Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross San Francisco Chronicle
Not only is San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom trailing state Attorney General Jerry Brown statewide in the Democratic race for governor, he's pulling up short with the very voters who know him best - San Franciscans.
On the statewide level, a poll taken last week of 600 likely Democratic voters by the Sacramento firm Moore Methods showed Brown in the lead for the 2010 primary, 49 percent to 20 percent.
A second poll by David Binder of 423 likely Democratic voters in San Francisco - where Newsom has enjoyed years of record-high approval ratings - has him trailing even at home.
The Binder poll, taken Aug. 15-18, showed Brown leading Newsom 51 percent to 34 percent among San Franciscans who have either made up their minds or who are "leaning" in one direction. Only 8 percent said they were undecided, with the rest saying they wouldn't vote for either candidate.
The numbers in the Binder poll also show Brown ahead of Newsom for every age bracket over 30 and in every San Francisco supervisorial district except the Marina, which Newsom represented on the board before being elected mayor in 2003.
Binder said the numbers reflect Brown's polling advantage over Newsom statewide, "but I assume it's surprising to some people who thought the mayor would be doing better in his hometown."
Binder cautioned that it's early in the game - Brown hasn't even officially entered the race, and neither candidate has gone up with TV and radio ads - "so anything can still happen."
And Newsom's campaign suggested Brown's appeal among Democrats wasn't all it's cracked up to be, saying his strength is based mostly on his "80 percent name ID" and little else.
"Dianne Feinstein started out nearly 20 points behind John Van de Kamp in the 1990 gubernatorial primary, and ended up beating him by 11 points," said Newsom's chief consultant, Garry South.
Brown, however, has something else going for him: He's got about seven times as much money as Newsom.