Republican holds small lead in Calif. AG race, poll shows

Jessica M. Karmasek Nov. 1, 2010, 1:23pm


SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - Republican candidate Steve Cooley holds a narrow lead over his Democratic opponent, Kamala Harris, in the California attorney general race, according to poll results released over the weekend.

The Field Poll survey found the Los Angeles County District Attorney is leading Harris by a slim 39 percent to 38 percent margin among those likely voters in Tuesday's election, compared to his 37-34 lead in July.

Another 4 percent favored other candidates and 19 percent were undecided, according to the poll results released Saturday.

Among the 21 percent of voters who have already submitted their vote-by-mail ballots, Cooley had a 46-38 advantage over the San Francisco District Attorney, the survey found. However, voters intending to vote at their local precinct on Election Day are evenly divided, 37 percent for Cooley and 37 percent for Harris.

In Los Angeles County -- home to one in four registered voters in California and considered a key battleground in the attorney general's race -- Harris held a 43-37 edge over her opponent, according to the poll. Harris also is preferred by a nearly two-to-one margin -- 52-27 -- in the San Francisco Bay region where she lives.

As for other voter preferences, Cooley and Harris both are "obtaining broad support of rank-and-file voters" within their own respective parties, the survey found.

Among Republicans, Cooley is preferred 71-6, while Democrats are supporting Harris 68-13. Non-partisans and those registered with minor parties, who represent 17 percent of likely voters, are narrowly backing Harris by a 34-32 margin.

According to The Field Poll, Cooley also is maintaining large leads among voters in the traditionally Republican-leaning regions of Southern California outside of Los Angeles County -- 47-28 -- and the Central Valley -- 44-30.

The survey also found women are backing Harris 43-32. Men are supporting Cooley by 45-33.

Those voters age 65 or older are backing Cooley by 44-39. He also leads among voters ages 40-49 by a margin of 39-34. Meanwhile, Harris is leading Cooley 40-36 among voters ages 50-64. Voters under age 40 are about evenly divided in their preferences, the poll found.

The survey also found that white non-Hispanics favored Cooley 43-35 and that Harris is preferred by "large margins" among Latinos and African-Americans. The survey also found that each of the three Asian-American voter segments examined by the poll were dividing their preferences "fairly evenly" between the candidates, although large proportions remained undecided.

The Field Poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 14-26 among a random sample of 1,501 registered voters, divided into two waves, with an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

The polling company used live interviewers in six languages and dialects -- English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese.

Up to eight attempts were made to reach, screen and interview each randomly selected voter in each survey wave, the company noted.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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