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Sen. Boxer Erases Gap in Close Race

October 23, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Sen. Barbara Boxer erased the gap in her tight race with Republican challenger Matt Fong, according to a Los Angeles Times Poll published Friday.

Boxer, a Democrat seeking her second term, was ahead 49 percent to 44 percent among likely voters. With a margin of error of 4 percentage points, she had only a slight statistical lead.

Last month, she trailed Fong by 5 percentage points.

Boxer has spent twice as much money as Fong on television commercials, criticizing the state treasurer for his stands on gun control, abortion and HMO reform.

The ads went mostly unanswered by Fong and may be strengthening Boxer’s support among women and moderate voters. Boxer held a lead of 56 percent to 37 percent among likely women voters. Seventeen percent of Republican women likely to vote said they intended to cross party lines.

Among likely male voters, Fong was ahead 52 percent to 41 percent.

Boxer is winning stronger support on issues such as abortion, where she is strongly pro-choice, and gun control, where she favors new restrictions, the poll said.

The poll found 51 percent approved of Boxer’s job performance _ her highest rating in six years _ while 37 percent disapproved.

Boxer barely won her first statewide campaign in 1992 with 48 percent of the vote.

The poll surveyed 883 likely voters from Oct. 17-21.

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