A new poll could allay fears by the California Republican Party that they'll be shut out of the November election.
A survey from the Public Policy Institute of California shows Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom with a comfortable lead over all his gubernatorial rivals, with Republican businessman John Cox inching into second place, just ahead of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Under California's primary system, the top two vote-getters in June will advance to the November runoff, regardless of their party.
Newsom, a liberal Democrat from San Francisco Bay Area, would surely rather face off against Cox -- or any other Republican -- than Villaraigosa, another Democrat who's has been attempting to run to the right of the former San Francisco mayor.
"Gavin Newsom has definitely shown himself now to be not just a leader in all three of the polls that we've had but really distinguished himself from the other candidates in this gubernatorial race," said Mark Baldassare, PPIC's president and CEO. "And so there's a lot of uncertainty about who that second place is going to go to in the top-two gubernatorial primary."