Poll: Republicans to be shut out of Senate general election

Kamala SanchezAttorney General Kamala Harris still leads a crowded field in the race to replace Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in Washington, with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, a fellow Democrat, in a relatively close second, according to a new Field Poll.

The state’s primary system pushes the top two candidates into the general election, regardless of party. As it stands now, Republicans will likely be out of the running after next Tuesday when voters submit their ballots.

If Republicans could coalesce around one candidate, they’d have a shot at one candidate making the November runoff. Republican candidates account for 20 percent of the vote among likely voters, with Sanchez, of Santa Ana, polling at 14 percent. 

However, the five highest-polling Republican candidates are between three and four percent a piece, with each having little incentive to drop out in favor of another. And none of the Republican candidates are well known and have raised little money to increase their name ID.  

“Republicans probably wish that someone could clear the field and unite the party behind one candidate,” said John J. Pitney, Jr., a Roy P. Crocker professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College. “But nobody has that power.” 

Harris leads with 30 percent, having the backing of the California Democratic Party. But a large percentage of respondents are undecided —  27 percent said they either hadn’t made up their minds or are not voting — meaning a lot can happen on Tuesday.

Top Two

The top-two system, approved by voters in 2010, theoretically favors more moderate candidates by removing partisan primaries.

While Sanchez is widely viewed as the more centrist candidate, as one of the few remaining members of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Democrat coalition, Harris has nearly double the support among those who have declined to state a party preference, 16 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

But neither Harris nor Sanchez are polling well with Republicans, five percent and four percent, respectively. It’s unclear which way voters would lean after June, once the field narrows.

“It’s always a fallacy to extrapolate from a primary to tell what’ll happen in the general,” said Democratic strategist Garry South, who is not working with any of the candidates.

Voters want a dealmaker 

Another poll from last week showed 69 percent of voters prefer someone who “is willing to make compromises to get legislature passed over one who holds true to their beliefs without compromise.”

Despite her liberal philosophy and voting record, Boxer long ago mastered the art of legislating. Even at a time when Congress is getting little done, she managed to broker a deal last year on a highway bill with her ideological opposite, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

Harris does not have legislative experience for voters to draw from. Sanchez has run heavily on her reputation as a dealmaker, having made Congressional Quarterly’s recent list of the 25 most influential women in Washington, for being a “debate shaper and swing vote.”

With her legislative abilities, Sanchez changed how sexual assaults in the military are reported and tracked, thereby increasing accountability and consistently helped secure federal funding for Orange County’s groundwater replenishment system which provides water to millions of residents.

Yet the polls show voters still turning to Harris in larger numbers. South attributed this to Harris’ statewide name recognition, compared to Sanchez’s limited reach to mainly within her congressional district.

“She is a representative of one of the 53 seats in California, nobody knows her in the other 52,” South said, adding that a Democrat on Democrat race in the general could change the dynamic. 


Arguably the two most well-known Republicans in the race are two former state party chairmen, Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim. Ron Unz, who ran for governor against fellow Republican Governor Pete Wilson and is an outspoken critic of bilingual education, seemed to raise his profile substantially during the two debates.

None of the three have raised enough money to compete though. Sundheim has raised $621,000, Del Beccaro has raised $365,000 and Unz has raised almost $52,000. All of that is nominal compared to Harris, who has raised almost $10 million, and Sanchez, who has raised $3.5 million.  

In a state with several expensive media markets and without any noteworthy amount of name ID, the financial shortcomings of the Republican candidates is holding them back.

“Nobody knows who any of them are and none have two nickles to rub together,” said South.

Particularly for a seat that’s rated “Safe Democrat” by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, Republican donors will largely look to spend money elsewhere on more competitive races. 

“Even if they could get a GOP candidate into the top two, that person would still lose the general election,” said Pitney. “The GOP leadership has to focus its very scarce resources on races it might win.”


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  1. bob
    bob 3 June, 2016, 18:32

    Heck, in many parts of Colliefornia (as Ahnode calls it) with the exception of POTUS there will be no one but Demonrats on the ballot for the general election.

    With Demonrats running everything in Colliefornia (or [email protected] near everything) what could possibly go wrong?

    Reply this comment
    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 3 June, 2016, 19:45

      Why do you ignore the facts of this subject? You know full well that the “fathers” of the open primary system in CA were Republicans Abel Maldonado and Arnold Swartzeneggar!

      Reply this comment
      • bob
        bob 4 June, 2016, 08:45

        “Republicans Abel Maldonado and Arnold Swartzeneggar!”

        You misspelled Republowclowns, HTH.

        SawHorse, where ya been, old girl?

        Which of these two Demonrats will you be voting for?

        I see you have driven Desmond out of the state with your attacks on him.

        But now who will pay for that pension of yours?

        Reply this comment
        • SeeSaw
          SeeSaw 4 June, 2016, 14:50

          I hate to misspell–I do refer to people by their proper names, however.

          I will be voting for one Democrat -Kamala Harris.

          I never attacked Desmond.

          Don’t worry about my pension–just be happy that you don’t pay for it.

          Reply this comment
          • bob
            bob 4 June, 2016, 18:40

            So who pays for your pension?

          • SeeSaw
            SeeSaw 4 June, 2016, 21:40

            My employer and I made contributions from the salary and benefits I received for serving the public for 41 years. CalPERS investments pay the rest. End of subject. I will not get in a debate with you over pensions.

          • Bill - San Jose
            Bill - San Jose 5 June, 2016, 08:52

            Pensions are a pyramid scheme. Always have been. No mas communism for government workers please.

          • bob
            bob 5 June, 2016, 22:28

            My employer and I made contributions from the salary and benefits I received…

            And who payed your employer?

          • SeeSaw
            SeeSaw 7 June, 2016, 09:44

            Bob, I wonder–did you go to school? Do you live out here in this society where products and services are the juice of life? The taxpayers paid my employer who in turn paid me because I worked and served the public! If you make a living providing a product or service where does the money come? The purchaser of course–just the same as every citizen needs government services–lots. For heaven sakes, grow up!

    • bob
      bob 7 June, 2016, 14:16

      The taxpayers paid my employer who in turn paid me…

      Oh, it’s the taxpayers who ultimately paid your pension.

      However, the taxpayers did not decide how much that would be. The politicians and bureaucrats did. And they promised more than taxpayers can afford.

      Just the same as every citizen needs government services–lots

      Yeah, right. Even if they don’t want to be serviced.

      Reply this comment
      • SeeSaw
        SeeSaw 7 June, 2016, 20:34

        Well, I must break it to you Bob–you need government services more than you need some of the other products and services you want. Why don’t you climb down off that high-horse and join humanity!

        Reply this comment
        • bob
          bob 8 June, 2016, 14:01

          And I’m sure you will force it down my throat. What I think or want makes no difference to people like you. People like you just know you know what’s best for everyone.

          Reply this comment
          • SeeSaw
            SeeSaw 9 June, 2016, 20:00

            Nobody has to tell me that I need food to eat. I don’t need to determine what is best for you if you need to drive your car somewhere–its just normal that it would be best that you do it on a road.

  2. Mike
    Mike 4 June, 2016, 09:01

    The point is how great things are under the Democrats. The state is at its high point. Hillary’s message should be, “make America California.” I look outside, see a rusty truck on blocks across the street, a little further down the street, Diego is changing his garage into an apartment, without permits, and his 15 year old daughter watches, pregnant, impaled by Leroy from across town.
    Diego’s wife has just arrived home, the SUV full of free cheese.

    Reply this comment
  3. Bill - San Jose
    Bill - San Jose 5 June, 2016, 08:49

    Ah, yes. Communism at its best.

    Reply this comment
    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 5 June, 2016, 19:39

      How ridiculous your thinking is! Pensions are earned during one’s working life. My former CM gets ten times more than I because he made a lot money than I did. Don’t think you can get “communism” out of that scenario! Pensions are not a pyramid scheme either–the funds are invested for returns–not just turned back over to the next contributors. Maybe you should try getting a life!

      Reply this comment
  4. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 5 June, 2016, 09:52

    Time to twist the demacratic donkeys tail realy realy hard

    Reply this comment
  5. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 5 June, 2016, 15:39

    Harris will make a fine Senator this time. It won’t be too long until Dianne Feinstein retires, which will open up a seat for Loretta. Great team for our state.

    Reply this comment
  6. Mike
    Mike 5 June, 2016, 17:50

    Skipping Dig, so a racist is one who is intolerant of law breakers and moral degradation? Hope you get a Muslim neighbor who fancies beheading your infidel grandchildtren to serve Allah. You are a wimp. You would gladly serve Allah to save your limp twisted life and sacrifice your grandchildren. After all the great Obama will reward YOU. Will you be packing Jews on the train to save yourself? The answer is yes. You have the heart of a goldfish.

    Reply this comment
    • SkippingDog
      SkippingDog 6 June, 2016, 10:55

      Diego and Leroy? Please.

      Reply this comment
    • Ted. Mentor to the doomed....Builder of the FUTURE!
      Ted. Mentor to the doomed....Builder of the FUTURE! 8 June, 2016, 08:27

      jews on the train? Mike– I know your loved ones are always on you to stay on your meds…and theyre right—- this is what happens. You go off the rail like a typical internet tough guy and crap the bed…….relax little buddy, take a deep breath, You’re an angry under achieving tea baggy simp. It’s ok— the world needs sheep like you— carry on! You and Trump the racist will make America great again….and help Hillary win in November!

      I salute you Madam!

      Reply this comment
  7. Mike
    Mike 6 June, 2016, 20:11

    What! Are you opposed to mixed marriage? Leroy is the pitcher, Diego is the catcher. Softballs are legal, unlike Diego.

    Reply this comment
  8. Ted. Mentor to the doomed....
    Ted. Mentor to the doomed.... 7 June, 2016, 19:41

    What a Country—- Here we are—- The Repubs, from a field of losers, nominate an obvious racist numbskull. And, the trolls out here are just typical of the closed minded, dim wits who have driven the GOP into , well, a mess.

    Reply this comment
  9. Mike
    Mike 8 June, 2016, 17:45

    And what is your policy towards Israel tough guy? Another Jew hater hiding as a mainstream Democrat. Oh I know, at least you are not a racist. Jews don’t qualify for the label. Enjoy the “protocols of Zion”, like a church service for you.

    Reply this comment
  10. Ted. Mentor to the doomed....
    Ted. Mentor to the doomed.... 8 June, 2016, 20:42

    My policy?

    She’s our friend and we protect her……I have no idea how on earth you turned this into an anti semetic thing? You are the clown who injected “jews on a train” into this moronic thread of yours…..lmao—– You have goofy rhetoric little buddy!

    God I love CWD! A tea baggy dream….

    Thanks for playing–

    Reply this comment
  11. Mike
    Mike 9 June, 2016, 03:31

    The best thing about Cumula in DC is that is a logical place for ISIS to be.

    Reply this comment
    • SeeSaw
      SeeSaw 9 June, 2016, 20:05

      Try to give the impression that you passed grade school at least! Her name is Kamala!

      Reply this comment

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