Poll: Whitman leads Brown in Calif. governor's race

Chris Rizo Apr. 5, 2010, 7:20pm

Meg Whitman (R)

Jerry Brown (D)

Steve Poizner (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Republican California gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman leads Democrat Jerry Brown in the race to be the Golden State's next chief executive, a poll released today indicates.

Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, led Brown, the state attorney general, 44 percent to 41 percent among registered voters surveyed in the University of Southern California-Los Angeles Times poll.

Whitman's three-point lead over Brown in a hypothetical general election matchup is just outside the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

In the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, Whitman led state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner by 40 points.

The state's primaries are June 8. Brown is almost assuredly the Democratic nominee. The GOP primary will determine who he will be up against in the November general election.

The survey indicates that the $39 million Whitman has given her campaign has paid off, at least in the television and radio advertising the money has gone toward purchasing. Two-thirds of respondents said they had either heard or seen an ad about this year's governor's race.

A Field Poll last month also showed Whitman has a lead over Poizner for the GOP nomination and a narrow one over Brown in a hypothetical general election matchup.

In the race for the GOP nomination, Whitman had 63 percent support among likely Republican primary voters while Poizner was backed by 14 percent. In a hypothetical general election matchup, Whitman led Brown 46 percent to 43 percent.

Whitman, Poizner and Brown are vying to succeed Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection.

Brown, who was governor from 1975 to 1983, may seek another term because he led the state before term limits were enacted. He was the mayor of Oakland, Calif., from 1998 to 2006, before being elected attorney general in 2007.

The USC-Los Angeles Times poll of 1,515 registered voters was conducted March 23 to March 30. The survey was conducted by two polling agencies: the Democratic firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and the Republican firm of American Viewpoint, the newspaper reported.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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