April 5th, 2010
09:22 AM ET
12 years ago

Whitman narrowly leads Brown in third straight poll

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/17/art.megwhitman.0309d.gi.jpg caption="A third straight poll of California voters indicates that Meg Whitman has a slight lead over Jerry Brown in this year's battle for California governor."](CNN) - A third straight poll of California voters indicates that Meg Whitman has a slight lead over Jerry Brown in this year's battle for California governor.

A Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California survey released Monday indicates that Whitman's multi-million dollar television commercial campaign has erased her once-unknown status in the Golden State.

If the general election for California governor were held today, 44 percent of registered voters in the state would back Whitman, with 41 percent supporting Brown, according to the poll. Whitman's three point advantage is within the survey's sampling error. Fourteen percent of those questioned say they are undecided.

Whitman also narrowly leads Brown in two other recent surveys, by three points in a Field Poll and five points in a Public Policy Institute of California survey.

Whitman is the billionaire former CEO of eBay who also served as an adviser and surrogate in 2008 for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. Brown is California's attorney general and former two-term governor from 1975-1983.

The Los Angeles Times/USC poll indicates that two-thirds of California voters say that they've seen a political commercial this year and that those ads overwhelmingly belong to Whitman, who has spent $39 million of her own money on her bid for governor. According to the survey, six in 10 Californians said they could identify Whitman.

Brown is facing no serious opposition for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Whitman is battling state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in the June Republican primary. The survey indicates that Whitman holds a 40 point lead over Poizner.

"The story is the money," Dan Schnur, director of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, told the Los Angeles Times.

"You can't buy the governor's office," adds Schnur. "But you can buy a seat at the table."

California's current governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, is term limited.

According to the poll, former Rep. Tom Campbell has a narrow lead over Carly Fiorina in the battle for the GOP Senate nomination. Twenty-nine percent of Republican voters say they are supporting Campbell in the June 8 primary, with 25 percent backing Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard CEO, who was an adviser and surrogate to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. Nine percent support California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore and one third are undecided.

All three candidates are vying to face off against this November against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is facing a tough fight in her bid this year for a fourth term in office. The survey indicates Boxer topping an unnamed GOP candidate 48 percent to 34 percent, with 11 percent undecided.

The Los Angeles Times/USC poll was conducted March 23 to 30, with 1,515 California registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Jerry Brown • Meg Whitman
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. britto-fl

    She's a right wing billionaire why do that California, she's not looking for your best interest!

    April 5, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |

    Polls don't mean anything. She still will lose. Failed CEO's do not belong running states.

    April 5, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    If CA elects Brown again, then it will be obvious they are crazy. Brown nearly bankrupted the state, and did so much fiscal damage, that they have never fully recovered from his previous reign as governor.

    April 5, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    In that Whitman, so far, has spent $39 million of her own money in the republican primary, it would indicate she is not the solution to the financial problems facing California, as she has little understanding of fiscal responsibility. Typical republican.

    April 5, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. In the West

    I think the good people of California will deeply regret it if they put Whitman is office.

    April 5, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. EBC

    Wow...that's doesn't SAY much for the GOP. Whitman is a LOSER and a SHAM. She is NOT competent to be elected to any position.

    April 5, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. John P. CA

    I can't imagine supporting a candidate who supporting McCain. Are we kidding here? Come on CA, wake up and connect the dots. We don't need another Republican; especially not here!

    April 5, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Ben in Texas

    It's clear Whitman is not cruising on her looks. Or her history of public service. Or her record of voting. Or her great ideas.

    But she has a lot of money, and that trumps everything, apparently. And that, folks, is what is wrong with our system. Money, not merit, is what counts.

    April 5, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Having been a Californian for 280 yrs.....I am here to tell you ...it ain't going to happen Meg. The undecided voter always rules the day in that state's election. Having been a big pay executive is your biggest issue.

    April 5, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Dean

    Jerry Brown has been around too long. He didn't do any good in the 70's and 80's and he won't do anything for California if elected now.

    April 5, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Pam

    No one asked me...and I vote NO for Meg. No way...No HOW!

    April 5, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Karen

    Jerry Brown is a brillant man and I cannot believe my fellow Californians would make another HUGE election mistake this time and vote for someone who has no governing experience. I don't think being a former CEO qualifies anyone to run a state as complex as California. Please lets not allow another election to be bought by the biggest advertiser!

    April 5, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. Marco V

    There is a lot of difference between being a CEO and a governor.

    April 5, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. R

    Yes, just what we need is another bored, rich, ego manic to run California. Arnold ruined this state. Spent millions just to get on the ballot early, and it went downhill from there. At least Brown knows the territory and did a good job when he was Govenor before. Witman's commercials say nothing, she is spewing the same nothing promises that Arnold did, and this state just can't afford to make a huge mistake again.

    April 5, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Great!

    Let's get a REAL Republican governor to clean up the mess in California - UNLIKE Arnold, the FAKE Republican, Kennedy clone - who lacked any kind of backbone to take on the bleeding-heart liberal legislature that killed off the once-thriving economy in our great state.

    April 5, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. ronalde

    Meg whitman help sink mcCain with her gaffos now she wants to contuine sinking cailfornia,will somebody please tell her that she can't sell the state when it starts sinking lower.

    April 5, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. Enough

    Well this is good news, but hard to believe the Gimme blue state would vote for anyone with common sense. We certainly don't want another term with Gov. Moonbeam..........been there, done that, he would be a disaster for our bankrupt state. No matter what anyone says we need someone with business experience and NOT another career politician to try and pull us out of this mess. Next on the Agenda, OUT with Boxer and Pelosi.

    April 5, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |