(CNN) – A new poll should be welcome news to California Democrats.
According to a Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll released Sunday, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer holds an 8 percentage point lead over former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in the state's race for Senate. Likely voters favor the three-term senator 51 percent to 43 percent over Fiorina. Four percent of likely voters remain undecided.
Among voters who were identified as being most enthusiastic about voting this year, Boxer trails Fiorina by 17 points.
The poll also found that Democratic state Attorney General Jerry Brown leads former eBay CEO Meg Whitman 49 percent to 44 percent in the state's gubernatorial race. Five percent of likely voters were undecided. Brown's 5 percentage point lead is within the survey's margin of error.
Among the most enthusiastic voters, however, Whitman held a 12 percentage point lead.
The two Democratic candidates fare better than their Republican challengers when it comes to how they're viewed by voters. Boxer and Brown have dead-even favorability ratings, while likely voters have marginally unfavorable feelings about Whitman and Fiorina.
"In any election, there are many factors that affect who voters choose to vote for. Favorability is one way to measure their affect - the positive feelings people have toward a candidate," the poll's research director, Jane Junn, told CNN. "And when more people feel negatively rather than positively, it is much more difficult to persuade a voter to choose you."
The LA Times/USC poll [pdf] surveyed 887 likely voters from September 15-22. It carries a sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
In a CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted September 2-7, Boxer held a 4 percentage point lead over Fiorina in the Senate race and Whitman held a 2 percentage point lead over Brown in the gubernatorial contest. Both results were within the survey's margin of error.
On Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle published an editorial in which they made the "extremely rare" decision not to endorse either Boxer or Fiorina for Senate.
"It is a dismal choice between an ineffective advocate for causes we generally support and a potentially strong advocate for positions we oppose," the paper wrote. "Neither merits our endorsement for the U.S. Senate."