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Poll: Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa are favorites for California governor

In tight California governor's primary, Gavin Newsom leads among independents but Latinos overwhelmingly favor Antonio Villaraigosa

by Suzanne Gamboa /
The California state flag.Nicku / Shutterstock

WASHINGTON -- A new California poll shows Gavin Newsom, the state's lieutentant governor, and Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles mayor, are leading the field among voters who've made up their mind ahead of June's gubernatorial primaries.

Newsom is preferred by independents and Villaraigosa is the overwhelming favorite of Latinos.

In California, the primary's top two vote getters - regardless of party — move on to compete in November.

The poll, by the Public Policy Institute of California, PPIC, showed 23 percent of the 1,705 Californians surveyed favored Newsom to 21 percent for Villaraigosa, but about a quarter of those polled had not yet made up their mind.

“A quarter of likely voters are undecided — as many as support either of the front-runners,” Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of Public Policy Institute of California, said in a news release.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks before introducing California Gov. Jerry Brown who was delivering his final state of the state address, ending his fourth term as governor in Sacramento, California, January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Fred GreavesFRED GREAVES / Reuters

Newsom and Villaraigosa are tied among Democrat voters at 32 percent. Newsom is preferred by a quarter of independents, while nearly half of Latinos, 48 percent, prefer Villaraigosa. Democrats dominate in California politics. PPIC estimates about 46 percent of Latinos vote in California, which has the largest number of Latinos in the country.

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Other candidates trail far behind with 9 percent of the voters polled saying they'd vote for Democrat John Chiang, 8 percent for Republican Travis Allen, Republican John Cox, 7 percent, Democrat Delaine Eastin, 4 percent and Republican Doug Ose, 3 percent.

File photo of Antonio Villaraigosa when he was Mayor of Los Angeles, in 2012.ROBYN BECK / AFP - Getty Images

The same poll shows Sen. Dianne Feinstein, holds a wide lead, 46 percent to 17 percent, over Kevin de León, the state Senate's president pro tempore, in the race for her Senate seat. Feinstein is seeking her fifth term in the seat she's held since 1992.

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