Republican Young Kim leads Democrat Gil Cisneros in California’s 39th congressional district by 6 to 10 points, according to a new poll by Monmouth University.
Monmouth found that using a sample of “potential voters,” Kim only led Cisneros 46% to 42% with a 4.9% margin of error, a statistical dead heat. However, when two different models of “likely voters” were used, Kim’s lead was larger.
“A historical midterm model gives Kim a 51% to 41% lead over Cisneros. But even a model that projects a possible turnout surge in Democratic precincts still gives Kim a lead of 49% to 43%,” the survey reported.
The margin of error for the “likely voter” models was 5.7%, meaning that Kim had a statistically significant lead in the “historical midterm” model, but that Kim and Cisneros were still statistically tied in a Democrat “surge” model.
Kim and Cisneros are competing for the open seat being vacated by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA). The 39th district is a majority-minority district, “one of the most ethnically diverse in the country,” Monmouth notes. It includes northern Orange County, western San Bernardino County, and some of the most conservative areas of Los Angeles County. (It is also home to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda.)
The 39th is one of seven districts being targeted by Democrats in the 2018 election cycle because it is represented by a Republican but went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
President Barack Obama campaigned with Cisneros last weekend even though Cisneros faces allegations of sexual misconduct from a fellow Democrat.
Monmouth’s polling director, Patrick Murray, said in a press release on the poll results: “This district swung from Republican to Democrat in the last presidential election. However, it doesn’t look like Cisneros is generating enough interest among those voters to overcome the district’s historical preference for Republicans at the House level.”
He added that national Democrats might have erred by backing Cisneros, a lottery winner who only recently moved to the district. Kim is far better known in the district, part of which she once represented in the California State Assembly.
Kim is also an immigrant, and would be the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress if she wins. Kim leads among white voters, while Cisneros leads among minorities, and has a narrow lead among Asian-Americans. The poll notes that Kim leads among white college-educated voters, who have been moving towards Democrats in other parts of the country.
The top issue in the district is immigration for Republicans, and health care for Democrats.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.