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Elected Democrats lagging in California statewide races, new poll finds

Kounalakis says she would defend immigrants “who are being terrorized”

Eleni Kounalakis, a major Democratic Party donor and former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, on April 24, 2017 formally jumped into the 2018 race for lieutenant governor, saying she was driven to run by the election of President Donald Trump.
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Eleni Kounalakis, a major Democratic Party donor and former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, on April 24, 2017 formally jumped into the 2018 race for lieutenant governor, saying she was driven to run by the election of President Donald Trump.

Democratic businesswoman Eleni Kounalakis holds a commanding lead over fellow Democrat state Sen. Ed Hernandez in the race for California lieutenant governor, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

Two other Democratic lawmakers are lagging in their bids for statewide offices.

The UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies poll surveyed 1,339 likely California voters online, in both English and Spanish, between Oct. 19 and Oct. 25.

That survey found 45 percent of those surveyed favored Kounalakis, while 31 percent preferred Hernandez.

That same poll found that Republican-turned-independent businessman Steve Poizner has a narrow lead over Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, 49 percent to 44 percent, in the race for insurance commissioner.

Those polled also favored Democrat Marshall Tuck over Democratic Assemblyman Tony Thurmond in the race for state superintendent of public instruction. Tuck had the support of 48 percent of those surveyed, while Thurmond had 36 percent.

As he has in previous polls, Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom continues to lead his Republican challenger John Cox, 58 percent to 40 percent.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein leads against fellow Democrat, state Sen. Kevin de León, 45 percent to 36 percent. However, 19 percent of likely voters, most of whom are Republicans, said they were either undecided or would not vote for either candidate.

Neither Proposition 6, which would repeal California’s gas tax increase passed in 2017, nor Proposition 10, which would allow cities and counties to enact broader rent control laws, appear likely to pass, the poll found.

Just 40 percent of those surveyed supported Proposition 6, with 56 percent opposed, and just 35 percent supported Proposition 10, with 60 percent opposed.

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Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler
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