Chavez leads the race with 16 percent, followed by Democrat Doug Applegate, who was favored by 12 percent of those surveyed in the San Diego Union Tribune/10 News poll.
Democratic environmental lawyer Mike Levin was favored by 9 percent of those polled, while Republican Diane Harkey, who was endorsed by Issa, is tied with Democrat Paul Kerr at 8 percent. Democrat Sara Jacobs, the youngest candidate in the race, was last with 7 percent.
The new numbers are alarming for Democrats, as it showed Applegate, who narrowly lost to Issa in 2016, dropped 6 points and is no longer in the lead as he was in a poll from two months ago.
Chavez’s support dropped 1 point since the last poll.
The poll surveyed 535 likely voters from April 6 to 10 and had a margin of error of 5.3 percent. It was conducted by SurveyUSA.
All told, the Democrats have more combined support than the two Republican candidates in the poll. But party leaders fret that the number of Democrats running in the district could lead to two Republicans moving to the general election.
California’s primary is on June 5, and the two candidates with the highest number of votes regardless of party affiliation advance to the general election.
Democrats have hopes of flipping the district because of Applegate’s close race against Issa and Hillary Clinton carrying it over Donald Trump in the presidential race.
The poll also found that 25 percent of respondents said the president’s job performance would be the most important issue in determining how they vote.
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