A new poll finds California Senator Dianne Feinstein in a weaker position for reelection than its creators expected.
The Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll shows Feinstein leading her fellow Democrat, state Senate leader Kevin de León, by a margin of 41 percent to 27 percent.
That’s even though most voters don’t know who de León is.
“Feinstein’s relatively modest lead is somewhat surprising given that the Senator is nearly universally known by voters, while relatively few of those polled know enough about de Leon to offer an opinion,” writes Mark DiCamillo, the poll’s director.
The poll shows De León with 80 percent no opinion. But Feinstein, while better known, also rates unfavorably with nearly half of those with an opinion of her. Nearly a third of likely voters are undecided between the two in the poll. No major Republican candidate has entered the race.
The candidates for governor also have their work cut out for them. While Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom continues a lead he’s held in other polls, followed by former Democratic mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa, more than 40 percent of likely voters said they did not have an opinion of those candidates.
Republican candidates John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen placed next with nine percent each. State treasurer John Chiang and former schools chief Delaine Eastin, both Democrats, round out the field with five percent each. Nearly a third of voters are undecided, with low name recognition among all of those candidates—in some cases only 10 percent.