Governor’s race: Newsom, Villaraigosa top field in early polling

In its latest statewide survey of California registered voters, The Field Poll asked voters whether they would be inclined or not inclined to support each of eight prominent Californians who have been mentioned as possible candidates for Governor in 2018.

In this setting three Democrats – former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti – receive the largest proportions of early voter support. Greater than four in ten voters say they would be inclined to vote for Villaraigosa (42%) and Newsom (41%), and nearly as many say this about Garcetti (36%) if they were to be candidates for Governor in 2018.

Another 29% of voters say they would be inclined to support two other Democrats, environmentalist Tom Steyer and state Treasurer John Chiang, while 25% are inclined to back San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer, a Republican. Two other potential candidates, Democratic state Controller Steve Westly and Fresno Mayor and Republican Ashley Swearengin receive another 22% and 19% of voter support, respectively.

The complete survey and an explanation of its methodology can be seen here.

There are differences in voter inclinations to support each of the potential gubernatorial candidates according to the party registration, region and race/ethnicity of the voter. For example, each of the Democrats scores better among rank-and-file Democrats, and the two potential Republican candidates far outpace the others among voters of their own party.

Villaraigosa and Garcetti do best among voters in the ten-county Southern California region, while Newsom receives the highest level of potential voter support among Northern Californians. Villaraigosa obtains greater support than the others among Latinos, while Newsom receives a slightly higher level of voter support among white non-Hispanic voters.

There are big partisan differences in potential support the eight possible gubernatorial candidates. Each of the six Democrats do significantly better among voters of their own party, with Newsom and Villaraigosa doing the best. Conversely, the two potential Republican candidates measured score far better among rank-and-file GOP voters than any of the others.

Some differences in voter preferences are also observed between Southern and Northern California voters. For example, Villaraigosa and Garcetti fare the best among voters living in the ten counties of Southern California, while Newsom receives the highest level of early voter support among voters in the forty-eight Northern California counties.

The poll also finds differences in early voter support for the eight potential candidates measure by the race and ethnicity of voters. For example, Villaraigosa maintains a big preference advantage among Latinos. Among white non-Hispanics Newsom receives a slightly higher level of early support than the others.


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