Race tied for state schools chief, but many still undecided

The race for state schools superintendent is in a dead heat, but more than four out of every 10 of  voters remain undecided about who to support just days before Tuesday’s election, the latest Field Poll reported.

Incumbent Tom Torlakson, a former school teacher and state senator, and challenger Marshall Tuck, a businessman, educator and education adviser to former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, each received 28 percent support in the race for the nonpartisan office.

But 44 percent of those surveyed had not made up their mind. Details of the poll and its methodology are available here.

There are differences in each candidate’s support. Torlakson leads in northern California and Tuck in the southern part of the state. Torlakson is heavily favored by voters who describe themselves as liberal; Tuck is favored by conservative voters.

“Another significant difference in the preferences of voters is by race and ethnicity,” pollsters Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field said. “Torlakson leads by a seven-point margin among the state’s white non-Hispanic voters, who the poll finds account for 70% of the likely electorate. On the other hand, Tuck is preferred by double digit margins among the state’s Latino and African American voters and by seven points among Asian Americans.”

In the race for governor, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown holds a commanding, 21-point lead over Republican challenger Neel Kashkari. Brown leads Kashkari in virtually every group polled except voters who identify themselves as conservatives and registered Republicans, the survey reported.

Brown is supported by 14 percent of Republicans, while Kashkari has backing from three out of four Republican voters.

In the races for the partisan – lieutenant governor, attorney general, state controller, state treasurer, secretary of state and insurance commissioner – the Democratic candidates lead Republican contenders by margins ranging from seven to thirteen points.


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