Politics & Government

Poll shows Feinstein would be front-runner for California governor

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the instant front-runner if she jumps into the Democratic primary field for governor.

Many older voters would love to see a return of former Gov. Jerry Brown. But younger ones are mostly clueless on who he is.

Billionaire former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is the early leader for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. But she is so little-known that her favorability ratings among GOP voters lag behind Brown, California Republicans' most renowned liberal target.

Those are some of the findings in the state Field Poll's opening political score card for the 2010 gubernatorial race.

In a Feb. 20-March 1 poll of voter preferences for potential Democratic and Republican primary contests, Feinstein emerges as the clear voter favorite to date.

The 16-year U.S. senator, former San Francisco mayor and unsuccessful 1990 gubernatorial candidate is preferred by 38 percent of likely Democratic primary voters.

Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are tied for second at 16 percent, followed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom at 10 percent and Lt. Gov. John Garamendi at 4 percent.

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