With mail-in voting for the June primary set to begin in two weeks, the race for governor of California is narrowing.
Two Democrats, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, lead a crowded field for the states top elected position, with 21 percent and 18 percent of support respectively, according to an Eyewitness News/Southern California News Group poll conducted by Survey USA and released Tuesday.
But the poll also shows that the top Republican in the field, John Cox, draws 15 percent support, putting him within striking distance of finishing in the top two in June and advancing to the general election on Nov. 6.
All three candidates are building specific coalitions, the poll found.
Newsom is backed by suburban residents with college degrees, self-described liberals and, as former mayor of San Francisco, many residents of the Bay Area, according to the poll of 520 likely primary voters.
Villaraigosa is supported by many Latinos and pulls strong backing from lower-income residents, women and residents of Los Angeles.
Cox, a businessman and radio personality who lives in Rancho Santa Fe, is backed by whites, conservatives and men.
Five other gubernatorial candidates were mentioned, including Republican Travis Allen (10 percent) and Democrat John Chiang (9 percent). The poll, which focused on people likely to vote in the June primary, found 17 percent are undecided.
The online poll, conducted through Monday, also shows that U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has enough support (39 percent) to put her on track to win the June primary, and that Republican Patrick Little has enough backing (18 percent) to be the current No. 2 in that race.
If both candidates make it to November, 84-year-old Feinstein, seeking her fourth term in the Senate, would be a strong favorite in Democrat-heavy California.
The polling – which reached 916 registered voters, including 520 who said they are likely to vote in June – also shows that Californians are divided on the use of National Guard troops to help secure the border, a recent point of debate between California Gov. Jerry Brown and President Donald Trump.
About 30 percent say guard troops should be sent to the border and, once there, they should prevent people from crossing the border illegally, a policy favored by Trump.
Another group, 36 percent, say guard troops should go to the border, but only to focus on crime, drugs and gangs, the policy enacted by Brown.
A third group, 27 percent, say guard troops should not go to the border at all.
The poll also found strong opposition to a plan to carve California into three states. More than 7 in 10 voters (72 percent) said California should remain a single state. The idea, known as CAL3, will appear on the November ballot.