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Two Senate polls were released Wednesday — with very different results

Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez, left, and state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. (Los Angeles Times)
Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez, left, and state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. (Los Angeles Times)

Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez is either gaining ground on Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris in California’s U.S. Senate race or she’s dropping like a stone, according to two polls released on Wednesday.

A poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California found that Harris’ lead over Sanchez has narrowed. Among those likely voters surveyed, 32% favored Harris compared with 25% who supported Sanchez — a 7-percentage-point difference.

That’s down from the 18-point lead Harris had over Sanchez in the group’s poll in July.

But a new Field poll released earlier Wednesday found that 42% of likely voters in California favored Harris, compared with 20% who backed Sanchez — a 22-point difference.

That’s up from the 15-point lead Harris had over Sanchez in a Field poll in July.

The Public Policy Institute of California poll also showed that Sanchez was strongly favored by Latino voters, with 58% supporting her compared with 16% backing Harris.

The Field poll showed the two candidates running almost neck-and-neck among Latinos, with 35% favoring Harris and 34% favoring Sanchez.

Both polls showed that Republicans aren't happy with having to choose between two Democrats in the Senate race.

The institute's poll found that 65% of Republicans were either undecided or said they won't vote for either candidate. The Field poll found 67% of Republicans in that same boat.

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 7 primary, Harris received 40% of the vote and Sanchez got 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%.

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