Democrat Gavin Newsom has a dominant lead over Republican John Cox in California’s race for governor, a contest in which a significant number of voters appear to have cast ballots strategically to sway the outcome of the state’s top-two primary, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.
Forty-five percent of registered voters who said they planned to vote in the November race intend to support Newsom, while Cox won the support of 28% of those who plan to cast ballots, according to the poll. Twenty-seven percent of those voters were undecided.
“Voters are learning how to strategically game the system,” said Bob Shrum, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. “I think we’re going to see more of this in California.”
Two-thirds of voters polled said they cast ballots in the June 5 primary for the candidate who best reflected their beliefs, or who they believed would be the best to lead the state. But 1 in 5 voters said they decided whom to support with the goal of making sure someone from their party advanced to the November general election or for a Democrat-on-Democrat contest.