Politics & society, Research

IGS Poll: Newsom and Cox pad their leads in governor's race

By Joel Bahr

An "I Voted" sticker
California's statewide primary will be held on June 5, 2018 (Photo by Andy Thrasher via Flickr)
An "I Voted" sticker

California's statewide primary will be held on June 5, 2018 (Photo by Andy Thrasher via Flickr)

With less than one week before California’s June 5 primary, Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox appear to be pulling away from a crowded field of gubernatorial candidates, according to a new poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS).

The Berkeley IGS Poll results show Newsom, the current lieutenant governor and former San Francisco mayor, still leading the field, favored by 33 percent of likely voters. Cox, a San Diego businessman, sits in second, pulling in 20 percent of likely voters. Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Los Angeles mayor, and Republican Travis Allen, a state assemblyman representing the 72nd Assembly District, slot in behind the two frontrunners, with 13 percent and 12 percent of the vote, respectively. The top two vote-getters in the primary, regardless of political party, will appear on the ballot in November.

Newsom has led the pack in the last five IGS polls. His support has grown from 22 percent last May to today’s 33 percent. Cox has seen his support double since December.

Voter preferences in the governor’s race are highly partisan. The poll results show that 89 percent of likely Democratic voters say they’ll cast ballots for Democratic candidates, and half of those are backing Newsom. Similarly, GOP candidates are drawing 86 percent of votes cast by likely Republican voters, with Cox receiving the lion’s share (53 percent).

The two frontrunners are also both doing well with voters who have already cast early ballots. Polling data shows that among early voters, 38 percent went for Newsom and 23 percent for Cox. Allen was the only other candidate to draw double-digit support, pulling in 14 percent from early voters. Villaraigosa saw a slight uptick among early voters — from 9 percent in April to 13 percent — while support for Allen fell from 16 percent to 12 percent.

The Berkeley IGS poll was completed online from May 22 – 28 among a statewide random sample of 2,106 likely voters in English and Spanish. Voters were drawn from the state voter rolls by Political Data, Inc., who is partnering with the Berkeley IGS poll in its pre-election polling this year.

Read the full survey on the Berkeley IGS Poll website