Democratic challenger Andrew Janz is eight percentage points behind powerful Republican incumbent Devin Nunes in the race for California's 22nd Congressional District, according to a new Public Policy Polling poll released Thursday.
The poll, paid for by Democratic political action committee End Citizens United and taken June 22-24, asked 632 likely voters in the district: "The candidates for Congress this November are Democrat Andrew Janz and Republican Devin Nunes. If the election was today, who would you vote for?"
Forty-nine percent chose Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, while 41 percent selected Janz, a Fresno County violent crimes prosecutor. The remaining 10 percent were undecided.
Nunes' campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Thirty-nine percent of participants identified as Democrats, 46 percent said they were Republicans and 15 chose independent or another third party.
Participants who identified as Hispanic or Latino constituted 23 percent of those polled, while 65 percent were white and 12 percent chose "other." Fifty-three percent were women and 47 percent were male.
The age demographics were:
▪ 18-45: 25 percent
▪ 46-65: 43 percent
▪ 66 and older: 32 percent
Of those polled, 54 percent said they had a favorable opinion of President Donald Trump, 41 percent had an unfavorable opinion and six percent were not sure. Half of the participants said they voted for Trump, and 41 percent chose Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
End Citizens United has endorsed Janz and gave him $2,000 on March 3, according to federal election records. The PAC seeks to overturn a 2010 Supreme Court decision that allowed corporate PACs to donate millions to candidates in the years since.
After asking the blanket Janz or Nunes question, the poll also asked several more slanted questions regarding campaign donations from "corporate special interests." Sixty percent they would be more likely to support a candidate who takes no money from said groups, while 66 percent said they believed these types of donations were a major problem.
The poll then claims Nunes has taken $600,000 in corporate donations and voted to cut these groups' taxes through the tax reform bill. Janz, who has attempted to paint himself as anti-special interests through ads and social media branding, has not accepted any, the poll told participants.
After these questions, a final question loaded pretty heavily in Janz's favor and asking participants to pick a candidate changed the margin to 43 percent Janz vs. 46 percent Nunes.
Campaign documents show Janz has received $20,875 in donations from political action committees, all of which do not appear to be affiliated with a corporation. Nunes has received more than $1.1 million in PAC money, though it's not clear how much came from groups affiliated with a corporation.
"The End Citizens United poll proves that people around the country and in the Central Valley are backing candidates who are ready to put their country before corporations and campaign mega-donors," Janz said in a statement to The Bee.
"Look at Devin Nunes' voting record and campaign contributions," he added. "It's clear he is not working for the people of our district."
Nunes received 57.6 percent of the June 5 primary vote to Janz's 31.7 percent, while four other challengers split the remaining 10.7 percent.
Updated fundraising totals must be turned in by the end of June. As of May 16, Nunes had more than $5 million on hand to Janz's $600,000.
Nunes, a 16-year incumbent, has cruised to victory in every general election since 2002. His closest general election competition was Otto Lee, who received 38.1 percent of the vote in 2012.
As of May 21. about 42 percent of voters in the district were registered Republicans. Just over 32 percent are Democrats.