SACRAMENTO (AP) — Democrat Jerry Brown holds a double-digit lead over Republican Meg Whitman in their contest for California governor less than a week before Election Day, according to a Field Poll released Thursday.

Poll Director Mark DiCamello Says Brown Is Picking Up Supporters

The survey found the former two-term governor leading the former eBay chief executive 49 percent to 39 percent among likely voters. It is the third poll released in the past week showing Brown leading a race considered too close to call a month ago.

“I don’t remember anything in recent memory, going back 50 years, a candidate riding this low in the polls overtaking and winning,” this close to an election, said Jaime Regalado, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles.

That doesn’t bode well for Whitman, a billionaire who has spent nearly $142 million of her own money in her first bid for political office. She has spent the past two weeks traveling California in a bid to woo the independent voters she needs to win in a state where Democrats hold a 13-point registration advantage.

Brown appears to be gaining favor among undecided voters, who in previous polls made up about a fifth of likely voters. Thursday’s poll shows 12 percent remain undecided.

“What we’ve known in the history of elections, politics and campaigns is that undecided voters like to see where momentum is going and then they are likely to jump on the bandwagon,” Regalado said. “Simply by looking at the polls, Jerry has to be happy and Meg has to be worried.”

Just a month ago, Brown and Whitman were tied after a summer of intense advertising and campaigning by Whitman. Brown began advertising over the Labor Day weekend.

The general election campaign for governor has become the most expensive in the state’s history, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

The candidates have met in three debates this fall, and each dealt with controversies that temporarily overshadowed their campaigns. Whitman was forced to admit that her former housekeeper of nine years was an illegal immigrant from Mexico, after she called on holding employers accountable for hiring illegal workers. Whitman says she fired Nicky Diaz Santillan last year when she learned Santillan was in the country illegally.

Meanwhile, a female Brown campaign aide was overheard on a leaked audio tape calling Whitman a “whore” for cutting a deal with a police union for its endorsement. Brown apologized for the remark but continued to attack his rival for bowing to union pressure.

The Field Poll indicates Brown has shored up his support among women and Latinos, traditionally Democratic-leaning constituencies that Whitman has aggressively targeted. Latinos are supporting Brown, the state attorney general, 57 percent to 27 percent, while women support him 51 percent to 35 percent.

Of the likely voters interviewed, 21 percent have already cast their ballots — 48 percent in favor of Brown and 41 percent in support of Whitman. An estimated 55 percent of likely voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail, a record high percentage for a general election in California.

The poll surveyed 1,092 likely voters by telephone from Oct. 14-26. It has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (12)
  1. FLF says:

    Congratulations uneducated and uninformed Ca Ca land voters- if you return moonbeam to office then you are dumber than the box of rocks that elected him the FIRST time! With him and a corrupt liberal legislature in control there will be no system of checks or balances! The state will be on a STEEP slope of financial suicide! There will be NO adult supervision of the state by any means! The inmates will be running the asylum and have the keys to the car also! If the above scenario seems like DC then you are right! Hey unlike Barry obummer the George Soros sock puppet – we can’t print our own money here! We will be in a giant hole and the digging will not stop because we are broke. We are headed for the cliff with no emergency brake!

    1. Not a Moron says:

      Hey, FLF, instead of making any real contribution with your comments here, once again you’ve demonstrated nothing more than your usual moronic scapegoating of ‘liberals’. Clearly, from the plethora of comments you’ve littered upon the CBS news sites, you take each new journalistic entry as an opportunity to pretend like you have something to say, but anyone with intelligence can see through your yawn-inducing, flaccid rhetoric. And so I propose this: Instead of posting your hateful, tea-party-ish comments on sites like this, why don’t you do everyone a favor and keep your George W. Bush-lovin’ self scanning the horizon for doom, gloom and bankruptcy while nestled into to that smelly old La-Z-Boy on your junked-up front porch? I’ll keep looking on the bright side, instead (even though Bush got us into this, and then rode off with his sacks of $$$ into the sunset). By the way, the John Birch Society is desperate for members. Why don’t you look them up? They love gullible, hate-spewing morons like you.

    2. bugman says:

      why did Linda ronstant leave jerry in Africa in the 80’s?

  2. rjsmitty says:

    Well said FLF

  3. Willowby says:

    Guess she can write off that $140 million
    Should have donated it to the homeless
    would have fed a lot of hungry folks

  4. JeffM says:

    Why would they interview the executive director of an institute named after Brown’s father? Obviously shilling under the guise of the “Media”.

  5. RB says:

    I’m not sure why CBS apparently believes the public is not intelligent enough to understand that they are supporting Jerry Brown. They are also telling undecided voters to vote for Brown because undecided voters vote for the front runner according to their analyst who also happens to work for the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs. Nonsense.

  6. rjsmitty says:

    Dems are trying to steal slections!
    According to Bob Haueter, who served as chief of staff for former California Assembly Minority Leader Scott Baugh, and who is an expert on manual recounts, a Democrat lawyer intimately involved in “stealing” elections from Republicans through hand recounts admitted to the process and even shared the techniques involved.

  7. rjsmitty says:

    Has anyone seen my meds? I’m feeling really loopy right now and need them bad.

  8. Zoe says:

    YESSS!! GREAT NEWS for California!!

  9. bugman says:

    comments taken off! interesting!

  10. Tom says:

    I voted for Jerry Brown for Atty General. He ran as a moderate, yet didn’t govern that way. He runs as a moderate now, but he has a history of being all talk. Meg W. is not perfect, but she has not spent an entire lifetime on the public dole. Lacking private sector experience as Brown does, makes him a threat to a California resurgence. Are we really stupid enough to let Gloria Allred’s cheap, explotive trick lead us down a path to more B.S.? Come on, let’s elect a woman…and a business woman at that. We just can’t be this stupid… The Who summed it up best, “We don’t get fooled again.”

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