SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown has a big lead as he seeks re-election to an unprecedented fourth term, far outpacing any of the three top Republican challengers, according to a Field Poll released Wednesday.
The survey says 57 percent of likely voters would choose the Democratic governor, while 17 percent of likely voters support state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, 3 percent favor Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount, and 2 percent support former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari.
Donnelly, who represents a district in San Bernardino County, has been campaigning for nearly a year but has raised just $373,000 so far this year. By comparison, Kashkari announced his bid in January and has amassed $1.3 million in campaign contributions.
Even so, he remains virtually unknown. Only 3 percent of likely Republican voters preferred Kashkari, while nearly four in 10 did not know who they would support in the governor’s race.
Kashkari’s fourth-place showing was a surprise to some who have sought to make the first-time candidate the new face of the state Republican Party. The poll has a sampling error rate of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for likely voters, meaning Kashkari is virtually tied with Blount, who has raised no outside money but loaned his campaign $12,000.
“More than 50 percent of voters don’t know much about any of the candidates, which shows us that it’s really going to come down to the voter contact,” said Jessica Ng, a spokeswoman for Kashkari. “We’re confident we’re going to have the resources to connect with voters and communicate his message.”
Donnelly promoted the poll results in posts on his Twitter and Facebook pages Wednesday, saying he is clearly the strongest GOP candidate, with a “definitive and growing lead over big government bailout architect” Kashkari, who ran the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program at the height of the recession.
Brown has nearly $20 million in the bank for his re-election campaign. The top two finishers in the June primary, regardless of party, will move on to the November general election.
The survey also says that 59 percent of registered voters approve of the job Brown is doing, his highest rating since he began his latest tenure in January 2011.
Field interviewed 1,000 registered voters, including 504 likely voters, by telephone from March 18 to April 5. The poll has a sampling error rate of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for registered voters.