One year before voters head to the polls in California's open primary for governor, a new survey finds Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have staked out an early lead over a field of announced challengers.
A poll released Thursday by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies finds Newsom leading fellow Democrat Villaraigosa among likely voters, 22 percent to 17 percent. The same poll found the former San Francisco mayor holding a 28 percent to 11 percent lead over Villaraigosa back in March.
Coming in behind the former mayors are a pair of relatively unknown Republicans: San Diego businessman John Cox and former Torrance Assemblyman David Hadley, each with less than 10 percent of respondents. Democratic state Treasurer John Chiang polled a distant fifth with 5 percent.
Contours Forming Among Democrats
The survey outlines what could become a battle between the liberal and more moderate flanks of the Democratic Party. Newsom holds a strong advantage (60 to 13 percent) in the survey among those voters identifying themselves as "strongly liberal." Newsom has driven his candidacy leftward, advocating for free community college and a single-payer health care system, the latter of which has energized the Democratic base.