SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The first Field Poll on next year’s race for U.S. Senate has a somewhat surprising leader atop the field.

Attorney General Kamala Harris is the only candidate to officially throw her hat in the ring to replace U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who has decided she will not seek reelection in 2016.

Since Harris is the only announced candidate, Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo didn’t bother with head-to-head matchups. Instead, he asked likely voters how inclined they would be to vote for 18 different people who may or may not run.

“What we attempted to do here was throw up against the wall people who have been rumored or considered as possible candidates to see what voters thought of each of their candidacies,” said DiCamillo.

He found a Republican, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice doing the best, with 49 percent saying they would be inclined to support her. Harris was second with 46 percent. DiCamillo said that with 16 months until the primary, the initial Field Poll results are likely based on name recognition.

One potential candidate, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa received some sobering news, as he placed a distant seventh in the Field Poll.

“It can’t be that good news. He doesn’t separate himself from the other potential Democratic challengers to Harris,” said DiCamillo.

DiCamillo said the results show that the race remains wide open, even though Harris is racking up some major early endorsements.

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