Republican moderate Neel Kashkari has closed the gap with Tea Party favorite Tim Donnelly in the race for California governor, while both trail incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown by a wide margin, a new poll reveals.
The Public Policy Institute of California’s latest Statewide Survey found: “The governor continues to lead the primary race among primary likely voters, with 48 percent saying they would vote for him. Far fewer favor Republicans Tim Donnelly (15%) or Neel Kashkari (10%), although support for each has grown slightly since April (Donnelly 9%, Kashkari 2%). About a quarter of likely primary voters (27%) are undecided.”
Brown’s approval rating stands at 54%, a full 19% above his disapproval rating. The poll was conducted among 901 likely voters with a margin of error of 4.9%, which could mean Kashkari is even closer to second place.
Kashkari’s advance comes as he has spent $2 million of his own money on the race, targeting voters with TV ads and mailings. One recent mailing, the Sacramento Bee reports, likens the conservative Donnelly to the liberal Brown in their public spending policies. Independent groups, largely funded by moderate Republicans, are also making expenditures to boost Kashkari, including a new outside group funded by Charles Munger, Jr.
The poll has some good news for conservatives. PPIC reports that “a majority of likely voters (57%) prefer to pay down state debt and build up the reserve, while just 39 percent prefer to restore funding for social services.” In addition, while Californians are opposed to fracking, a plurality supports building the Keystone XL pipeline, in spite of the efforts of San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer to boost nationwide opposition to the project.