CA-Gov: Brown Leads Primary Field

Tulchin Research (3/31-4/2, likely voters, no trendlines):

Jerry Brown (D): 31

Gavin Newsom (D): 16

Antonio Villaraigosa (D): 12

John Garamendi (D): 11

Jack O’Connell (D): 6

Other: 4

(MoE: 4.5%)

The rehabilitation of AG and former governor Jerry Brown continues apace; a new-ish poll from Tulchin Research gives Brown a 15-point lead over his nearest competition, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. (I’ve never heard of Tulchin before, so although this has the trappings of a public poll, I’m wondering where it originated.) This is a slightly better showing for Brown than other recent polls of this race; two previous polls from February of Dianne Feinstein-free trials runs on the Dem primary gave Brown leads of 4 and 7 (from Field and Lake, respectively).

The poll has some interesting geographical and age crosstabs. The Bay Area and Central Valley are the only areas where Newson is competitive with Brown (Brown leads Newsom 30-26 in the SF market). You might expect LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to be competitive with Brown in the Los Angeles area, but he doesn’t seem too popular on his own turf (Brown leads him 36-19 there), which explains his low numbers overall.

Also, as other polls have noted, this is all about age, and who remembers Brown from his first go-round. The youthful Newsom is kicking ass among the 18-39 crowd, beating Brown 29-16 (with Villaraigosa in second at 19). But Brown wins this on the backs of the 65+ demographic, where Brown beats Newson 38-8 (with John Garamendi at 16 and Villaraigosa at 13). With Garamendi’s apparent withdrawal from the race, his relative strength among seniors suggests that his votes may migrate disproportionately to Brown too.

CA-Gov: Brown, Whitman Lead Primary Packs

Field Poll (2/20-3/1, registered voters):

Dianne Feinstein (D): 38

Jerry Brown (D): 16

Antonio Villaraigosa (D): 16

Gavin Newsom (D): 10

John Garamendi (D): 4

Steve Westly (D): 2

Bill Lockyer (D): 1

Jack O’Connell (D): 1

Jerry Brown (D): 26

Antonio Villaraigosa (D): 22

Gavin Newsom (D): 16

John Garamendi (D): 8

Steve Westly (D): 2

Bill Lockyer (D): 2

Jack O’Connell (D): 2

(MoE: ±5.5%)

Meg Whitman (R): 21

Tom Campbell (R): 18

Steve Poizner (R): 7

(MoE: ±5.8%)

Lake Research (D) (2/17-2-19, likely voters):

Jerry Brown (D): 27

Antonio Villaraigosa (D): 20

Gavin Newsom (D): 14

John Garamendi (D): 8

Steve Westly (D): 3

Jack O’Connell (D): 1

(MoE: ±5.7%)

Jerry Brown (D): 43

Meg Whitman (R): 27

Jerry Brown (D): 41

Steve Poizner (R): 30

Gavin Newsom (D): 40

Meg Whitman (R): 25

Gavin Newsom (D): 38

Steve Poizner (R): 29

(MoE: ±3.5%)

Two polls are out in the 2010 California governor’s race, the big enchilada of all the gubernatorial seats. One is from Field, the gold-standard of California pollsters; the other is from Democratic internal pollster Lake Research (which doesn’t have a candidate in the race). Field polls both primaries but not the general; Lake polls the Dem primary and some general head-to-heads. Taken cumulatively, the most likely result seems to be that Governor Moonbeam may well ride again, in one of politics’ most surprising second (or third or fourth) acts.

The Field Poll does two different runs on the Democratic primary, and finds that were Senator Dianne Feinstein to run, she’d mop up the rest of the field. While she has been occasionally linked to this race, she hasn’t made any visible moves toward running. Without Feinstein in the mix, AG Jerry Brown has a bit of an edge over Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. One interesting tidbit from the Field Poll is that young voters have no idea who Jerry Brown is (he was governor in the 70s, long enough ago that he’s grandfathered out of California’s term limits laws, allowing him to come back for more). Only 8% of 18-to-39 year-old voters support Brown, and 30% have no opinion of him.

On the Republican side, Field gives a small lead to former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who was a big McCain booster and seems to be staking out the party’s right flank. Ex-Rep. Tom Campbell (who lost the 2000 Senate race to DiFi and hasn’t sought office since then) does surprisingly well, considering how long he’s been out of the spotlight; apparently the moderate wing of the California GOP is still alive and kicking. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is a distant third, although he may shoot up once his free-spending ways kick in, especially given that more than half the GOP voters are undecided.

Lake puts up very similar numbers in the primary as the Feinstein-free Field poll. As for the general, they run head-to-heads involving Brown and Newsom, and find the Dems in pretty good shape, winning each matchup by double digits. Undecideds are still high (in the 30% ballpark), as would be expected at this point, but a Dem pickup is looking like a real possibility, assuming the primary doesn’t get too bloody.

SSP Daily Digest: 3/2

Time for the daily ganja break…

NY-20: Scott Murphy snagged the Independence Party line for the March 31 special election – a good get, even though it didn’t help Sandy Treadwell much last fall. Meanwhile, both Tedisco and the NRCC are up on the air with negative radio and TV ads. The DCCC also hits back with its first ad, attacking Tedisco for stimulus-related waffling while defending Murhpy against back taxes charges.

IL-Sen: Oh god – Roland Burris has rolled out a campaign website, complete with “Donate” link. Also, it should come as no surprise, but state treasurer (and Friend of Barack) Alexi Giannoulias made his interest official today, launching his exploratory committee. Meanwhile, Rep. Jan Schakowsky says she’ll jump in if there’s a special election, though she sounds leery about giving up her seat for a 2010 run.

DC Voting Rights: Steny Hoyer has promised a House vote this week on the DC Voting Rights Act. The bill should pass the House easily, given that a prior version sailed through in 2007. The real issue will be whether the conference committee settles on an at-large or traditional district for Utah. (D)

UT-Sen: Damn, Ken Jennings won’t run. Says Jennings: “I’ve decided to bow out of the election before even announcing, in order to spend more time with my family. (And when I say “with my family,” I mean, “screwing around on the Internet.”)” At least that’s an excuse we can all understand and accept. (D)

Polltopia: Public Policy Polling once again is letting readers decide which Senate race they’ll poll next. The choices: Connecticut, Delaware, and Kentucky. (J)

CA-Gov: Looks like John Garamendi, Gavin Newsom, Jerry Brown, and Antonio Villaraigosa are all dead serious about running for governor in 2010; they all jointly appeared before the San Fernando Valley Democrats this weekend.

OR-Gov: As DeFazio, Kitzhaber, Bradbury, et al. try to figure out who’s running, a dark horse may be sneaking past them: Portland City Councilor Randy Leonard, who may be able to count on substantial backing from organized labor.