(CNN) – The war for California's Republican gubernatorial nomination keeps getting hotter.
With less than two months to go until the primary, State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has put out a tough new television commercial critical of his opponent, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
The ad's narrator says that Whitman "supports taxpayer funding for abortion. Do you? Whitman campaigned and contributed to Barbara Boxer. Did you? Whitman campaigned for the disastrous bailout that saved Goldman Sachs. Did you? Whitman supports the Obama amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. Did you?"
Tucker Bounds, the Whitman campaign's spokesman, responded to the ad in comments to CNN.
"The question we all know the answer to is: Why did he? Why did Steve Poizner work to undermine Proposition 13, supporting $40 billion in higher taxes? Why did Steve Poizner contribute $21,000 to elect Al Gore and overturn the legal election of George W. Bush? Why is Steve Poizner the only candidate in the race to have ever supported partial birth abortion? Why did Steve Poizner spend over $2,000,000 on new cars at the Department of Insurance during an economic downturn? Because Steve Poizner is a liberal you can't trust," Bounds said.
Whitman, a billionaire who advised Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, has contributed $59 million of her own money to her bid for governor, and she says she could donate up to $150 million overall. She has used a big chuck of the money to pay for a multi-million dollar television media campaign across the Golden State.
And the big spending may be paying off. A Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll conducted late last month suggests that Whitman's commercials have helped erase her once unknown status in California.
"Poizner is fighting money with message – by trying to hit hard with ads aimed at conservative Republican primary voters," says Evan Tracey, president of Campaign Media Analysis Group and CNN's consultant on political advertising. "Negative ads can be very effective with the one cost being they tend to drive up negatives for both the candidate that airs them and the candidate they are aimed towards."
So where does the race between Whitman and Poizner stand? According to the Los Angeles Times/USC survey, Whitman leads by 40 points among Republican primary voters.
Two other nonpartisan polls also conducted in March, by the Public Policy Institute of California and by the Field Poll, indicate Whitman holding around a 50 point advantage over Poizner.
Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET: The Poizner campaign reached out to CNN with response to the statement by Tucker Bounds.
"Meg Whitman's candidacy was always like one of those French soufflés one of her private chefs would cook up on her private jet - full of expensive air and destined to deflate," says Poizner campaign communications director Jarrod Agen. "All of Meg's Goldman Sachs riches can't convince California Republicans that we need a Barbara Boxer supporter as our nominee. The numbers are moving as we expected, which means in this year's general election Republicans will finally get a chance to vote for a Republican for Governor."
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn