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Poll: Democrats lead in gov, senate races

October 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The candidates for California governor met for their first debate since Meg Whitman was accused of hiring an illegal worker. A new poll shows what voters think of the candidates now.An exclusive Eyewitness News poll conducted by SurveyUSA is the first since the controversy broke over Meg Whitman's illegal immigrant housekeeper. It shows her handling of the controversy has hurt her with Hispanic voters.

The poll also shows Democrats hold the lead in the race for governor and the U.S. Senate race. But four weeks before the election, it's a precarious lead.

Attorney Gloria Allred introduced Meg Whitman's former housekeeper to the media. They both accused the Republican candidate for governor of knowing her housekeeper of nine years was an illegal worker. Whitman says she only found out last year and fired Nicky Diaz when she came to Whitman and admitted she was illegal and asked for help.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown is up one point from two weeks ago over Whitman, at 47 to 43 percent.

Some Hispanics may not like the way Whitman treated Nicky Diaz and it may show in the poll in Brown's favor. The Democrat more than doubled his lead among Hispanics. Whitman has been spending millions trying to court Hispanic voters.

Whitman now receives 33 percent of the Hispanic vote to Brown's 57 percent.

As political consultant Bill Carrick points out, Democrats far outnumber Republicans in California.

"She's got to find some Democrats to vote for her. She's got to get a significant crossover of Democrats," said Carrick. "Obviously they felt like targeting Latino voters, who tend to be socially conservative and more economically liberal, would be a good targeted group of voters for them. Now this has really set them back, dramatically."

In Saturday's debate Whitman accused Brown orchestrating the controversy over her housekeeper.

Meantime, in the race for the U.S. Senate, incumbent Barbara Boxer has a narrow lead over Republican opponent Carly Fiorina. Support for the former head of Hewlett-Packard has remained flat. Boxer has lost three points.

The poll shows Boxer with 46 percent to Fiorina's 43 percent. That's well within the survey's margin of error.

An indication of the volatility of both the races for senate and governor: None of the candidates has been able to poll more than 50 percent.


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