On Wednesday, the Southern California News Group released a poll showing shopping mall developer Rick Caruso with a slight lead over Congresswoman Karen Bass: 39.8% – 36.8%. Caruso’s lead is within the margin of error.
Although Caruso’s lead is small, it does show a significant gain from earlier polling that showed Bass leading Caruso. Some of the changes are probably due to the fact that Caruso was airing TV ads weeks before Bass’ ads hit the airwaves. Caruso is running numerous positive ads about himself and negative ads on Bass. He has a multi-million dollar field operation running, among other campaign activities. As of yesterday, Caruso had given his campaign $80 million dollars.
It appears that Caruso’s efforts to suppress Bass’ support, and boost his own, is working. As Calpeek readers know, two weeks ago the U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies released a poll showing Bass’ strong lead among likely voters (43%-31%). In the June election, Bass placed first with 43.11% of the vote. Caruso came in second with 35.99%. Turnout in the run-off election is expected to be significantly higher than in June.
One thing that is notable from the polling is the large number of undecided voters. In this most recent poll, nearly 24% have yet to pick a candidate. The candidates have been on the campaign trail since early in the year, yet a large number of voters are still sitting on the fence. Ballots arrived in voters’ mailboxes about a week ago, but only a handful have been mailed back. As of yesterday, less than 5% of the ballots had been returned.