Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom enters the final weeks of California’s 2018 governo’s race with a solid lead over Republican businessman John Cox, according to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Wednesday morning.
The findings provide little hope to Cox’ long-shot campaign as vote-by-mail ballots begin arriving at homes and Newsom, with an immense fundraising advantage, floods televisions and cellphones across the state with a steady stream of campaign ads.
According to the survey, 54 percent of likely voters in the state favored Newsom for governor compared to 31 percent who support Cox. The remainder were undecided. The margin of error for likely voters is 4 percentage points.
“Cox has Mt. Everest to climb when you look at these (numbers),” said Robert Shrum, co-director of USC’s Center for the Political Future and a longtime Democratic strategist, The Times reported. “Barring some massive event, it’s very difficult to see how he makes up this.”
One of the most telling indicators of which candidate California voters favor is seen in their starkly divergent opinions about President Trump, The Times reported. His performance as president got a thumbs down from more than two-thirds of the likely voters in the state, the survey found. Among likely voters who disapprove of Trump, 77 percent support Newsom. Among those who approve of Trump, 87 percent back Cox.
Shrum said the animosity towards Trump is expected to increase voter turnout in California to a level higher than usual in a midterm, election. That would only add to Newsom’s advantage in November; the Democrats have close to a 20-percentage-point edge over the GOP in voter registration in California.
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