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Republican voters taking a pass on California's U.S. Senate race, poll finds

Rep. Loretta Sanchez, left, and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. (Associated Press)
Rep. Loretta Sanchez, left, and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. (Associated Press)

Half of California’s likely Republican voters and a third of independents said they wouldn't vote for either candidate in the state’s U.S. Senate race this November, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The survey found that 28% of all likely California voters said they didn’t support state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris or Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez, and 14% said they were undecided. Harris and Sanchez are Democrats.

Among those backing a candidate, 38% of likely voters supported Harris, compared with 20% for Sanchez.

The two Democrats will face off in the November election, setting the stage for the highest-profile contest between two members of the same party since California adopted a top-two primary election system.

In the June 6 primary, Harris received 40% of the vote and Sanchez nabbed 19% among the 34 candidates on the Senate ballot. Duf Sundheim, a former chairman of the California Republican Party, landed in third place with 8%.

Bill Carrick, a political consultant for the Sanchez campaign, has said the congresswoman is trying to build a coalition that will “cross party lines, cross regional lines — every kind of line you can imagine” to overtake Harris before November. 

To do so, Sanchez will likely need support from Republicans and independents because, according to the PPIC poll, Harris leads Sanchez by a 2-to-1 margin among Democratic voters.

Harris also leads among independents. Sanchez leads Harris among likely Latino voters.

Among likely Republican voters, 50% said they would not support either candidate and 19% said they were undecided.

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