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Poll shows Poizner 2 points behind Whitman

May 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Californians will go to the polls in less than a month to pick their nominees to be the next governor. On the Republican side, a big shift in poll numbers indicates it's an extremely close race.Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, has spent some $70 million - most of it her own money - only to lose a 50 point lead. She was that far ahead of State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner a few months ago. Now her lead has plummeted to two points.

Whitman leads Poizner 39 percent to 37 percent, with 14 percent undecided in our exclusive Eyewitness News poll. The poll by Survey USA shows a loss of 10 points for Whitman and a gain of 10 for Poizner since our last poll 18 days ago.

The Republican primary is a month away and early voting began on Monday.

Poizner was all but written off in the campaign to become the Republican nominee for governor. He's a multi-millionaire and a Silicon Valley businessman. Whitman is a billionaire with the ability to print her own campaign books and fill radio and television with attack ads.

"Meg Whitman has run a bad campaign. It seems that she wants to be appointed queen rather than elected governor," said political analyst Matthew Littman.

Littman said that Whitman's lack of political experience may be hurting her campaign.

"Meg Whitman is a business woman. She's not a politician, and sometimes, that could be a great thing, but sometimes if you don't know what you're getting yourself into, she seems to think that because of all her money, she's going to be able to coast to victory, and she's not able to coast to victory," said Littman.

Poizner saved his money for the final weeks.

"We saved our resources to when people were really paying attention now, and we knew all along that if we waited until the last two months to deliver our bold, clear messages we would do just fine," said Poizner.

Whitman was unavailable on Monday, but her campaign issued a statement: "There will be a number of polls in this race," the statement reads. "We're confident that on election day California will reject Sacramento politicians and choose Meg because she is the only fiscal conservative running for governor."

In the conservative Central Valley, Poizner has an impressive lead. Whitman holds a lead in greater Los Angeles, the Bay Area and the Inland Empire.

The candidate who former governor Jerry Brown would most like to face in November is Poizner. The Democrats are running ads targeting Whitman's connections to Wall Street.

The issue Poizner has targeted the most is immigration. He visited the San Ysidro border crossing on Monday, where he was asked about the latest poll numbers.

"Now that my message is out about my proposal to solve the problems of those who are here illegally, and cut taxes across the board, people like that message and that's why Meg Whitman's numbers are plummeting," said Poizner.

Poizner is now spending about $2 million a week on statewide TV and radio ads. Our poll also shows that the Republican governor's race is very unpredictable. As the campaign goes into the final weeks, anything can happen.


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