New poll shows Garamendi still in the lead

A second KPIX televison poll shows Lt. Gov. John Garamendi still in the lead in Tuesday’s special 10th Congressional District primary election to replace Ellen Tauscher.

All the same caveats apply to these results as those of the first poll, of course. This is a robo or automated telephone survey by SurveyUSA, which means that a computer called 800 households of likely voters on Thursday and Friday rather than a live pollster, a technique generally frowned upon by traditional pollsters.

But it is interesting to note that the numbers have not moved for most of the candidates, particularly given state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier’s recent mail and cable attack on Garamendi’s lack of residency in the district and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan’s $850,000 personal loan to her campaign.

I would love to see some of the campaigns’ internal tracking polls to see if these numbers match but we haven’t had any leaks of such numbers in the past few weeks.

Keep in mind that the top vote-getter in each party will advance to the Nov. 3 runoff but here are the latest SurveyUSA  poll findings:

John Garamendi (D) — 25 percent

David Harmer (R) — 20 percent

Mark DeSaulnier (D) — 16 percent

Joan Buchanan (D) — 12 percent

Anthony Woods (D) — 9 pecent

Chris Bunch (R) — 5 percent

David Peterson (R) 3 percent

Mark Loos (R) — 2 percent

Other — 3 percent

Undecided — 5 percent

It appears that Harmer is likely to emerge victorious on Tuesday as his party’s standard bearer although he would like to do do better than 18 percent in a district where 30 percent of the voters are Republicans. To win in the Nov. 3 runoff, Harmer will need every last Republican vote and those of a bunch of independents and Democrats.

Even though Garamendi holds the lead, the SurveyUSA pollsters describe the top three in the Democratic field as “bunched” largely because in low turnout, stand alone special elections, it is very difficult to predict the outcome.

The numbers did reflect a surge in the candidacy of Anthony Woods, a gay Iraq War veteran from Fairfield. He has garnered considerable attention and even dollars although he probably doesn’t have enough time to overcome the strong name identification and hefty bank accounts of his better-known opponents in this accelerated special election cycle.

In response to the poll results, DeSaulnier’s campaign spokeswoman Katie Merrill says “the fact that the numbers didn’t change at all says to me they are not talking to anyone who has actually been targeted in this election,” Merrill wrote to me in an email. “All three campaigns were only mailing to about 60,000 households, so the SurveyUSA poll would have had to have found all of their sample from those 60,000 households to get a real sense of what’s happening in this race. That’s almost impossible given their methodology. They recognize that of course, which is why they describe us as all bunched together even though Garamendi is 9 points up in their poll.”

The only poll that really counts, of course, is Tuesday when the voters make their decisions. We’ll see then how closely the SurveyUSA poll tracks with the final results.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen