USC Dornsife/LA Times Poll: Villaraigosa trails Newsom in CA governor race; Feinstein holds wide lead

November 9, 2017

The statewide USC Dornsife/LA Times Poll is back, measuring Californians’ opinions on political candidates, Gov. Brown and President Trump, top voter issues, and sentiments about immigration, the new gas tax and the recent NFL protests.  Results will be released in sets through Sunday, Nov. 12. A press call is set for 2 p.m. today.

Contact: Emily Gersema, (213) 361-6730 or, or James Key, (213) 821-2992  or

WHAT:  A year out from the 2018 mid-term elections, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll of Californians shows Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom leading former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the race for governor.

Among registered voters, Newsom leads Villaraigosa 31 percent to 21 percent.

The statewide poll also shows that among registered voters, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, is holding a lead as wide as 24 percentage points over challenger California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. Feinstein first won the seat in 1992 in a special election.

This USC Dornsife/LA Times California Poll is an expansion of a partnership among the LA Times and the Unruh Institute of Politics and the Center for Economic and Social Research, both at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Their partnership began last year with the USC Dornsife/LAT Times Daybreak presidential election poll. Its results stood out among national polls as it pointed toward the possibility of a Trump victory. All of the data from the poll were available online.

The latest statewide poll is also internet-based, with methodology information available  The survey, conducted Oct. 27-Nov 6, asked Californians what they regard as the most important issues facing their state, as well as their opinions on President Trump, Gov. Jerry Brown, immigration issues, the state’s new gas tax, and the recent protests by NFL players including former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Results from those questions will be released in sets over the next three days.


The poll was conducted online among 1,504 Californians Oct. 27-Nov 6. The poll’s margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for all eligible voters, and plus or minus 4 percentage points among registered voters. Results are among registered voters, unless otherwise indicated. More details about the methodology are online.


Reporters can access the data as it is released via this Unruh Institute poll website.

Data tables will be added to the webpage in the following order:

  • 1 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 9: Senate and gubernatorial races
  • Noon, Friday, Nov. 10: Results on questions about California’s important issues, immigration matters and the gas tax
  • 8 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 12: Results on questions about the NFL protests and Kaepernick

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: Bob Shrum, director of the Unruh Institute, and Jill Darling, survey director of the Center for Economic and Social Research, will be available for questions during two teleconference calls – one at 2 p.m. PT today (Thursday) focusing on the Senate and Gubernatorial data, and a second one at 1 p.m. PT, Friday  on California issues.

RSVP for the teleconference calls by contacting Emily Gersema at or James Key at to reserve your spot on the call.

About the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll: The poll is designed to survey California voter attitudes on a wide range of political, policy, social and cultural issues. Conducted at regular intervals throughout the year, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is a partnership among the LA Times and two institutions at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences: the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics and the Center for Economic and Social Research. The poll helps inform the public and encourages discourse on key political and policy issues.