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Newsom, Villaraigosa Emerge From Pack In Governor's Race

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

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.


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.

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