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Mitt Romney attends fundraiser for Meg Whitman

April 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new Eyewitness News poll has one of the candidates for governor way ahead of her opponent. And Thursday night, Meg Whitman is trying to drum up more support and money in Beverly Hills. Whitman is holding her fundraiser Thursday with former Massachussetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney and others. If November's gubernatorial election were held Thursday, an exclusive Eyewitness News Poll indicates that Meg Whitman would face Democrat Jerry Brown, a former governor of California.

Meg Whitman, the billionaire former chief executive officer of Ebay, has spent more than $50 million on the governor's race, most of it her own money. Her Republican opponent is a former Silicon Valley executive, multi-millionaire Steve Poizner. He is currently the state insurance commissioner.

An exclusive Eyewitness News poll conducted by Survey USA shows Whitman ahead by 22 points, six other Republicans totaling 9 percent. Fifteen percent of likely Republican primary voters are still undecided.

According to Poizner, Whitman is in a freefall from her even bigger lead from a few weeks ago. He's been spending money only in the last few weeks.

"Once the word got out about these differences, the numbers are coming my way aggressively," said Poizner. "So it started down 50 points, then the L.A. Times of three weeks ago had me down 40 points, and then today I am down less than 30 points. And so this is great momentum, and campaigns are about momentum."

And campaigns are about telling voters who you are and what you are all about. Whitman started that months ago. She's been all over television and radio. She said she needed to spend money to let voters know who is behind the name. She says she is still very far ahead.

"He has been running $2 million a week of attack ads," said Whitman. "He has effectively abandoned positive ads and he's running $2 million a week of attack ads, so I imagine that would certainly create some diminishment in our lead."

Whitman is ahead of Poizner by double digits in every demographic group from age to race. She is also ahead in a group experts say one must have to win a California election: Independents and with those decline state voters Whitman again is ahead with double digits. She says she can feel the momentum.

"We do anywhere between three and five events every single day," said Whitman. "And we'll keep telling the story. I feel good about where we are."

Poizner is putting all his money into the final weeks and says he will keep spending up to the primary.

"That's why we saved our money here to the end," said Poizner."Fact is, the amount of money that Meg has spent has been, well, just obscene.

A group of Jerry Brown supporters was gathered on the other side of the hotel to protest Whitman's appearance. They are led by the California Nurses Association. Jerry Brown has no significant opposition in the Democratic primary.

Results of exclusive Eyewitness News poll conducted by Survey USA

If the Republican primary for California's governor was held today, Meg Whitman would have 49 percent of the vote.

Her rival, Steve Poizner, would have 27 percent of the vote. And 15 percent of voters are still undecided.

On the Democratic side, Jerry Brown has a huge lead in the governor's race, with 63 percent of the vote.

Meantime, the race for U.S. Senate is much closer for the GOP nomination.

The poll shows if the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in California was held Thursday, former Congressman Tom Campbell would have 34 percent of the vote, followed by Carly Fiorina with 27 percent of the vote, and state Assembly member Chuck Devore would get 14 percent of the vote. Twenty-three percent of voters are still undecided.

The winner would challenge incumbent Barbara Boxer.


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