07/27/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Brown Leads Newsom in CA Gov Race

The latest J Moore Methods survey finds Jerry Brown leading Gavin Newsom in a two-way race for the 2010 Democratic nomination for governor 46-to-26 percent. It's the first serious poll we know about that considers a Brown-Newsom match-up.

Because at least half of us at Calbuzz have been in the polling business (hint: it's the much younger guy), we're pretty darn careful about putting much stock in private polls. In this case, however, we've got data (and crosstabs) from a guy whose work and reputation we know is rock solid, whose client is not one of the candidates and who has no horse in the race.

So with 525 completed surveys with Democrats and independents and a 4.7 percent margin of error, this June 20-23 phone survey of California voters is packed with reliable data about the shape of the Democratic race.

Newsom's spinners see a 46-26 percent race as a half-empty glass for Brown. It's a sign of weakness, they argue, that a current statewide official, former governor and son of a governor, who's been on the state ballot 13 times can't manage 50% against a statewide newbie from San Francisco.

Good spin, but just that.

Not only does Brown -- who has yet to announce his candidacy -- hold a 20-point lead more than a year before the primary, but among voters age 60 and older, the AG's lead is 54-20 percent. And that matters because, as Moore told us: "The average age in the June 2010 Democratic primary electorate will likely be over 60."

As Calbuzz sees it, Newsom has a humongous challenge.

According to data from the Secretary of State, the average age of a voter in November 2008 (that's the Obama election, for Calbuzzers with short memories) was 50, and Moore's polling suggests the average age of voters in the November 2010 general will be about 57.

The aging electorate - a function of both the Baby Boom bubble working its way through the system and a younger generation of voters who are not as politically engaged - not only favors Brown over Newsom in the primary but also is likely to help the General in the general as well.

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