Poll: Voters want more choices in Calif. governor race

By Chris Rizo | Nov 8, 2009

Jerry Brown (D)

Gavin Newsom (D)

Dan Schnur

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Democrats say they want to see other candidates besides Attorney General Jerry Brown run for their party's gubernatorial nomination next year, a poll indicates.

About 65 percent of Democrats and independents say that they are dissatisfied with their choices in the 2010 Democratic primary -- so far limited to one possible candidate: Brown.

Roughly 40 percent of the subset said they see Brown favorably, The Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll shows.

"Overwhelmingly, Democrats made it clear to us that they would like to see other options," Dan Schnur, director of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, told reporters Sunday.

Although Brown, the 71-year-old three-time U.S. presidential hopeful, has not formally entered the gubernatorial race, he has formed an exploratory committee, allowing him to raise money for a potential bid.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was the only officially declared Democratic candidate. He abruptly exited the race this month, citing family and responsibilities at City Hall.

Among possible oft-mentioned Democratic candidates as of late: U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee.

The USC poll also found that the overwhelming majority Californians -- 80 percent -- are unhappy with the direction of the Golden State, while 14 percent said they feel California is moving in the right direction. By comparison, 55 percent of respondents said they feel the nation is on the wrong track.

"Not only are voters unhappy, they're skeptical of their political leadership," said Schnur, an A-list Republican political strategist who has worked on several U.S. presidential campaigns.

Although Brown has a mediocre favorability rating, his potential Republican challengers have even more tepif support, with none of them polling with more than 20 percent, the survey indicates.

Running for the GOP nomination to succeed Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are: former EBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman, former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Schwarzenegger is unable to seek reelection because of term limits. Brown, who was California governor from 1975 to 1983, held office before the term limits law was enacted, thus allowing him to run again.

The Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll of 1,500 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3. The poll's margin of error is 5.2 percentage points.

The poll was conducted by the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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