Capitol Alert
The go-to source for news on California policy and politics
By Angela Hart
ahart@sacbee.com
April 25, 2018 – 08:00 PM

The two major Republican candidates in the race to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown are battling for second place to make the November runoff, while Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has strengthened his lead, according to a new poll from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.

The poll shows businessman John Cox preferred by 18 percent of likely voters in the June 5 primary, while Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, won support from 16 percent. Both are well ahead of Democrat and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who dropped to 9 percent, down from 17 percent in December, and well behind Newsom, preferred by 30 percent.

“Both major Republican candidates are now holding an advantage over Villaraigosa for finishing second in the top-two primary,” said poll director Mark DiCamillo.
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The poll, conducted April 16-22 , also “is good news” for Newsom, DiCamillo said. The former San Francisco mayor had 30 percent of likely voters behind him, up from 26 percent in December. “I think he can be expected to be one of the candidates, if not the top candidate, to move on to the November general election,” DiCamillo said.

The latest results come about five weeks ahead of the primary, when California voters will send the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, to the November runoff.

State Treasurer John Chiang had 7 percent support from likely voters. Former schools chief Delaine Eastin had 4 percent, and 13 percent of voters are undecided.

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to turn out and vote this June — giving Cox and Allen an advantage over the other Democratic challengers, DiCamillo said. That could be even more good news for Newsom in the general election, when, historically, Democrats and independents turn out in greater numbers.

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