In new poll, challenger Robert Luna has lead over L.A. County Sheriff Villanueva

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In the race for Los Angeles County sheriff, retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna has a formidable, 10-point lead among likely voters over the incumbent, Alex Villanueva, a new poll shows.

With little more than a month until the Nov. 8 runoff election, 36% of likely voters polled said they are planning to cast ballots for Luna, while 26% said they favor Villanueva, according to the poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, which was co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. Likely voters are those who have voted in a recent past election and who expressed a high interest in voting in November.

Another 36% of likely voters remain undecided, the poll found — a critical bloc of unclaimed votes that leaves the race still up for grabs.

“It’s still a huge proportion undecided,” said Mark DiCamillo, who directed the poll and has been surveying California voters for decades. Villanueva, he added, “does appear to be trailing, which is a significant finding. Most incumbents, unless there’s a major scandal or something that really is dragging them down, they usually survive reelection.”

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