SACRAMENTO (Legal Newsline) - The first survey since California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman was told to expect a lawsuit from her former illegal immigrant housekeeper shows her opponent, Democrat Jerry Brown, building his lead.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of likely voters shows Brown, the state's attorney general, picking up 49 percent of the vote while Whitman draws support from 44 percent. Four percent prefer some other candidate while 4 percent are undecided.

The polling company, in its results released on Monday, described Brown's lead as a "modest advantage."

Rasmussen surveyed 750 likely voters in California on Sunday -- days after Nicky Diaz Santillan, Whitman's former housekeeper, made allegations that the billionaire Whitman knew she was an illegal immigrant while she was employed.

The former eBay CEO has repeatedly denied knowing that Diaz Santillan was undocumented until shortly before she was let go in 2009, after nine years of working for Whitman and her husband.

A previous Rasmussen poll from two weeks ago -- before the allegations surfaced -- had Brown leading the Republican Whitman by 47 to 46 percent.

Other recent polls, including one from Public Policy Polling, have suggested Whitman has reached the point of over-saturating the market. At more than $119 million, she is the biggest self-financing candidate ever in the country.

The Rasmussen survey released on Monday had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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

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