Even though Jerry Brown is not an official candidate, a new Field Poll finds California's attorney general has a strong lead in next year's campaign for governor.
Brown, who was governor from 1975 to 1983, has yet to enter the race officially. His Democratic rival, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, has been campaigning for months, as have the three Republicans vying for their party's nomination.
Age, gender and location of voters really impacted the results. Younger voters are more swayed by Newsom, giving the San Francisco mayor a boost in the poll.
"Among younger voters in the 18-39 age group, Newsom leads Brown 41 percent to 32 percent." pollsters Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field wrote. "However, Brown leads Newsom by 30 points among voters age 40 to 64, and by a huge 45 points among seniors age 65 or older."
It's a toss up for the Republican voters, with "undecided" leading the way. Half had yet to make up their minds in the contest between former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman, former congressman Tom Campbell and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, according to the poll.
Whitman has been making a lot of headlines lately, as she admitted a less-than-loyal voting record.
That could be the reason behind her poor showing in the Field Poll.
Former Congressman Tom Campbell is in a statistical dead heat with Whitman in the poll even though his campaign is operating on a tiny budget. Campbell leads Whitman in Northern California. The poll found 22 percent of voters backing Whitman, 20 percent backing Campbell and nine percent saying State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is their choice.
San Francisco politics might play well for the entire state. Newsom's recent appearance in Los Angeles with his biggest supporter, former President Bill Clinton, will likely not convince voters that he should be governor. Brown holds a 20-point lead over Newsom in Southern California but Newsom is the clear winner in the northern region.
The heavy hitter's support might not help Newsom's campaign in the long run. A recent blog post in "Newsweek" suggests the timing of the announcement was all wrong and sets up his run for an "Impending Implosion."
The state's gender gap is also evident in the findings. "Brown maintains a solid lead over Newsom among males – 56 percent to 22 percent." DeCamillo and Field wrote. "However, among women preferences are somewhat closer – 40 percent Brown and 31 percent Newsom."
It's unlikely that Senator Dianne Feinstein will leave her seat to run, but if she did, she'd have the lead over both Newsom and Brown, the poll revealed. Asked their preference should Feinstein become a candidate, voters have a clear choice.
The primary election is in June.