Maldonado takes the lead in new poll
October 9, 2012
Republican congressional candidate Abel Maldonado surged one point ahead of Democratic incumbent Lois Capps for the first time in the campaign in a poll released Monday.
The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, shows Maldonado leading Capps 45 to 44, although well within the margin of error of 4.9 percent. Public Opinion Strategies’ previous poll placed Capps in front of Maldonado by five percent — 49 to 44.
Maldonado, who has alienated many San Luis Obispo County Republicans by not showing up to debates and speaking engagements, likewise pulled ahead of Capps in the county by a 46 to 43 margin. The poll shows the race deadlocked in Santa Barbara County at 44 percent.
In recent weeks, Capps has attacked Maldonado repeatedly over his personal and family tax disputes with the Internal Revenue Service. But, the poll indicated that voters have begun to respond negatively to her focus on Maldonado’s taxes. Indicative of Capps’ dip in the polls, 27 percent of likely voters said candidate tax issues are important and 68 percent said they are unimportant.
Maldonado and Capps each maintained slightly favorable image ratings. Forty percent of those surveyed viewed Maldonado in a positive manner while 37 percent viewed him negatively. And, 44 percent held a positive image of Capps while 40 percent held a negative one.
While Maldonado took the overall lead, the 24th Congressional District, which now consists of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties, as well as parts of northern Ventura County, leans slightly Democratic. Public Opinion Strategies asked some voters only whether they would vote for a Democrat or Republican. Forty-four percent said they would vote for the Democrat, and 42 percent said they would vote for the Republican.
The Public Opinion Strategies poll surveyed 400 likely voters on behalf of the Maldonado campaign from October 1-3. It included interviews in both English and Spanish.
Capps’ campaign has yet to publicly release polling data.