Poll: Antonio Villaraigosa closes in on Gavin Newsom's lead in California governor's race

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Antonio Villaraigosa and Gavin Newsom are seen in undated file photos.
Antonio Villaraigosa and Gavin Newsom are seen in undated file photos.

Gavin Newsom is leading the way in the race to be California's next governor, but fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa and Republican John Cox are not too far behind, according to an exclusive Eyewitness News Southern California News Group Poll conducted by Survey USA.

Newsom, California's lieutenant governor, is the front-runner of the gubernatorial race with 21 percent. This lead is fluid enough that neither Villaraigosa at 18 percent nor Cox at 15 percent can be called a clear No. 2 before California's June. 5 top-2 primary, according to the poll results. All three gubernatorial candidates have an opportunity to advance to the Nov. 6 runoff election.

Poll results show that Villaraigosa's support is disproportionately Latino, moderate, low-income, female and resides in the greater Los Angeles area. The poll also shows that Cox is backed mostly by whites, conservatives and suburban men throughout the state.

Newsom has formed a broad, affluent, educated, liberal coalition, anchored in the Bay Area with equal support in urban, suburban and rural parts of California, the poll shows.

In the Senate, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, the most senior woman in the United States Senate, remains a shoo-in to advance to the November runoff. Feinstein polls at 39 percent and has a tailwind as she approaches the primary finish line. Her likely November opponent, Republican Patrick Little, polls at 18 percent overall, and his rural coalition is strong enough that he ties Feinstein in California's Central Valley, the poll found.

According to poll results, 63 percent of Democrats are sticking with Feinstein, who is backed by 57 percent of liberals, 48 percent of moderates, 46 percent of Bay Area residents, 45 percent of suburban women and 44 percent of seniors. Little is backed by 46 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of conservatives, results show. His support is disproportionately older, high-school educated and lower-income.

The poll also touched on the high-profile showdown between California Gov. Jerry Brown and President Donald Trump regarding the appropriate use of National Guard troops.

In this regard, the poll shows that California is divided, with 30 percent statewide saying California National Guard troops should be sent to the border to prevent potential immigrants from crossing into the U.S. illegally, 36 percent saying that once deployed, the National Guard should only focus on crime such as gangs and drugs and 27 percent saying the National Guard should not be sent to the Mexican border in the first place.

In the November general election, voters will have a chance to vote on CAL3, a proposal seeking to split California into three autonomous states, and also asking Congress to permit a 51st and 52nd star to be sewn on the American flag. Polled voters are 4:1 opposed to CAL3.

MORE: People may get chance to vote on splitting California into 3 states

It looks like voters could get a chance to decide whether California should be split into three states.

SurveyUSA interviewed 1,100 adults from the state of California April 19 through April 23. Of the adults, 916 were registered to vote and were asked the questions about CAL3 and the California National Guard. Of the registered voters, 520 were identified by SurveyUSA as likely to vote in the June. 5 primary and were asked the questions about the primary for governor and senator. This research was conducted online.

Here are the poll's questions and the respondents' answers, by percentage:

"Are you registered to vote in the state of California?"

83% Yes

15% No

2% Not Sure

"California will hold a primary for Governor and United States Senator on Tuesday, June 5th. Not everyone has a chance to vote in a primary. Would you say you are ..."

5% Certain Not To Vote

7% Unlikely To Vote

26% Likely To Vote

57% Certain To Vote

5% Not Sure

"If the primary for Governor of California were today and all of these names appeared on the primary ballot, who would you vote for?" (candidate names rotated)

21% Gavin Newsom (D)

18% Antonio Villaraigosa (D)

9% John Chiang (D)

10% Travis Allen (R)

15% John Cox (R)

1% Delaine Eastin (D)

3% Amanda Renteria (D)

4% Robert Newman (R)

1% Other

17% Undecided

"If the primary for United States Senator were today, and these names all appeared on your primary ballot, who would you vote for?" (candidate names rotated)

39% Dianne Feinstein (D)

18% Patrick Little (R)

8% Kevin De Leon (D)

4% Alison Hartson (D)

4% John Melendez (D)

8% Rocky De La Fuente (R)

2% Other

17% Undecided

"In the November general election, California voters will be asked to vote yes or no on an initiative called CAL3. CAL3 would divide the state of California into 3 separate states. CAL3 has nothing to do with Cal-Exit. In CAL3, one state, called Northern California, would include the Bay Area and all of Northern California up to Oregon. A second state, called California, would include most of California's coastal region, from Long Beach on the South to Monterey on the North. And a third state, Southern California, would include the Southern and Inland portions of the state, including San Diego, Riverside, Bakersfield and Fresno. If you were marking your November ballot now, would you vote yes, to divide California into 3 separate states, or would you vote No, to leave California alone?" (Map of divided CA shown to respondents)

17% Vote Yes To Divide

72% Vote No To Leave CA Alone

10% Undecided

"There is a debate about whether troops from the California National Guard should be sent to the Mexican border. Should California National Guard troops be sent to the Mexican border to patrol for people attempting to cross the border illegally? Should they be sent with orders to only focus on gang and drug activity? Or should they not be sent to the border at all?"

30% Patrol For Those Crossing

36% Focus On Gangs & Drugs

27% Should Not Be Sent

7% Not Sure