Our exclusive Action News poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows Lisa Sondergaard Smittcamp ahead of Elizabeth Egan by double digits. Egan's camp dismisses the numbers, which ignored the fact that she's the incumbent, but this could mean a change in strategy by both candidates.
It's crunch time for candidates and in the district attorney's race, the incumbent may be feeling the crunch. Our polling shows Egan trailing challenger Smittcamp by 13 points, 46% to 33%, with 21% of likely voters still undecided.
"We are very excited," Smittcamp said. "I think the voters are starting to understand what the truth is of what's going on at the DA's office."
Smittcamp believes the poll results are a reflection of recent endorsements from Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer and the prosecutors who work for Egan.
Political analyst Don Larson says whatever's driving Smittcamp's lead, it could create its own momentum, especially with those undecided voters.
"The fact that the polls indicate that Smittcamp is ahead might sway some people," Larson said. There is a bandwagon effect."
But Egan's campaign manager told us the poll is irrelevant and flawed in several ways. The proof, he says, is in the ads.
"Lisa Smittcamp's campaign started harsh negative advertising," said Dave Gilliard. "They wouldn't do that if they were ahead by 13 points."
Negative campaigning could also be a result of the poll numbers, according to Larson. He's expecting the race to intensify now that the candidates have an idea where they stand, and just a month left to make it stick or make a change.
"I think it could force both candidates to go negative because they're going to attack each other and let the chips fall where they may," he said.
Egan's campaign manager told us their internal polling, which was done before TV ads started airing and some key endorsements came in, showed Egan well ahead of Smittcamp.
The candidates have four more weeks to convince voters. The election is June 3.