Newsom, Villaraigosa Emerge From Pack In Governor's Race

Nov 30, 2017

Californian's cast their votes at the California Museum in Downtown Sacramento on Nov. 8, 2016.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

With just six months to go before California’s primary election – and less than a year until the 2018 midterms – two Democrats lead the pack of candidates to replace termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 23 percent tops the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll, with former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa second at 18 percent.

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None of the other four candidates break double-digits. And the top Republican, San Diego businessman John Cox, is tied for third at 9 percent with Treasurer John Chiang, another Democrat.

Asm. Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) trails with 6 percent of likely voters, and Democratic former state schools superintendent Delaine Eastin comes in last at 3 percent.

But with the primary still too far out for voters to get bombarded with TV ads and mailers, perhaps it’s no accident that the two leaders are also the best-known of the six candidates – and have the highest favorability. (Of course, Villaraigosa also has the highest unfavorable rating at 32 percent – which tops his favorable rating of 31 percent).

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein holds a healthy 45 percent to 21 percent lead in her re-election bid over her only challenger, California Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). Nearly half of those polled said they’ve never heard of De León, while just 5 percent said the same of Feinstein.

In both the Senate and governor’s races, about a third of voters say they’re undecided.