Among the five announced candidates, Newsom, who as lieutenant governor has been grooming himself for the top elected position, is out ahead with support from 28 percent of voters, the Berkeley IGS Poll found. Running behind him at 18 percent is John Cox, a Republican businessman from Rancho Santa Fe who announced his candidacy earlier this month.
The pair are followed by three Democrats: former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at 11 percent, Treasurer John Chiang at 8 percent and former state schools chief Delaine Eastin at 3 percent. Nearly a third of voters remain undecided.
Reflecting a trend from previous public polls, Newsom – who has never trailed in the race to replace Gov. Jerry Brown – has gathered the largest share of Democratic voters. He continues to hold a considerable advantage with his party faithful, 40 percent to 15 percent for Villaraigosa, 11 percent for Chiang and 5 percent for Eastin.
“That is what’s driving his lead,” Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
Cox, the lone Republican to formally declare his candidacy, is supported by 55 percent of GOP voters. Villaraigosa does best with Latinos, and Chiang fares well among non-Hispanic ethnic voting constituencies.