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New Poll Shows Likely Voters Favor Brown Over Whitman By 8 Points

Republican gubernatorial candidate and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (L) and Democratic gubernatorial candidate and California State Attorney General Jerry Brown shake hands at the conclusion of a debate October 12, 2010 at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, California.
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Above: Republican gubernatorial candidate and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (L) and Democratic gubernatorial candidate and California State Attorney General Jerry Brown shake hands at the conclusion of a debate October 12, 2010 at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, California.

Key Poll Findings

  • Jerry Brown leads Meg Whitman by 8 points in the governor’s race.
  • Senator Barbara Boxer and challenger Carly Fiorina are locked in a close contest.
  • Support for Proposition 19, marijuana legalization, has dropped below 50 percent.
  • Six in 10 Californians are worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage.

— A new poll finds Democrat Jerry Brown has opened up a significant lead over Republican Meg Whitman in the California Governor’s race.

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll also shows support has dropped significantly for proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana. Last month 52 percent of likely voters said they’d vote yes. Now that’s dropped to 44 percent.

In addition, the survey finds the race for U.S. Senate continues to tighten. California voters favor Democrat Barbara Boxer 43 percent to Republican Carly Fiorina’s 38 percent. Boxer had a seven point lead last month.

A lot can change in a month. In September, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California put Whitman and Brown in a dead heat. A survey conducted mid-October by the same group puts Brown eight points ahead.

Likely voters prefer him 44 percent to Whitman’s 36 percent. Mark Baldassare, with PPIC, said if Republicans are going to catch up by the election, they’ll need to focus on more than just turnout.

“It’s got to be really changing the minds of the undecideds that would make a difference at this point for Whitman," said Baldassare, "particularly the large number of independents who are undecided in this election.”

Baldassare said 16 percent of likely voters are still undecided. He said Brown gained ground among Democrats, women and Latinos as well as independent voters during a period that was marred by scandal and embarrassment for both campaigns.

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