SACRAMENTO (CBS 5 / AP) — Buoyed by a surge in support from women and Latinos, Democrat Jerry Brown has taken a lead in the California governor’s race, while the race between incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and GOP challenger Carly Fiorina has tightened, according to a new poll.

The Public Policy Institute of California survey released late Wednesday found Brown with an 8-point lead over Whitman, 44 percent to 36 percent, among likely voters.

In the Senate race, the poll found Boxer continues to hold a slight advantage with likely voters over Fiorina, 43 percent to 38 percent, an edge that has diminished since September, when Boxer had a 7-point edge.

The PPIC poll showed similar results to a KPIX-TV CBS 5 poll conducted by SurveyUSA that was released on Tuesday. The CBS 5 poll had Brown taking a 7-point lead and Boxer with a slight lead also.

Independent voters are split in both races, and there is flagging support for the two measures on the November ballot that are drawing national attention.

Proposition 19, which would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, has support from just 44 percent of likely voters, with almost half saying they will cast their ballots against it. That represents an 8-point drop in support since a previous PPIC poll in September.

Those results conflict somewhat with the CBS 5 poll, which found support for Prop. 19 at 48 percent among likely voters.

Proposition 23, which would suspend California’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law until the unemployment rate falls to 5.5 percent for a year, has support from just 37 percent of likely voters, with 48 percent opposed. It is funded by out-of-state oil companies and is opposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and alternative-energy entrepreneurs.

The gubernatorial and Senate races have been characterized in recent weeks by nonstop attack ads on TV and campaign fliers flooding mailboxes throughout the state.

The campaigning is being driven largely by independent conservative groups spending in support of Fiorina, unions supporting Brown and a record-setting spending spree by Whitman, who has tapped her personal fortune for $142 million and has raised nearly $30 million more from outside contributors.

Whitman finds herself trailing the former two-term governor despite her enormous campaign account and extensive niche targeting of voters by gender, race and geography.

The poll found Brown with 51 percent support among Latinos, despite Whitman’s aggressive targeting of them, and that women also favor Brown over Whitman 47 percent to 32 percent. Men and white voters are divided.

Brown campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford said the poll shows Brown’s strategy of holding off on campaigning is paying off because many voters are only now tuning in.

“Jerry said from the beginning of this campaign, in the post-Labor Day period when people are paying attention, we’d be a lot more aggressive with Jerry’s message of fiscal discipline of state government and growing the green economy,” Clifford said. “They like what Jerry has to say.”

Unions also have flooded voters’ mail boxes with campaign literature critical of Whitman.

Whitman spokesman Tucker Bounds noted that voters have repeatedly ranked jobs and the economy as their number one issue this year. PPIC found voters preferred Whitman over Brown on this issue, as well as on the state budget and taxes.

“I don’t know of a single poll in this election that Meg hasn’t polled well on jobs and the economy,” he said. “When voters go into the voting booth, they will support Meg because she is the most credible candidate to deliver new jobs and real change in Sacramento.”

The survey was taken after two controversies that roiled the governor’s race — the revelation that Whitman had an illegal immigrant housekeeper for nine years and a leaked recording of a private conversation in which a Brown campaign aide called Whitman a “whore” for allegedly cutting a pension deal with law enforcement unions to get their endorsement.

In the Senate race, Fiorina said during a campaign stop this week that negative ads against her have not swayed voters. Her spokeswoman, Julie Soderlund, said Tuesday’s poll shows Fiorina has the momentum.

“Barbara Boxer has hit her ceiling with voters, and on Nov. 2 she’ll meet the floor when they sweep her out of office,” Soderlund said.

Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said the senator always expected the race to tighten in the final weeks.

“We’ve had a sustained pounding for the last two months, much of it by outside groups, and it takes a toll,” Kapolczynski said. “The good news is we’re still ahead, and we have a strong campaign here for the next 13 days.”

The PPIC poll was conducted by telephone in English and Spanish from Oct. 10 to 17. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the 1,067 likely voters surveyed.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (25)
  1. Robert Slate says:

    How can Meg Whitman, who didn’t take enough interest in California’s problems to vote once in the last 26 years, now feel qualified to be governor?

    1. crazy says:

      I don’t care for either or neither. All of them are crooked and selfess. Why don’t you run? We need young bloods….ones that have talent, balls and the interest of the poor and middle class. No Republicans, Democrates… just for the people party.

      Get rid of all of them and start over fresh, even the fat, lazy and igiots…seriously, stop complaining about everything and get to work.

  2. Below says:

    Because she is like every other Californian , fed up with the norm in Sac.

  3. Lynne says:

    Really? Then why does she sound exactly like the Ahnold?

  4. WingFat-Asia Road Warrior says:

    Meg Whitman is a highly questionable candidate. Boxer the Bozo is a far-left socialist who’s “discard after date” has long since past. She needs to be kicked the curb ASAP.

  5. anon says:

    If you think Barbara Boxer is a socialist, go look up the meaning of the word. I hate how long she’s been in Washington but she’s better than Fiorina, a failed executive who will offer nothing in the Senate except the word “no”.

  6. Alice says:

    You are all liberal crazies out there. You deserve what you get. California has already gone down the drain and it is getting worse.

    1. Crazy says:

      Alice, your one to know…it takes one to know one. So, leave my wonderful and beautiful State. Go to New York or Alabamoooo…..

      This is the best State! right below Hawaii and Puerto Rico…..

  7. Mark says:

    Shot term memory loss?
    The black hole Ca. and the rest of the country is in was made by 8 years of republicans in power. These so called (conservatives) who spent more money and ran up the national debt. higher than any time in history, and rather than actually pay for these debts. themselves, (taxes) have chosen to simply pass it on to our children.

    1. Al Jihad says:

      Mark is a liar. King Hussein overspent in 20 months more than the Bush did in 8 years.

      If it’s Brown, FLUSH IT DOWN!

      1. Mike4703 says:

        Al–It is totally different to spend in a recession to prevent a depression. Bush spent and made unfunded tax cuts while the economy was booming making the following crash worse. Also you are not counting the stiumulus funds that have been paid back or still unspent and you are not counting the Bush suplimental spending requests which are not in the official budget but still increase the deficit. In short you are falling for the offical Republican party line on this that never changes regardless of the facts

    2. Sunny says:

      You are a liar. Obama Hunssen spent 3 trillions in two years compare to Bush spent 1.5 trillions in 8 years. Elect Jerry and Barb will sink Cali. down further.

      1. crazy says:

        what da? are you a rapper?

      2. crazy says:

        not sorry for your stupidity…igiot. He’s cleaning up the Bush. “Sunny” my arse!

  8. Davey says:

    Anyone to protect the public union and benefit. Who care about the private sector.

    1. Al Jihad says:

      Good post. Go to the DMV, stand in line for an hour so the slugs can act like they’re doing you a favor by taking your money. Those are Brown’s people – worthless ticks on California’s backside.

      If it’s Brown, FLUSH IT DOWN

      1. crazy says:

        what da? are you a rapper?…. sorry for the posting above.

  9. Fred says:

    This article doesn’t understand polling. Polls have inherent error. When a poll shows a 5 point advantage one week and a 7 point advantage the next week, nothing really has changed. The “change” is well within the expected error of the poll. In other words, In other words, nothing has changed in the Boxer-Fiorina polling since September. The reporter needs to take a little course on error in polling.

  10. Sunny says:

    It hard to believe Jerry Brown in the lead. What kind of poll? 1 republican, 2 independents and 7 Dems. Who is believe in CBS and AP? They both are the propaganda of the Dem. I cast my vote by mail for Meg and Carly and all of my friends did the same. We have enough of Dem. Why would elect the guy who has been there before and not even good for Cali. This old guy belong to retirement home. Why re-elect Barbara? She has been there almost two decades and done nothing for us.

    1. crazy says:

      Yeah… and get rid of yourself while you’re at it. What do you say to all the Dem’s and Rep’s that have dominated the government? If I can join the military and die, then I should be able to old enuf to run for Governor too. But no… I’m not young and inexperience… like Bush has one up on me… Fockers.

      It’s all about you isn’t it, isn’t it?

  11. Tom Nguyen says:

    Boxer ‘s 20 years in congress serve nothing but Israel’s interest: She must be dropped out of out budget

    Jerry Brown: another tax payers’s waste, he did not do a good jobs as Governor, Attorney General, Mayor of Oakland: this guy is a total waste

  12. NA says:

    The last thing California needs for governor is a “say anything to win” re-tread from the 1970s. Brown is an old fart who probably farts dust and it is time for him to retire He was a failure then, he has been a failure ever since, he has never really worked for a living, and he will be a failure again as governor.

    Boxer has been in the Senate waaaaaay too long. Time for someone new.,

  13. Big G says:

    These polls are a joke. They only ask a specific amount of people & then they go to certain areas to attain the results they want. Jerry Brown is part of the problem & Boxer is a waste of air that we breathe. I wish you Meg & Fiorina haters could actually give real reasons for voting for either of these 2 career pension padders. Name 5 things that Barbara Boxer has done in the Senate that benefited us. She is one of the least liked memebers from anyside in Washington. This state is in a mess & electing new blood can’t hurt us anymore that we already are.

  14. crazy says:

    Pole? oh, Polls, It sounded like striper poles to me. That’s where they all hang out anyways… I vote for stripper poles.

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