According to a new Emerson College Polling survey released on Friday, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) is currently leading the U.S. Senate race for the seat of the late Senator Dianne Feinstein, with Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA), former MLB baseball star Steve Garvey (R), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) all within only a few points of each other for second place.
Specifically, the new senate primary poll, which was conducted between November 11th and November 14th, has Schiff leading with 16% of the vote. Porter is only three points down, coming in at 13%. Garvey, a relative newcomer to the race who only joined last month, received 10%, with Lee coming in 4th with 9%.
Four additional candidates received 2% of the vote or more. In a distant 5th place was Businessman James Bradley (R) with 3% of the vote. Meanwhile, there was a three-way tie for 6th place, with lawyer Eric Early (R), tech executive Lexi Reese (D), and the newest major candidate, TV anchorwoman Christina Pascucci (D), all receiving 2% of the vote. The largest block of votes in total, amounting to 39%, fell to voters saying that they were still undecided with roughly 3 and a half months to go until the primary.
Experts at Emerson College Polling added that older voters are more likely to know for sure who they are voting for, proving a boon for Schiff, Garvey, and Lee, while Porter, who attracts younger voters, has suffered in the polls as a result.
“Older voters are more tuned in to the Senate race at this time than their younger counterparts: a plurality of voters under 60 are undecided, while those over 60 are split between candidates,” said Executive Director of Emerson College Polling Spencer Kimball on Friday. “Among voters in their 60s, 24% support Schiff, 19% support Porter, 13% Lee, and 13% support Garvey. Of voters over 70, 30% support Schiff for Senate, 17% support Garvey, while 13% support Lee and 11% support Porter.”
The new Emerson poll also continues trends in the race that have been occurring since late Summer. With the exception of a UC Berkeley poll earlier this month where Porter was leading the race by a single percentage point, every poll since August has shown Schiff, albeit narrowly, staying ahead of Porter in the race. While not as much as a September PPIC poll giving Schiff a 5 point lead, the new Emerson poll nonetheless has Schiff still out ahead by the margin of error.
The poll also firmly cements the first GOP candidate to be within striking distance of the major candidates. Between the spring and early October, top GOP candidates such as Early and Bradley never got above 7% in a poll. But, following Garvey exploding on the scene in October, the party has seemed to rally around him. The UC Berkeley poll earlier this month had him at 10%, overtaking longtime third-placeholder Lee with 9%. The Emerson poll not only kept those percentages the same but, because of more people questioning both Schiff and Porter in recent weeks and both candidates going down a few percentage points in support, Garvey is now within the margin of error of winning the second spot in the primary.
Garvey within margin of error of winning second spot in March
“There were two things in October that would have led Republicans to this point,” Stephanie Lewis, a pollster in Southern California, shared with the Globe. “One was Senator Laphonza Butler (D-CA) deciding to run for a full term and further split the Democratic vote. As we saw, that didn’t happen. The other was a more well-known or established Republican entering the race, Bradley and Early had been doing good all things considered, but they were not drawing in those crucial undecided voters, independent voters, DINOs, and moderates. Garvey certainly met that, and as we’ve seen, has rocked the election.”
“He’s pretty much displaced Lee at this point, although she is still fighting, which means a split Democratic vote is still happening. But more important is his stability. He has a solid base, and amongst older voters, can draw in more than Porter. He also has a base we’ve never really seen before, namely sports fans, and could bring in former teammates to drive in Gen X voters who grew up with teams he was on and older, as well as younger fans. He’s stayed at a solid 10%, and in all honesty, looks like he can still be climbing.”
“Schiff and Porter, meanwhile, have been fluctuating wildly in first and second place. They were only at 15% and 14% respectively in the last Emerson poll in June. In November they both fluctuated by only a point each, with Porter actually going down. Garvey came in and took a huge chunk of those undecided and independent voters away, as well as some away from other Republicans in the race. If the GOP consolidates behind Garvey, they can see him get to the general, perhaps even getting 1st in the primary. While many Republicans would like to see both Democrats bleed each other dry next year on the way to the election in November, many more would actually prefer a horse in the race and greatly embarrass either Schiff or Porter, both of whom gave up their House seats for a long Senate run. They would hate to have an early exit in March because they both pretty much promised supporters a run into November next year.
“Schiff and Porter are still ahead here, but the race is closing fast. This poll is only further evidence of it.”
More polls are expected to come out soon. The primary election is to be held on March 5, 2024.
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