Republican Steve Garvey has moved into second place in the latest U.S. Senate race poll — and if he can hold on to that in the March 5 primary, he’ll qualify for the November runoff.
A poll of 858 California voters from Dec. 15 to Dec. 19 had 26% support, putting him firmly in the lead.
Former baseball player Garvey, who moves into second place, has 15% support, putting him slightly ahead of Rep. Katie Porter, D-Irvine, got 14%. Both were within 3% of the poll’s margin of error.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, was fourth with 12%. Another 19% were undecided. No other candidate received double-digit support.
California has a “wild primary” system, whereby the two candidates with the most votes advance to the November general election, regardless of political party. This will lead to two people belonging to the same party appearing on the same ballot.
This isn’t the only poll showing Garvey in second place — SurveyUSA poll That shows him behind Schiff and slightly ahead of Porter and Lee since earlier this month.
Christian Gross, director of education at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, said he was hesitant to call Schiff’s leadership.
“Even among these leading candidates, you’ve got these people who are still undecided,” he said.
For Garvey, a Republican running in a deep-blue state, Gross said, whether those undecided voters are more Democratic or more Republican will matter. No Republican has been elected statewide since Arnold Schwarzenegger won the governorship in 2006.
In a statistical tie with Garvey and Porter, Gross said the odds are still high that Schiff and Porter will emerge from the March 2024 primary and head into the November general election.
“I don’t think (Garvey) has a serious campaign. If he somehow squeaks through November, he’ll be destroyed by Adam Schiff,” Groce said.
Other polls incl A very recent one From the Public Policy Institute of California, Garvey still ranks third behind Porter.
PPIC’s Mark Baldassare says Garvey, who has yet to run a visible campaign in the state, is banking on name ID, particularly with Republican voters.
“There hasn’t been a single candidate running for statewide office before, so name recognition and resources are very important,” he said.
Baldasare said Garvey’s best chance in the November election is to capture the majority of the state’s Republican-leaning voters, who make up about a quarter of the voting base.
“Steve Garvey has a challenge on this,” Balthazare said.