Jerry Brown, Tim Donnelly lead California governor’s race, poll finds

California Republican gubernatorial candidates Neel Kashkari, left, and Tim Donnelly shake hands at a radio debate in Anaheim earlier this month. A new Stanford University poll shows Donnelly leading his GOP rival in the bid to challenge Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in November.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown holds a commanding lead in his bid for reelection and Republican tea party favorite Tim Donnelly, an assemblyman from Twin Peaks in San Bernardino County, remains his strongest challenger, according to a new opinion poll released by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on Wednesday.

Donnelly leads GOP rival Neel Kashkari, a former banker and U.S. Treasury official with a more centrist agenda, by a 2-to-1 margin, according to the poll.

Still, 36% of Californians polled supported Brown, compared to 12% for Donnelly and 5% for Kashkari. More than a third of those polled remained undecided, according to the poll, which was conducted by YouGov for the Hoover Institution.


A poll released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California found 48% of likely primary voters favored Brown, followed by 15% for Donnelly and 10% for Kashkari.

The two candidates for governor who receive the most votes in the June 3 primary, regardless of party, will face off in the general election in November.

When asked how the state should handle California’s projected budget surplus, residents were split. They favored offering refunds to taxpayers or using the money for schools, water resources or socking the surplus away in a rainy day fund. Only 2% of those polled named state-sponsored preschool, which is being pushed by some Democratic leaders in the Legislature, as a top priority, according to the poll.

The poll was conducted between May 7 and May 19, and included Web-based interviews of 1,000 Californians. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.99 percentage points.