SACRAMENTO (Legal Newsline) -- California's Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown has opened up a 10-point lead over GOP opponent Meg Whitman, according to a new poll.

The Field Poll, in results released Thursday, show Brown ahead 49 to 39 percent.

According to the poll results, 7 percent of those surveyed still hadn't decided which candidate to support. Another 5 percent of voters are favoring other candidates.

Twelve months ago in The Field Poll's initial survey pairing Whitman and Brown, the former eBay CEO trailed Brown by 21 points.

In succeeding months, Whitman made steady gains in voter preference. In a poll last March, Whitman pulled ahead of Brown by three points -- 46 to 43 percent.

Two subsequent surveys -- one in July and the other in September -- found no more than one percentage point separating the two candidates in overall preference.

The current poll finds the California Attorney General's support has increased by eight points since September, while Whitman's has declined by two points.

The survey was conducted among 1,501 registered voters, of whom 1,092 either have already voted by mail or are considered likely to vote in next Tuesday's gubernatorial election, according to the San Francisco-based polling company.

Tuesday's poll also finds Brown, who was governor from 1975 to 1983, shoring up support among women, non-partisans, Latinos and in Los Angeles County.

According to the survey results, men favor Brown over Whitman by a four-point margin, 46 to 42 percent, with women preferring Brown by 16 points, 51 to 35 percent. Brown also leads Whitman by six to 13 points across each age subgroup.

Among white non-Hispanics -- who comprise 71 percent of the vote -- it is Brown with 45 percent and Whitman with 44 percent.

Brown has a greater than two-to-one lead among Latinos, 57 to 27 percent, and is also heavily favored by blacks, 80 to 9 percent, the poll found.

Likely Democratic voters also are backing Brown 79 to 9 percent.

Republicans are supporting Whitman by a similarly one-sided 75 to 14 percent margin.

However, Brown is preferred 49 to 33 percent among the 17 percent of the electorate who are non-partisans or affiliated with another party, the survey found.

Tuesday's poll -- the final pre-election survey by The Field Poll -- also found Whitman's image has "deteriorated," and a majority "now views her negatively."

Despite her heavy media presence, Whitman has been "unable to appreciably increase the proportion of voters who view her favorably." The proportion of voters who hold a negative opinion of her has grown to 51 percent, its highest level recorded, the poll found.

Meanwhile, voter impressions of Brown, who has been on the political stage in California for nearly 40 years, have remained mixed since March. At present, 47 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of him and 47 percent an unfavorable view, according to the survey.

Interviewing for The Field Poll was conducted by telephone Oct.14-26, using live interviewers in six languages and dialects -- English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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