Rep. Jane Harman has emerged as a leading contender for the Democratic nomination for California governor just five weeks after announcing her candidacy, according to a Field poll released Wednesday.
Since last month's poll, Harman more than tripled her support to 17% in the statewide survey of 1,143 registered voters regardless of party affiliation. Northwest Airlines mogul Al Checchi followed with 15% and Lt. Gov. Gray Davis had 11%.
Among Democrats, 27% said they preferred Harman while 20% chose Checchi.
The figures were all within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
State Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren, the likely Republican nominee, was chosen by 24% of likely voters regardless of party affiliation. Forty-seven percent of Republican voters named Lungren as their likely choice for the primary.
For the first time, the candidates will appear on the same ballot in June as part of the blanket primary approved by California voters in March 1996.
Harman apparently was helped by an avalanche of statewide television ads, said Mark DiCamillo, the Field Poll's research director.
Harman had substantial support although she remains the least-known candidate in the governor's race. Just 44% of voters recognize her name, compared with 55% for Checchi and 60% for Davis.