Poll: Democrats Leading in Six California ‘Down Ticket’ Races

August 2, 2006

Democrats are leading in six ‘”down ballot” races for statewide offices although a significant number of voters remain undecided going into the November election, according to a new statewide poll released Tuesday.

In the race for lieutenant governor, the Field Poll showed that Democratic Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi leads Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock, 48 percent to 38 percent, with 13 percent undecided.

Oakland mayor and former Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, also is ahead of his Republican rival, state Sen. Charles Poochigian of Fresno, in the race for attorney general. About 54 percent of likely voters chose Brown, 33 percent picked Poochigian and 12 percent remain undecided, the poll said.

The state treasurer’s race shows Attorney General Bill Lockyer with an even larger lead over State Board of Equalization member Claude Parrish. Lockyer, a Democrat, had 52 percent, compared to Republican Parrish’s 27 percent. Twenty percent were undecided.

In the insurance commissioner’s race, researchers found that 43 percent of likely voters prefer Democratic Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante, 39 percent prefer Republican businessman Steve Poizner and 16 percent have made no decision yet.

The matchup was much closer for secretary of state. Democratic state Sen. Debra Bowen leads that race with 38 percent, with Republican incumbent Bruce McPherson, a former state senator, close behind with 35 percent, and 26 percent undecided.

The state controller’s race also remains tight, with 34 percent yet to make up their minds. Of those who have, 38 percent chose state Board of Equalization member John Chiang, a Democrat, and 27 percent chose Republican former Assemblyman Tony Strickland.

Researchers interviewed 762 likely voters by telephone in English and Spanish between July 10-23. The poll had a sampling error of 5 percentage points.

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