In research conducted in the middle of fast-unfolding news events, voters in California’s 52nd US Congressional District appear to shrug-off charge and counter-charge involving the Republican challenger Carl DeMaio, and may yet elect him to the US House of Representatives, unseating 1st-term incumbent Democrat Scott Peters, according to research conducted by SurveyUSA for the U-T San Diego newspaper and KGTV-TV 10News in San Diego.
Interested parties must exercise extreme caution when interpreting these results. Wildcard news events may overtake the normal back-and-forth of a campaign for the US House of Representatives. 89% of the interviews for this survey were conducted after reports DeMaio had been accused by a former campaign worker of sexual harassment. This story was widely reported. The remaining 11% of the interviews for this survey were conducted after the San Diego District Attorney announced that it would not press criminal charges against DeMaio. But: between now and Election Day, the contest may be more volatile than were external forces not in play.
Today, it’s DeMaio 46%, Peters 45%, with 10% undecided. SurveyUSA has polled the contest 3 times since Labor Day. In that time, DeMaio has never polled less than 46%. Peters has never polled above 47%. So far, there is no erosion in DeMaio’s support among Republicans, where he still leads 6:1, and no increase in Peters’ support among Democrats. However, among Independents, poll-on-poll, the number of undecided voters has gone up from 8% to 18%. Where these 18% of Independent voters land on Election Day may well determine the outcome of the contest.
Live interviewers were used to reach cell-phone respondents for this survey: SurveyUSA interviewed 650 registered voters from California’s 52nd US Congressional District 10/17/14 through 10/20/14, using Registration Based Sample (RBS, aka: Voter List Sample) purchased from Aristotle in Washington DC. Of the registered voters, 608 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote on or before Election Day 11/04/14. This research was conducted 100% by telephone. Respondents reachable on a home telephone were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone were called on their cell phones, by live operators who hand-dialed the cell phone, secured the respondent’s cooperation, qualified the respondent, conducted the interview, and remained on the line until the conclusion of the call.