder of Feinstein’s term, and for a full six-year Senate term. Voters will also decide whether or not to support Prop 1, a measure spearheaded by California governor Gavin Newsom to fund 11,150 new behavioral health beds, 26,700 outpatient treatment slots, and $1 billion of veterans’ housing, and would require counties to redirect 30% of their mental health funding to housing programs. A late amendment allowed Prop 1 funding, if passed, to be used on forcible treatment programs.

Including the cost of interest, the $6.4 billion bond for Prop 1 will cost $12.7 billion.

Berkeley’s polling found that this primary election’s voters are “unusually” old, conservative, and white. Because the proposition needs a majority of voters to vote “Yes” to pass, Berkeley believes this voter makeup means the bond has a chance at failing.

“While the poll finds supporters outnumbering opponents 50% to 34%, with 16% undecided, the fact that Yes side support stood at just 50 % one week before the election adds a measure of uncertainty to its outcome as, historically, most undecided voters in the late stages of a bond campaign tend to vote No,” the poll’s authors said.

According to the state’s nonpartisan, state-funded Legislative Analyst’s Office, the state faces a $73 billion budget deficit for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

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