Whitman, the former chief executive officer of eBay, is a billionaire. The first-time candidate has spent $39 million on her primary campaign. And it's paid off, giving her precious name recognition.
In her ads, she's called Poizner a liar.
The new Field Poll shows Whitman holds a giant lead over Poizner, California's former insurance commissioner, by nearly 50 percent.
Poizner's spokesman says his message of across-the-board tax cuts, his plan for illegal immigration and his plan to solve the budget crisis will win out over Whitman's negative campaign"
In a satellite interview Whitman said she is running two campaigns.
"At the same time, we have to begin to turn our attention to Jerry Brown because he's running unopposed in the Democrat primary," said Whitman. "We want to be sure we educate the voters and lay the foundation for what his true track record is."
Brown hasn't really launched his general election campaign. But the latest poll numbers indicate to Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo that Brown could be in trouble if he waits.
Whitman is in a statistical tie with Brown if the election were held today. In the increasingly critical independent vote, Whitman holds a significant lead.
"It will be a very strong contest," said Whitman. "An outsider in business perspective with real-world leadership, and a career 40-year politician who in many ways I think is part of the problem, not part of the solution."
Whitman is seizing on a Tuesday meeting between Jerry Brown and the Laborers' International Union of North America.
"We're going to attack whenever we can, but I'd rather have you attack," said Brown at the meeting. "I'd rather be the nice guy in this race."
"You have to be able to take on the status quo, and if your funding comes from unions, I think it's going to be hard to do that," said Whitman.
The Republican primary will be held on June 8.
Both Poizner and Whitman will be in Southern California Thursday, Poizner for private meetings. Whitman has a public event in the morning in Santa Barbara.