SANCHEZ VS. DORNAN: Propelled By Abortion Position, Incumbent Pulls Ahead
As the race for the 46th Congressional District heats up in California, incumbent Loretta Sanchez (D) "holds a substantial lead over Republican Robert Dornan," fueled in part by her abortion stance, according to a Los Angeles Times Orange County poll conducted earlier this week. The Times reports that among 800 central Orange County residents most likely to vote in the Nov. 3 election, Sanchez outpolled her opponent 48% to 34%, with a 3.5% margin of error. However, 17% remain undecided, prompting Poll Director Cheryl Katz to predict, "The election could come down simply to who turns out to vote." Sanchez is buoyed by her abortion stance, with 42% of likely voters indicating her "right to choose makes them more inclined to vote for her." In contrast, only 25% indicated that Dornan's staunch stance against abortion would prompt them to cast a vote in his favor.
According to the poll results, "Dornan's bid to persuade Latinos, who are mostly Catholics, to vote for him because of his opposition to abortion" has been unsuccessful (Schrader, 10/22). In a challenge to Sanchez' abortion position, Dornan last month sent district Democrats a mailer describing Sanchez as a partial- birth abortion supporter who advocates "any other type of abortion killing for all nine months for any reason or for no reason whatsoever" ( Daily Report, 9/25). But according to the poll, 43% of Latinos expressed their preference for Sanchez because of her abortion position. Furthermore, Dornan has failed to generate support along party lines, as "[a] majority of Democrats and nearly three in 10 Republicans" prefer Sanchez' stance, while "[f]our in 10 Republicans support Dornan's view." Overall, 41% favor Sanchez' abortion position, compared to 12% who prefer Dornan's position. In the home stretch, "Dornan and Sanchez both are working hard to persuade their supporters to turn out at the polls," and Sanchez has launched three television ads and "half a dozen mailers on health care" (Los Angeles Times/Orange County Edition, 10/22).