Lois Capps (left) and Abel Maldonado
Paul Wellman (file)

A memo released by former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado’s campaign Friday morning detailed a poll that shows a dead heat in his race for the 24th Congressional District seat against incumbent Rep. Lois Capps, with the difference between the two candidates within the margin of error.

The memo said the survey, conducted June 26 through June 28, showed Capps with 48 percent of the support, while 46 percent sided with Maldonado. The margin of error was plus-or-minus 4.9 percent. The survey was based on 400 likely voters in November’s general election.

“This is going to be an extremely competitive race and, at the end of the day, it comes down to jobs and the economy,” said Maldonado spokesperson Kurt Bardella. “People want to hear a dialogue about solutions, and that has to begin with an honest recognition of the very real challenges so many people are going through right now and a determination if the status quo is really working for them.”

The poll — the details of which the Maldonado campaign did not share with The Santa Barbara Independent — was conducted by Redondo Beach-based Public Opinion Strategies, a national Republican public affairs research firm, on behalf of Maldonado’s campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The memo also indicated the poll showed that a generic Republican candidate usually polls better than a Democratic candidate who would support the president’s agenda.

Capps spokesperson Jeff Millman — who said their own polling shows a much different result — said their campaign had heard from people who they believe took the same poll, and said that questions were asked only after “a lot of nasty statements” were made about Capps.

“It’s not surprising he hasn’t released the entire poll, just like he hasn’t released his tax returns for every year he’s been in office,” Millman said. “We think this is an effort by Maldonado to change the subject from what’s been a pretty bad two months.”

Maldonado is currently disputing with the IRS what could total up to $4.2 million in tax deductions reported by the family’s farming business — in which Maldonado has one-third interest. Capps, who released her tax returns for all the years she’s been in office, has challenged Maldonado to do the same. Maldonado said he would post his 2011 tax return online, but so far it appears he has not done so.

The district leans Democratic, with 38 percent of registered voters Dems while 35 percent are Republicans. That leaves a large number of voters in this race who are decline-to-state.

The release of the survey comes at the end of a week where Capps reported bringing in $2.1 million this campaign cycle, more than Maldonado’s $1.7 million. Capps reported $577,531 for the most recent fundraising quarter while Maldonado brought in $359,456.


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