john cox

John Cox, GOP candidate for California governor, speaks to reporters during an August 2017 meeting with The Business Journal. Photo by Leah Canseco-Decker

published on April 16, 2018 - 2:02 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A San Joaquin Valley survey conducted by Fresno State found Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox leading a close field of candidates for the 2018 gubernatorial election.

About 15 percent of respondents to the survey conducted by the Institute for Leadership and Public Policy said they would vote for Newsom if the election were held now, while 12 percent would support Cox.

Republican Travis Allen came in third with 11 percent of registered voters indicating they would vote for him, while Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa is fourth with 9 percent. A significant percentage of voters in the San Joaquin Valley remain undecided, with nearly four out of 10 indicating no candidate preference.

“The survey suggests that the gubernatorial race in the San Joaquin Valley is up for grabs,” said Dr. Jeff Cummins, a political science professor at Fresno State and the co-director of the institute. “Voters are not that familiar with the candidates, as indicated by the high percentage of undecided voters, probably because the gubernatorial candidates have held very few campaign events in the Valley.”

The new survey also shows a majority of registered voters in the San Joaquin Valley support repeal of the gas taxes that the governor and legislature adopted last year. Overall, 58 percent of respondents said they would support repeal of the taxes if the election were held today, while 36 percent would vote to keep them.

In the race for the U.S. Senate, incumbent U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein received the most support in the survey with 29 percent indicating that they would vote for her if the election were held today. Sixteen percent of respondents said they would vote for former State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. Nearly four of 10 voters said they would support someone else besides Feinstein and de León, indicating dissatisfaction with the current field of candidates.

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