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Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer hold narrow leads over their Republican challengers with more than three months of campaigning to come before the November election, a new Public Policy Institute of California poll has found.

The poll, conducted during the first weeks of July, found that Attorney General Brown, the Democratic candidate for governor, is virtually tied with Republican Meg Whitman, leading 37 percent to 34 percent among likely voters with 23 percent still undecided.

PPIC also found Boxer, a three-term U.S. senator, leading Republican Carly Fiorina 39 percent to 34 percent with 22 percent undecided.

The margins are similar to those in other recent polls, but PPIC's survey found substantially more undecided voters than the others.

The PPIC poll was geared to environmental concerns and found that Brown and Boxer both hold large leads among voters who consider environmental issues "very important."

The poll also found that the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from a blown-out drilling rig had turned Californians solidly against more offshore drilling and that two-thirds of Californian voters still support the state's controversial anti-global warming law, Assembly Bill 32.

However, when PPIC's pollsters sought to gauge sentiment for and against a November ballot measure, Proposition 23, that would suspend the law until unemployment rates dropped sharply, responses were less decisive.

A "slim majority" of 53 percent favors moving on reducing greenhouse gas emissions quickly while 42 percent say the state should wait for better economic conditions. The pollsters could not use the measure's ballot language because that's still in dispute with a lawsuit by proponents challenging the ballot summary written by Brown as attorney general, accusing Brown of pro-AB 32 bias.

Other PPIC poll results:

• Californians are sharply divided (49 percent against, 44 percent in favor) on resuming development of nuclear power plants to meet the state's energy needs;

• Overwhelming majorities favor governmental action to increase non-carbon energy sources such as wind and solar and to require automakers to improve fuel economy;

• President Barack Obama's approval rating in California has dropped by nine percentage points in the last year and 16 points from his high mark.

The full PPIC poll can be found here.



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