In summary

A new statewide poll shows that voters are increasingly concerned about environmental policy, which could play out in the governor’s race between Newsom and Cox.

Environmental stands by gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom and John Cox are important to nearly all likely voters, and 56 percent view their positions as “very important,” a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday shows.

That’s a significant jump from past polls.

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Overall, Democrat Newsom leads Republican Cox in the race for governor among likely voters 55-31 percent, the poll found.

PPIC President Mark Baldassare: “The environment has people on edge right now.”

Among the poll’s other findings:

  • 86 percent of likely voters are very or somewhat concerned about global warming’s impact on wildfires. That view cuts across party lines.
  • Californians are far more likely to view global warming as a front-burner issue than voters elsewhere in the country (62 percent to 48 percent nationally), and 69 percent say global warming’s impacts have begun.
  • 60 percent of likely voters favor tougher auto emission rules and 66 percent think air pollution is a problem. That doesn’t bode well for the Trump administration effort to bar the state from imposing its own clean air regulations.
  • California voters disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of the environment by a 67-27 percent margin, and 93 percent of Democrats disapprove.

This story originally appeared in WhatMatters, our daily roundup of the most important policy and politics news in California. Subscribe here.

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Dan Morain joined CalMatters in March 2018. He is the former editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee. Morain also spent 27 years at The Los Angeles Times, and has covered the Capitol since 1992.