Newsom retains edge in governor’s race, but many voters still unsure

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Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is still the favorite for governor in next June’s top-two primary, according to the latest Berkeley IGS Poll. But it’s the third consecutive survey to show that one in three of voters polled are unable to name a preferred successor to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Three other candidates are vying for second place behind Newsom. They include former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, and two Republicans, businessman John Cox of San Diego and Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen.

The survey, conducted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, also revealed five top issues among voters:

  • The economy and jobs, named by 74 percent as their top concern.
  • Health care policies, 67 percent.
  • Crime and law enforcement, 60 percent.
  • Immigration and policies affecting undocumented immigrants, 60 percent.
  • State spending policies, 57 percent.

Among 20 possible concerns suggested to those surveyed, voters gave the the lowest rankings to affirmative action policies in California colleges and universities and to California’s high-speed rail project.

When asked about their top issues and their choice for governor, only those supporting Newsom chose environmental policies as one of their top five concerns, the poll found.

State spending and tax policies made the lists of top concerns for voters backing a Republican candidate, but not for those favoring Villaraigosa or Newsom.

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