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In California, race for governor tightens and Sen. Feinstein holds lead for re-election

Seema Mehta and Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

They face enormous challenges. The USC/Times poll found that in a faceoff between Feinstein and De Leon, she cruises to victory with the support of more than 58 percent of registered voters who say they plan to vote, compared to De Leon's 31 percent.

If Steyer decides to run, he saps support from both candidates -- a greater share from De Leon. In a three-way race, he had 17 percent, Feinstein won half and De Leon won the support of nearly a quarter of voters who plan to participate in the primary.

Few voters know who these men are. About 80 percent of registered voters did not know enough about De Leon to form an opinion of him, and roughly three-quarters said the same about Steyer. He could attempt to change that by using his personal wealth to saturate the airwaves. That's an advantage De Leon does not have.

"De Leon needs to raise an enormous amount of money if he's going to get known, to become competitive," Shrum said.

More than 34 percent of registered voters viewed Feinstein favorably, compared with 30 percent who viewed her unfavorably.

Among registered voters who plan to cast ballots, she dominated among genders, races and in every region of the state. Even among GOP voters who plan to vote in the Senate contest, Feinstein won the support of nearly 39 percent.

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