SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS ) — Democrat Jerry Brown, running for California governor, and Democrat Barbara Boxer, seeking re-election as one of California’s two U.S. senators, have finished ahead of their Republican opponents for the first time in 2 months of CBS 5 KPIX-TV tracking polls, according to the latest poll data released Wednesday.

In the race for the open governor’s seat, Brown currently edges Republican Meg Whitman 46% to 43%, a result within the poll’s margin of error, but a result that reflects a 10-point swing to the Democrat over the past 3 weeks.

Download Full Poll Results (.pdf)

Brown has gained strength and Whitman has lost strength among young and old voters, men and women voters, and in all geographic regions of the state.

Similar movement in the U.S. Senate race benefits incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer, who currently edges Republican Carly Fiorina 49% to 43%, which is Boxer’s first lead in 2 months of CBS 5 polling and represents an eight-point swing to the Democrat over the past 3 weeks.

Boxer, like Brown, has gained as Fiorina has fallen among both men and women voters, young and old voters, and among voters geographically throughout the state.

By contrast, two other statewide contests in California polled at the same time show little or no movement, suggesting that the changes in the governor and U.S. Senate contest are real rather than the result of random sample variation, according to pollster SurveyUSA – who conducted the CBS 5 poll.

For lieutenant governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom is currently nominally atop incumbent Republican Abel Maldonado, 44% to 41%. Compared to 3 weeks ago, Newsom is flat; Maldonado is up a nominal 2 points. In 6 weeks of CBS 5 polling, San Francisco’s Mayor Newsom has never polled below 43% or above 44%, while Maldonado has never polled below 39% or above 42%.

Support for California’s Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana and allow for its regulation and taxation, also remains essentially unchanged over the past 3 weeks. Currently, 47% would vote “Yes” on 19, 42% would vote “No.”

Opposition to Prop. 19 is above 50% among conservatives, Republicans, tea party supporters, pro-life voters, and the oldest voters. Support is above 50% among men voters, younger voters, liberals, Democrats, pro-choice voters, higher-income voters, and among voters in the Bay Area.

On behalf of CBS 5, SurveyUSA from September 19th through the 21st interviewed 610 likely California voters. The poll results have a margin of error of plus or minus four percent.

KCBS Radio’s Doug Sovern Reports:

University of California-Berkeley political science Professor Laura Stoker said the sudden changes reflected by the CBS 5 poll in the two major races could be the result of a number of factors.

Stoker theorized that  it may be the Democrats’ natural advantage in California — where 14 percent more voters are registered Democrats than Republicans– asserting itself as candidates besides Meg Whitman start running television ads.

“It’s possible that the advertising balance has shifted,” she said. “And Brown is finally getting his ads out and Whitman has been going for a while.”

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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