Democratic state Attorney General Kamala Harris holds a steady lead in the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer.
A new Field Poll finds 42 percent of Californians likely to vote in the November election are now backing Harris, while 20 percent support her rival, Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez.
Mark DiCamillo is with the Field Poll. He says both candidates are viewed negatively by large majorities of Republicans, although Harris's ratings are slightly lower than Sanchez's.
"Obviously there's an opportunity to appeal to them if Sanchez should become much better known and Republican voters began to embrace her," says DiCamillo. "But if you look at Sanchez' image ratings right now with Republicans it's three to one negative."
DiCamillo says among Republicans, Sanchez has a slight lead over Harris.
"But even in that segment she was only getting 20 percent support and 30 percent of the Republicans said they weren't going to vote," says DiCamillo. "So they were abstaining. And another 37 percent were undecided. So a lot of Republicans, two-thirds, are not choosing either of the two Democrats."
The poll also finds Latino voters - a key Sanchez constituency - about evenly divided, with 34 percent supporting Sanchez and 35 percent backing Harris.