Poll puts Jim Costa behind Andy Vidak

FRESNO, California

An exclusive Action News Poll conducted by SurveyUSA puts Costa ten points behind Republican Andy Vidak 52% to 42%. That's a big change from six weeks ago when a SurveyUSA Poll showed Costa holding a slim lead over his challenger. SurveyUSA Pollster Jay Leve, talked to us via Skype from his office in New Jersey, and explained it this way. "The data we gathered for you six weeks ago showed it to be a tight race. The data we gathered for you over the last three nights and released to you today shows if anything the momentum has moved toward the Republican against the Democrat and whatever battle Mr. Costa may have had six weeks ago he has a steeper battle tonight."

But Costa says the poll does not accurately reflect his support in the district. For example, Costa notes 40% of those surveyed were Republicans, while actually on 33% of the district's voters are Republicans. He also notes only 44% of those surveyed are Democrats, while 56% of the voters in the district are Democrats.

"They've over-sampled Republicans and they've under sampled Democrats and it doesn't reflect the ethnic breakdown of the district." Costa said.

52 percent of those surveyed were identified as white, while only 21 percent of the district is considered to be non-Hispanic white. 36 percent of those surveyed are Hispanic, while 63 percent of the district is Hispanic. But SurveyUSA Pollster Jay Leve defends the methodology saying Hispanic voter turnout is expected to be low. "I don't think it's likely Hispanic turnout will grow to 40% but if it does Mr. Costa definitely is the beneficiary of that.

Vidak is pleased with the result, but not surprised. "The trends have been going in our way the whole time. We've been attacked for awhile now we're up on the airwaves." He said.

SurveyUSA credits attack ads against Costa financed by conservative groups who support Vidak as being key to the turnaround.

ABC30 Political Analyst Tony Capozzi says if this poll is to be believed, Democrats will pour last minute campaign funds to Costa. "The Democrats are in no way going to sit back and let Vidak win this campaign without putting more money into this election. When I talk about more money I mean hundreds of thousands of dollars." Capozzi said.

Costa maintains the numbers are way off, and he's counting on a much stronger Democratic Hispanic voter turnout to keep him in office. SurveyUSA is rated as one of the nation's top major polling agencies.

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