Gavin Newsom leads 2018 CA governor race, according to poll by campus institute

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Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is leading in early projections for the 2018 California gubernatorial race, according to a recent poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, or IGS.

Next year’s race for California’s governor will bring a new face to the position, with incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown set to conclude his fourth term in office. The campaign for governor is the next biggest race for the state of California, according to IGS poll director Mark DiCamillo.

For the poll, IGS conducted an online survey of 1,000 registered California voters. The poll was administered online by YouGov, a research firm. Poll respondents were chosen in a manner that reflected the state’s overall voters, using sampling technology guided by regional and demographic characteristics.

“We do have a fair number of people … who don’t choose any of the candidates listed,” DiCamillo said. “The advantage goes to candidates who are better known. Newsom is probably best known of the possible candidates.”

The poll results indicated that 28 percent of registered California voters favored Newsom over four of his fellow candidates: Republican businessman John Cox, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, State Treasurer John Chiang and former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.

The poll figures also indicated that Newsom’s strongest support comes from Bay Area voters and registered Democrats across California. About 42 percent of Bay Area residents and 40 percent of registered Democrats back Newsom, the poll results stated. Nearly a third of voters identified as undecided, a statistic DiCamillo said could be attributed to how far in advance the poll was administered.

“Especially now, it’s so important that people … are taking action and getting involved,” Newsom said in an email. “(W)e’re going to keep fighting for the progress we know is right.”

Caiden Nason, vice president of membership for the Cal Berkeley Democrats, said in an email that Newsom’s lead in polls made sense given his early campaigning, his tenure as San Francisco’s mayor and his recent ballot initiative on gun control.

“I’m concerned that he considers himself a centrist, because that’s not what California needs right now, especially with a Republican controlled federal government,” Nason said in his email.

Cox, a Republican candidate, came in second in the poll with 18 percent of the vote. Cox’s support comes mostly from Republican registered voters, according to the poll.

Pieter Sittler, internal vice president of Berkeley College Republicans, or BCR, also said he was unsurprised by the Newsom’s success in the poll. According to Sittler, BCR will not endorse Newsom. Sittler added that he doesn’t trust Newsom to solve state issues with taxes, immigration and poverty.

“Democrats will retain a supermajority in state assembly and senate … (and) have a monopoly on policy agenda items,” Sittler said. “It’s important to have a governor who will look past party lines and transcend partisanship.”

Contact Ani Vahradyan at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @anivahrad.