According to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) poll released on Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom currently has a commanding 2-to-1 lead over Republican challenger Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) in the Gubernatorial race.
The IGS poll, the first major poll of the race, found that 52% of Californians would vote for Newsom, with only 25% voting for Dahle. 19% remain undecided, with 4% looking at possible write-in options. Based on geography, Newsom is beating Dahle in every region. The biggest gap is in the Bay area, with Newsom a 64%-16% margin, with the gap being the smallest in the North Coast/Sierras, Dahle’s Senate territory, with a 38%-34% showing.
Among Gender, Racial, and Age categories, Newsom is also polling at 50% or more in each demographic, with Dahle’s supporters skewing older and male. However, a big reason for this has been Dahle’s status as a political unknown to many in the race, with 58% of all voters being unfamiliar enough with Dahle to give an opinion according to the poll. In total 53% of voters, including 80% of all Democrats, hold a favorable opinion of Newsom, with 39% showing unfavorable views and 8% not having an opinion. Dahle, meanwhile, has 24% favorability, 18% unfavourability, and 58% no opinion.
When it comes to job performance, Newsom takes a dive, with 53% approving of his performance, but 42% disapproving of it. Even worse for Newsom, 52% of all voters feel that the state is on the wrong track, with the amount growing since the June primary. But, despite Newsom remaining lukewarm in overall popularity and Governance, he still has crowded out Dahle and remains in the national spotlight due to speculation in the last few months that he may run for President in 2024.
Newsom leads Dahle in CA Governor’s race
“Newsom isn’t doing so hot, but he has remained more positive than not with the voters, so far,” explained Erica Ziegler, an elections consultant who specializes in Gubernatorial races, to the Globe on Tuesday. “He beat the recall and has been improving his image since, even vetoing more radical legislation he would have signed a few years ago to appeal to more people while also keeping his base. Californians are concerned about crime, the economy, many Californians leaving the state, taxes, and affordable housing and homelessness, and so far he has managed to not get nailed down on any of those issues like he had been during the signature gathering process of the recall election with the French Laundry mask incident. He’s also overseeing a large surplus, and for many it is hard to argue with a Governor who is bringing in money.”
“In fact, this election isn’t about how strong Newsom is, but who the GOP picked. Dahle. He’s a solid state Senator, but he has little name recognition outside of far North California. The majority of voters don’t know anything about him besides his party and name. That’s a huge issue. And it’s not like there aren’t California Republicans who aren’t well known. It’s just that none of them ran, so they went with one of the few people who ran with political experience.”
“Dahle needs to get traction, but right now it is pretty hard. Besides name recognition, there are funding issues. Newsom’s war chest is $24 million, and he is spending some of that out of state with ads in in other places. Dahle? $300,000. That’s one full ride scholarship at Stanford. It’s peanuts compared to Newsom. We all know it is hard for the GOP to win in California, but even here it’s a bit ridiculous.”
“For Newsom, he just needs to coast through and he’ll be fine. Dahle, he needs to capitalize on all of Newsom’s mistakes and really start slamming him on all of these outrageous things he has done or else he is just going to be left spinning the wheels. I think a goal for the GOP, at this point, is to keep Newsom under 60% and have Dahle get above 38%, just to show there has been progress since 2018. And the poll shows that that can go either way. Newsom is looking at higher office right now, and most candidates would do something while the other guy has his eyes off the prize.”
More polls are expected in the coming weeks to show how the race is progressing for both candidates.
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