The poll finds Newsom with a 43 to 34 percent edge over the former state senator from Santa Maria with 23 percent of voters undecided.
However, while the poll shows 67 percent of voters know who Newsom is, 41 percent hold a negative image of him and Republicans dislike Newsom by a seven to one margin.
Analysts say his lead is a function of him being better known than Maldonado.
Meanwhile, a separate poll shows San Francisco District Attorney Kamala harries trailing her Republican challenger in the state attorney general race.
Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley leads Harris 37 to 34 percent. But, 70 percent of voters have no opinion about either candidate.