New poll has Whitman back ahead of Brown

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Aug 27, 2010


SACRAMENTO (Legal Newsline) - Former eBay CEO and California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has pulled ahead of Democratic opponent and state Attorney General Jerry Brown, according to recent poll results.

The Republican Whitman, coming off last weekend's state GOP convention, has moved out "to her best showing yet" in the race to be the next governor of California, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey released Thursday.

The latest Rasmussen poll of likely voters in the state found Whitman earning 48 percent of the support, while Brown picking up 40 percent. Six percent prefer some other candidate in the race, and six percent are undecided.

Earlier this month, Brown was slightly ahead, 43 percent to 41 percent, in a contest to replace current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that has been neck-and-neck since last September.

Brown bounced ahead in the polls briefly right after the state Democratic convention in April, but the race tightened again in June after Whitman's Republican primary win.

According to Rasmussen, prior to the latest numbers, Whitman has earned 38 to 47 percent of the support in seven surveys back to February. Brown, in those same surveys, has captured 40 to 46 percent of the vote.

When "leaners" are included in the new totals, the survey said, Whitman posts a 51 percent to 43 percent lead over Brown. "Leaners" are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate, Rasmussen explained.

According to the polling service, early in any campaign, the numbers without leaners are generally more significant. But later in a campaign, the numbers with leaners matter more. Rasmussen said after Labor Day it would report the numbers with leaners as the primary indicators of the campaign.

Seventy-five percent of those who favor Whitman said they were already certain how they will vote in November. Eighty-two percent of Brown's supporters said the same, the poll results said.

The survey of 750 likely voters in the state was conducted Aug. 24. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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