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Poll Shows San Diegans Split On DeMaio Accuser's Sex Harassment Claims


It has been a week since a former campaign worker for Republican congressional candidate Carl DeMaio made national headlines, accusing his ex-boss of sexually harassing him.

DeMaio has denied the accusations.

10News and U-T San Diego conducted a scientific poll to gauge the impact the scandal could have on DeMaio's challenge of Democratic Rep. Scott Peters in the 52nd Congressional District. So far, people are split on whether they believe the former aide's story.

Residents in the district, which runs north from Coronado to La Jolla and then east to include Carmel Valley, Scripps Ranch, Poway and Rancho Bernardo, were asked four questions.

The first question: "Is your opinion of Carl DeMaio favorable, unfavorable, neutral? Or do you have no opinion one way or another?"

The response: 34 percent favorable; 38 percent unfavorable; and 21 percent neutral.

The second question: "Have you been following recent news about a former DeMaio campaign aide?"

The response: 57 percent yes; 38 percent no; and 4 percent not sure.

Political analyst John Dadian told 10News, "If you look at most scandals nationally, locally, they take a while to percolate."

The third question: "Do you believe the aide’s story?"

The response: 36 percent yes; 41 percent no; and 22 percent not sure.

Political analyst Laura Fink told 10News, "I think that also reflects the number of people that are not attuned to the story. They don't have enough information yet to make up their minds."

Dadian's take: "Overall, I think this is good for Carl DeMaio because it shows that people either don't believe the aide's story or it doesn't make a difference to them."

The fourth question: "Does the story make your opinion of DeMaio more positive, more negative, or does it make no difference either way?"

The response: 15 percent more positive; 35 percent more negative; and 49 percent no difference.

Fink said, "We have a lot of conflicting statistics, and I think what we have to take away from that is that this story has not sunk in and voters have not made up their minds about this issue in large part."

She believes independents and undecideds are critical in this election.

"In a race this close, this type of an issue can be a killer for a campaign that is trying to peel away those votes and get those last votes to take them over the top," Fink said.

Explore all national, state and local returns now.