Former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has caught up to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the race for California governor, after trailing since the start of the race.
The two Demorats are within just two points of each other according to a newly-released Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll showing Newsom with 23 percent of support from likely voters and Villaraigosa with 21 percent.
Following Newsom and Villaraigosa was Democratic State Treasurer John Chiang at 9 percent, Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) at 8 percent, Republican San Diego businessman John Cox at 7 percent, former state schools chief and Democrat Delaine Eastin at 4 percent, and former Congressman and Republican Doug Ose at 3 percent.
“There are two clear frontrunners,” Mark Baldassare, the poll’s director, told the San Jose Mercury News
The PPIC poll surveyed 1,705 California adults and 1,042 likely between Jan. 21 and Jan. 30, and has a margin of error of 4.35 percent.
However, another public poll conduced by Tulchin Research for the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education found Newsom leading with 25 percent, followed by a tight battle for second place between Villaraigosa, at 10 percent, and Cox, at 9 percent.
That suggests a Republican could qualify for the general election after the “jungle” primary June 5, where voters can select candidates from any party, and the top two finishers will advance, regardless of affiliation.
A third poll, conducted by David Binder Research for Newsom’s campaign and released exclusively to the Bay Area News Group on Wednesday, found Newsom at 30 percent, with Villaraigosa and Chiang battling for second place at 11 percent.
Meanwhile, incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 84, has a massive lead over fellow Democrat and State Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León in the U.S. Senate race. According to the newly-released PPIC poll, she is leading de León by nearly 30 percentage points — 46 percent to 17 percent — among likely California voters.
The absence of any prominent Republicans in the race will likely lead to both Democrats advancing to the general election.