This is Essential Politics, our daily feed on California government and politics news. Here's what we're watching:

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more, or subscribe to our free daily newsletter and the California Politics Podcast

New poll finds Kamala Harris' lead growing in California's U.S. Senate race

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange) (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange) (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)


California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris has widened her lead in the U.S. Senate race, with voters supporting her by more than a 2-to-1 margin over rival Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange) in a new Field poll.

The survey found that 42% of likely voters in California favored Harris, compared to 20% who backed Sanchez. A quarter of voters remain undecided and 12% said they would not vote for either candidate.

Harris’ lead has grown by 7 percentage points since the last Field poll in July. Voter support for Harris increased by 3 percentage points and support for Sanchez dropped by 4 percentage points over the summer.

But the two polls used different methodologies. The poll in July was conducted by telephone interviews of randomly selected Californians. The September poll was conducted online and based on a survey of Californians in an existing panel of 1.5 million U.S. residents maintained by the research firm YouGov.

The September poll found Harris was the dominant favorite among registered Democrats, with 62% supporting the state attorney general, compared to 24% supporting the Orange County congresswoman. Harris also led in all major regions of the state, and across the spectrum of age groups and income levels, the survey found.

The two Democrats were in a virtual tie among Latino voters, which had been Sanchez’s strongest base of support. Sanchez had an edge among Republicans and self-described conservatives — 20% of likely Republican voters said they supported Sanchez and 13% backed Harris. Among the remainder, 30% said they would not vote for either candidate and 37% said they were undecided.

In a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released earlier this month, 30% of voters supported Harris and 16% favored Sanchez. More than half of those surveyed said they were undecided or would not vote for their candidate in the November election.

The Democrat-versus-Democrat Senate race sets the stage for the highest-profile contest between two members of the same party since California adopted a top-two primary election system in 2012.

Latest updates

More from politics

The 10 biggest issues we're tracking in the California Legislature

Are you an independent voter? You aren't if you checked this box.

Follow every step of the 2016 presidential election with the Los Angeles Times Trail Guide.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times