A poll released at 9 o’clock Wednesday night shows that an anticipated all-Democrat showdown to determine Gov. Jerry Brown’s successor might not materialize.

San Diego businessman John Cox, a Republican, is gaining traction with voters, according to the latest survey of likely June primary voters conducted by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

News Analysis

Bill McEwen

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, is the top choice of likely voters in the statewide survey. He is garnering 28% support. Cox follows at 14% and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is third, with 12% support. Cox nearly doubled his 7% support in the previous PPIC poll.

For Villaraigosa, this is a significant drop and suggests that the more voters get to know him, the less they support him. He polled at 21% in the January PPIC poll and was virtually tied with Newsom.

In addition, Cox appears to be benefiting from the self-financing of his campaign and the large number of Democrats in the field. Cox has given $3 million to his campaign chest and says that he will spend up to $1 million more. His GOP rival, Assemblyman Travis Allen, is struggling for contributions and is largely waging his “Shake Up California” campaign on social media.

But, for all of the candidates trailing Newsom, one number from the PPIC poll looms large and offers hope of qualifying for November’s general election. As was the case in January, 24% of voters are undecided.

Feinstein Way Ahead of de León

In the state’s other high-profile race, Dianne Feinstein continues to dominate state Sen. Kevin de León, a fellow Democrat, in her quest for a fifth term in the U.S. Senate. Feinstein, a centrist Democrat, is attracting 42% compared to 16% for the more liberal de León. The poll shows that 39% of voters in that race are undecided.

“Gavin Newsom and Dianne Feinstein have solid leads in the gubernatorial and senate races. Yet many voters remain undecided, raising questions about the outcomes in the top-two primary.” — PPIC’s Mark Baldassare

“Gavin Newsom and Dianne Feinstein have solid leads in the gubernatorial and senate races,” said Mark Baldassare, CEO and president of PPIC. “Yet many voters remain undecided, raising questions about the outcomes in the top-two primary.”

Here’s how other gubernatorial candidates are faring: Allen is at 10% followed by Democrats John Chiang (6%) and Delaine Eastin (5%). Pollsters did not ask voters about late Democratic entry Amanda Renteria.

Strong Support for Water Bond

Proposition 68 to fund water infrastructure projects is on the June ballot. Two-thirds of likely voters (66%) say they would vote for it.

Democrats (78%) overwhelmingly favor the bond, as do a strong majority of independents (66%). Republican support, however, is lukewarm (51%).

High-Speed Rail Support Erodes

By comparison, fewer likely voters (32%) say the high-speed rail project is very important to California’s future. Among registered voters, Democrats (67%) are more likely than independents (48%) and far more likely than Republicans (28%) to back high-speed rail.

Much More in Poll for Political Junkies

Go to the PPIC home page at this link to access the poll, which includes extensive information on state and national issues.

Polling Methodology

Findings in the PPIC report are based on a survey of 1,706 California adult residents, including 1,193 interviewed on cell phones and 513 interviewed on landline telephones. Interviews took an average of 18 minutes to complete. Interviewing took place on weekend days and weekday nights from March 4–13, 2018. The sampling error is plus or minus 3.4% percent.

View GV Wire’s video interviews with the candidates at these links:


4 Responses

  1. Patricia Tighe

    Out of 19 Million people 1700 are polled and you expect us to believe that poll as a guage for the election.  I don’t think so.  In 2013 John Cox was still living between Illinois and California.  He hasn’t even lived full-time in California for five years and he wants the top position in California Government.  Cox has had four other failed elections; President, Senator, Congressman and clerk.  He’s never won any elections.  Cox failed twice to get his Neighborhood Legislature on the ballot, which is good because it would increase the government by 12,000.  Cox is from Chicago.  He said California is worse than Chicago.  When asked what his plan was for California he said he has two years to tell us his plan for California.  My family and I will vote for Assemblyman Travis Allen for Governor of California.  Travis Allen has a viable plan to save California from the socialist who are trying to destroy it.  Cox calls himself a progressive.  Cox donated to Soros’ Mayday PAC.  Cox voted for Gary Johnson for president, the open borders and pro illegal alien candidate.
    Cox is a Democrat. 

    • Scott Stevenson

      “Out of 19 Million people 1700 are polled and you expect us to believe that poll as a guage for the election.”

      Just because you don’t understand how statistics work doesn’t mean that they don’t.

  2. Kate

    We the People want Travis Allen for governor! Cox is a weak candidate reminiscent of failed Kashkari( did he even campaign?) or weak Whitman. Seems that the powers that be in this state consistently want to run RINOs that cannot win. Brown has little support for his grandiose plans and his constantly rising taxation has alienated most voters. Gruesome Newsom is MUCH WORSE, we will not survive him! TRAVIS ALLEN is a dynamic, insightful candidate wh could win this thing!

  3. Gary W Moore

    Californian’s got screwed when the state gov, voted on the highest 2 vote getters for the run off. We have no choice since the most populated areas, the major cities, control the vote. It’s either a democrat socialist or a socialist democrat. What we have in Ca. is basically a dictatorship run by socialist, tax and spend democrats. With a dem majority in both the state senate and assembly and a dem governor, the state will eventually collapse and the taxpayers will foot the bill, as usual. Remember Venezuela. California had better get some checks and balances in this state while there is time, but we are quickly running out of that. CalTrans just spent a billion dollars abd 2 years, revamping the innerchange at State 91 and I-15. What did we get. A longer toll road, a disappearing carpool lane, and gridlock worse that before. Does that sound like the dems. know what in the hell to do with our money??


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