For the first time, Latinos in California are nearly split in their choice of either state Attorney General Kamala Harris or Rep. Loretta Sanchez in the U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll.
The poll shows Harris broadening her lead over Sanchez, 42-20 percent, among more than 1,000 likely voters contacted in September, from 30-24 percent in a July survey.
Some 12 percent, who were identified mainly as Republicans, said they will not vote in a race where the only candidates are Democrats.
But most significant is the loss of Latino support for Sanchez, who has the support of 34 percent of Latino voters, just under Harris’ 35 percent.
Both are vying to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer, who has held the seat for more than 20 years.
Though Harris has been the front-runner during much of the race, Sanchez, who is of Mexican descent, had the support of Latinos, preferring her 49-24 percent in a July poll.
“You can see that among Latinos, the initial support for Sanchez had a lot to do with the recognition that she had a Latino surname,” Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo was quoted as saying in the San Jose Mercury News. “That put her in the early lead (with Latinos). Now more voters at least have some inkling of who the candidates are.”
Bill Carrick, of the Sanchez campaign, maintained that his candidate remains a favorite of Latinos, according to the Mercury News.
Harris, who has a double-digit lead in the polls, recently got a boost from some of the state’s Latino leadership.
State Senate President Kevin De Leόn, Sen. Ricardo Lara and former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez all have endorsed Harris. But among Latino voters in California, Sanchez is the preferred candidate, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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