Poll: Sara Jacobs has wide lead in race to replace retiring Rep. Susan Davis in 53rd District

Poll: Sara Jacobs has wide lead in race to replace retiring Rep. Susan Davis in 53rd District

Feb 4th, 2020The San Diego Union-Tribune

A poll released Tuesday shows Democrat Sara Jacobs leading by a wide margin in the race to replace retiring Rep. Susan Davis in the 53rd Congressional District.

A San Diego Union-Tribune/10News poll of 513 likely voters conducted by SurveyUSA shows Jacobs, a former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser, leading 14 candidates with 23 percent.

Her closest rival, Republican Chris Stoddard, a pilot, received 10 percent.

Only three other candidates received more than 3 percent support: San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez, a Democrat (5 percent); nurse Famela Ramos, a Republican (5 percent); and policy adviser Joaquín Vázquez, a Democrat (4 percent). Marine Corps veteran Janessa Goldbeck, a Democrat, polled at 2 percent.

Poll: CA-53

Thirty-five percent of those surveyed said they were still undecided.

Among a subset of voters who said they are “certain to vote,” Jacobs’ support climbed to 27 percent, while Stoddard’s support remained at 10 percent, and Gómez and Vázquez edged out Ramos.

Participants were selected randomly and responded by phone. It was conducted Thursday through Saturday, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 to 5.7 percentage points.

The results may come as a bit of a shock to some political observers — and the candidates themselves — with only a month to go until California’s March 3 primary. The top two vote-getters will advance to the general election in November, regardless of political party.

Given the heavily Democratic bent of the district, fundraising figures and projected high turnout due to the presidential primary, there’s been speculation that two Democrats could finish at the top next month.

Registration greatly favors Democrats — 188,202 registered Democrats and 95,255 Republicans — in the district. It includes communities just north of Interstate 8 from Linda Vista to El Cajon, and areas south of the freeway, including Mission Hills, areas surrounding Balboa Park, parts of Mid-City, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and parts of Chula Vista.

Goldbeck, Gómez and Jacobs are the only candidates who reported spending significant funds last quarter.

From October through December, Jacobs, the granddaughter of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, spent $503,056, the bulk of which went toward campaign staff salaries, consulting services and advertising. The Gómez campaign spent $106,779 during the same period and Goldbeck’s campaign spent $98,672.

Similar to Jacobs, the bulk of Gómez and Goldbeck’s spending went toward campaign workers and consulting services. However, the two also spent significantly on software and technical services from ActBlue, a nonprofit that provides an online fundraising software popular in progressive circles.

Of the likely voters the poll surveyed, 51 percent said they are Democrats, 28 percent are Republicans and 18 percent are independents.

Jacobs was overwhelmingly the favorite among Democratic and independent voters, leading with 34 percent and 22 percent of their respective votes. No other candidate grossed double-digit support among those voting blocs.

Among Republican voters, Stoddard leads with 27 percent, followed by Ramos with 8 percent and Jacobs with 7 percent.

However, many Democrats (30 percent), Republicans (39 percent) and independents (41 percent) are undecided.

The poll also sought to shed light on key issues for district residents.

Voters said that “holding the president accountable” was their top priority (21 percent). Only three other issues registered support greater than 10 percent: cost of living, climate change and the “character of the candidate.”

Registered voters who vote by mail should begin receiving their ballots this week.

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