The big winner from the Republican primary for Governor in California? It might be Jerry Brown. The likely Democratic nominee, benefiting from bad feelings between Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, has commanding double digit leads over both of them.
Brown is up 48-36 on Whitman and 48-32 on Poizner. There are almost no races in the country this year where Democratic voters are more unified than the Republicans- in almost every case there are more Democrats voting for GOP candidates than vice versa. That's not the case in California though where Brown takes 79% of the Democratic vote to Whitman's 72% of the Republican vote and 78% of the Democratic vote to Poizner's 67% of the Republican vote. Brown is bucking another overwhelming national trend by leading both of the GOP contenders with independents.
These results aren't particularly surprising in light of what we found in our polling on the GOP primary in the race. Whitman voters have a very negative opinion of Poizner and Poizner voters have a very negative opinion of Whitman. That's a dynamic more often seen in general election contests than primaries, and it's hampering the ability of both Republican candidates to be competitive with Brown this fall.
Brown is not particularly popular with 37% of voters having a favorable opinion of him to 39% with an unfavorable one. Amazingly after Brown's decades in the California political spotlight 24% of voters have no opinion of him but that speaks both to the length of time since he last served as Governor and also how hard it is to really make an impact on voters in such a large state. Brown looks like Mr. Popularity though when his favorability numbers are compared with those of Whitman and Poizner. Just 24% of voters see Whitman positively, with 44% having a negative opinion of her. And Poizner's even a little worse with 19% holding a favorable opinion of him to 43% unfavorable.
Republicans are going to have a lot of healing to do in the general election if this is going to be a competitive race. For now Brown is a strong favorite.
Full results here