Brad Sherman leading Howard Berman in race, independent poll shows
Conducted by SurveyUSA, the poll is the first independent sampling of voters released since the June primary, in which Sherman finished 10 percentage points ahead of Berman for the San Fernando Valley congressional district seat.
According to the poll, Sherman led Berman 45%-32% among likely voters. But 23% of respondents said they had not yet made up their minds.
The survey of 800 registered voters, 628 of whom were deemed likely to cast ballots, was conducted Sept.18 and 19. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points in either direction.
The poll found voters liked both men but higher numbers said Sherman was a more effective legislator and was more focused on the needs of area residents.
Sherman is better known in the new district because he has represented a considerably larger portion of it in the past.
Berman campaign strategist Brandon Hall downplayed the poll, saying he believes the race is actually "very close."
The two veteran lawmakers have been battling for the same San Fernando Valley congressional district seat in a costly, widely watched race. New political maps put their homes in the same strongly Democratic district and California's recently implemented election changes allow candidates of the same party to advance to the general election if they are the first- and second-place primary finishers.
Photo: Reps. Howard Berman, left, and Brad Sherman at a candidates forum early this year. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times