The Lou Correa for Congress campaign released a poll shortly before Christmas showing the Democratic former state legislator and county supervisor with a wide lead over rival candidates for the open 46th Congressional District seat.

Incumbent Rep. Loretta Sanchez is running for the U.S. Senate, leaving the central county congressional seat without an incumbent seeking re-election for the first time in memory.

Here are the poll results:


The telephone poll of 405 likely primary voters was conducted December 13-16; the margin of error was plus-or-minus 4.9%.  Anaheim Councilman Jordan Brandman ended his congressional campaign on the final night of the survey.

According to the campaign press release:

This support is evident across most of the District’s demographic groups including men, women, union members, nonunion members, whites, nonwhites, all age groups and in the two largest cities in the District – Anaheim and Santa Ana.

After hearing positive paragraphs about each of the Democrats, Correa’s support increased to 43%. Nick remained in second place at 12% and the other three Democrats remained in the single digits, with Nguyen and Dunn each winning 7% support.

The Correa campaign also points to a superior favorable/unfavorable ration compared to the other candidates:

correa fav-unfav

These numbers aren’t surprising, and bear out the politically self-evident: Lou Correa has much better name recognition than Joe Dunn or or Bao Nguyen.

Nguyen was only elected mayor of Garden Grove slightly more than a year ago; prior to that he was a little known school board member – a position to which he was appointed, not elected.

Joe Dunn hasn’t been on a local ballot in since June of 2006, when he lost the controller primary to John Chiang. Otherwise, the only other competitive election in which he has run was in 1998, a landslide year for Democrats in California. Dunn edged GOP Senator Rob Hurtt, who waged a half-hearted re-election campaign in a district in which his name ID was relatively weak.

Correa has been on the ballot 15 times in central Orange County in the last 20 years (winning all but two races): AD69 in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002; 1st Supervisor District in 2004; SD34 in 2006 and 2010; 1st Supervisor District in 2015.

A number of local progressives, as well as unions such as the Orange County Employees Association, see Joe Dunn as a formidable candidate. However, while he is a formidable fundraiser, he hasn’t communicated with voters in 10 years. The voter population of CD46 is transitory to a significant degree, and the poll numbers reflect that relatively few voters have know or remember who Dunn is.

Brandman was Correa’s strongest opponent; with his exit, this race looks like Correa’s to lose.