October 21st, 2010
05:35 PM ET
12 years ago

California governors race to the finish

(CNN) - The latest poll by the Public Policy Institute of California has Attorney General Jerry Brown running 8 points ahead of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman among likely voters in the race to be the state's next governor, but a sizable number 16 percent remain undecided. The poll shows Brown with a 15 point lead among women and a 29 point lead among Latinos. Whitman has a one point advantage among independents with 19 percent undecided.

Brown's campaign manager Steven Glazer argues the polling demonstrates voters were unaffected by the "whore" story – when a member of Brown's staff was recorded using the word to describe Meg Whitman. And Glazer insists of the Brown campaign "we'll be more than competitive" in the final days. He says they set aside $12 million to spend in the last two weeks – to ensure Brown's message isn't drowned out by a late blitz of Whitman spending. With that money Brown plans to drop 10-15 million pieces of mail – at a cost of up to $5 million.

The Whitman campaign is prepared to spend, too. In a wry response to a question about finances leading up to Election Day, Whitman spokesperson Andrea Rivera tells CNN, "as far as the numbers go, we will be fully funded." So far Whitman has invested $140 million of her own fortune in this race.

A series of high profile California Democrats has publicly warned that the California Democratic Party is not prepared with a strong get out the vote effort. Democratic Party greybeard – and former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown – said neither the Brown nor the Boxer campaigns has a strong ground game adding: "apparently they are relying entirely on labor to deliver and labor doesn't always have the total interests of the Democratic Party at hand. Labor has labor's own personal interests."

If true, that could hurt Democrats this year, since the polling suggests there is an enthusiasm gap. It shows 42 percent of Republicans say they're following the race for governor closely but only 36 percent of Democrats are paying close attention – which could translate into a depressed Democratic voter turnout on Election Day.

That's not lost on the Whitman campaign which has been touting an aggressive get out the vote operation and a sophisticated micro-targeting effort – in which data analysts match the voter's file with consumer data, polling data and target voters with the policies that would be most appealing to them. Campaign spokesperson Andrea Rivera says "We have voter enthusiasm on our side and a coordinated effort with the state party."

But Glazer of the Brown campaign doesn't betray any concern. He points out the polling – in which Brown is ahead – already accounts for a depressed Democratic turnout. And insists they have a strong get out the vote operation with 85 offices around the state and 54 more on the way, about 25,000 volunteers, and 1.5 million voters targeted for their early voting campaign.

The same poll shows Senator Barbara Boxer leading former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina by 5 points with 13 percent undecided. Boxer has a 35 point lead among Latinos and a 16 point lead among women.

The Public Policy Institute of California poll was conducted Oct. 10-17, with 1,067 likely voters in California questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: 2010 • California • Jerry Brown • Meg Whitman
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    All this proves is that Jerry Brown has a slight lead in the poll of Californians who do not have Caller ID.
    For the rest of us, Meg is the one! She has an excellent plan to get the State of California working again. Jerry Brown is a politician's politician and he has no plan except to support whatever Obama and the big unions ask for. We have seen enough of Jerry Brown's performance to know it's not what CA needs today.

    Meg Whitman is the one who can make good things happen here. She will win.

    October 21, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. vic nashville tn

    Whitman has invested $140 million of her own fortune in this race.
    Bad CEO for California

    October 21, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. I'm Voting Republican So More Of Our Jobs Can Go Overseas . . .

    Meg is pretty good at outsourcing, but Republican Fiorina is a pro.

    My friend in Bangalore, India is counting on me to help the G.O.P.

    October 21, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. S. in California Laughing In Anticipation Of How Well Democrats Turnout At The Polls

    These millionaires make me sick. They go out there and buy your vote based on the fact "THEY became wealthy and THEY can make you wealthy too". All of us here in California found out under Arnold nothing could be FURTHER from the truth. What they fail to tell you is HOW they REALLY made their money. You fools of course, swallow it up hook, line and sinker. I'll take the "common" hard working guy over Meg-a-phone anytime. Make no mistake rich people don't give away their secret for making money. They KEEP it. I'll repeat they KEEP it. Californians wise up and vote for someone who at least can relate to working Americans. Vote for Jerry Brown.

    Democrats. Right For America.

    October 21, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  5. Jess C

    As a lifelong CA and around during Brown's first reign; he gets my vote. Anyone ever wonder why Whitman is running in the first place? Someone who's never been interested in public service to the point of not voting much at all in her past? She wants nothing more than to be Romney's VP at some point. Just because she managed a relatively small company; it pales in comparison to what it takes to oversee a state as complex and in dire need as ours. It's one thing to have the talking points; quite another to implement policy. Me, my friends, co-workers and family are stumping for Brown all the way! We're sick of Meg's ads, mailings and mug; money should not purchase a government seat. If you want to see who she really is, Google her two sons. Be smart, CA!

    October 21, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  6. barry

    Brown will finish running California in the ground. The only chance they have of coming out of the bankruptcy they will soon be in is to elect Whitman. Brown is a has been who like Harry Reid has made millions being in politics. I am tired of politicians helping themselves to millions of dollars when they are suppose to be protecting my interest.

    October 21, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. DIANA

    I live in California and I beg all Californian's to please vote for Brown and Boxer. The other two are certifieable who will outsource our jobs. Seriously, why would you want to vote for somebody who's tryingto buy your vote.

    October 21, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  8. Daniel

    Love America that one can try to buy the election. Go Meg.....spend your money please. What good is your obscene wealth if you can't buy your seat and have the special interests pay you more for the services you will be providing them "if" you win? Kinda risky for these special interests to bank on a decriped

    October 21, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    Extra, extra, read all about it. whitman loses governor's race in California and has to declare bankruptcy becasuse she wasted all that money. Maybe she can move to India and fiorina will give her a job that she took away from an American citizen.

    October 21, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  10. Bill

    It's so sad to see how many folks buy into the "outsourcing" message that the Democrats are selling. Whitman and Fiorina are business CEOs. Just answer this question; which CEO can you name who hasn't cut jobs and outsource certain types of work to make their company stronger? That is what they were hired to do. That's the exactly kind of Executive Officers we need in Sacramento to get California out of this mess. Think about it, Brown has been CA's Governor before and Boxer has been a CA Senator for 14 years and look where California is today? Doesn't that tell you something? To think that by electing Brown back as Governor and Boxer back as Senator will make things better for California?

    October 21, 2010 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. pomonasi

    meg whitman is the one who can make good things happen here?????
    Let's weigh some points:
    She has not bothered to vote for over 20 years, never showed interest in government until recently, scandals with illegal employees, abused a former employee that was settled for $250k... BUT most importantly, she has wasted $140 million dollars on this campaign and she is still behind jerry brown. and SHE has the plan to fix a $19 billion deficit? does she also have $20 billion to spend just for keeps?
    jerry brown has raised about $40 million dollars and stays ahead in almost all of the polls, actually HAS a voting record, and well experienced in a bi-partisan government.
    if i showed up for a job interview, let's say for an advertising firm, and have no prior experience, never had an interest in advertising until i got this interview, and all i have to set forth is experience in a non-related field... how likely is it i'm going to land this job???
    "she is from the real-world".... what real world you know of can you afford to spend $140 million dollars in this economy???

    October 21, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. Allen Hussein

    Stick a fork in Meg Whitman, she's done!

    October 21, 2010 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  13. Hildegard

    CA is a true blue state and the fact that Brown and Boxer are within striking distrance this close to the election is very telling. The large % of undecideds / independents will move to Whitman / Fiorina in the final days because in the end, it is about JOBS, not about maintaining the status quo with these career politicians. The earth is gonna move on 11/2!

    October 21, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. George of the jungle

    vote all the repos out hold on to congress and move forward not back.

    October 21, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Stephen the Native Californian

    When Gov. Brown was in office, California was at it's best. We had a surplus, cities had more power, and education was a real priority. We were the freest and most prosperous we have ever been. Since he left office we have only had a Democrat in office for a total of less than two years. That brought us an embarrassing set of budget issues, the construction of 25 prisons and only 1 university, a steady decline in the quality of education, fleeing businesses and the brain dead idea that deregulation is any way good for the consumer.

    On Nov. 2 vote for Jerry Brown. He's fixed this state before and he can do it again.

    October 21, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Richard

    It still blows my mind that the best the Democrats could do in California is reach into the Crypt and pull this guy out!

    October 21, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. Kathy

    Go Vote Democrats!!! We know what persists when good people stand by and do nothing.

    October 21, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. D. Bunker

    Why is she spending so much to buy the election? I'm guessing she wants to privatize the entire state and put its assets up for sale on eBay.

    October 21, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. Klaxon McFlinderginder

    Anyone spending $140,000,000 to buy an election DESERVES to lose. Not that Jerry is all that great.

    October 21, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  20. annie s

    Proving once again that women are smarter voters! Jerry Brown was an exceptional Governor once before, not only balancing the budget but also creating the largest budget surplus in the state's history. He is clearly the man to pull California out of its problems.

    October 21, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |