Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari, the two Republicans vying to make it into the top two with incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown in Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary, are in a statistical dead heat, a new poll finds.
Among likely primary voters, Brown leads with 50 percent while 18 percent favor Kashkari and 13 percent favor Donnelly – the first time any major public poll has showed Kashkari, a former Treasury Department official, leading Donnelly, a more conservative Assemblyman. But the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, meaning the Republicans basically are neck-and-neck.
Among Republican likely voters, 32 percent said they would vote for Kashkari in Tuesday’s primary election, 21 percent said they would vote for Donnelly and 17 percent said they would vote for Brown, while 23 percent of Republican likely voters remain undecided.
It certainly seems Kashkari’s May ad blitz – funded in large part by $2 million from his own pocket – had an effect, as he had been polling far behind Donnelly before that.
Either way, November isn’t looking like much of a contest. If the general election were held today, Brown would defeat Donnelly 54-26 and Kashkari 55-27, according to the poll conducted May 21-28.
“Establishment Republicans beat Tea Party candidates in Georgia, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon last week. If the trend continues in California — and there’s growing evidence it might — we may be witnessing a national trend towards a more moderate national Republican Party. If The Tea Party candidate wins in California, the internal party struggles will continue and likely exacerbate,” said Mike Madrid, co-director of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll, USC Unruh Institute Fellow and Republican strategist.
“With the Republican race in a statistical dead heat and with unprecedented levels of low voter turnout, a relatively small number of voters will be determining the ideological direction of the Republican party in California — and perhaps the image of the GOP nationally.”