Two weeks before the primary, the Republican contest for governor is a blowout again, with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman surging to a 27-point lead, 54-27, over state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.
That’s according to SurveyUSA, the same pollster that, two weeks ago, reported that the GOP race was a dead heat, with Poizner trailing by two points and Whitman seemingly on her way to squandering what had once been a 50-point lead.
So SurveyUSA, which did the polling for four California television stations, has the contest swinging wildly toward Poizner, and then wildly back toward Whitman, all in less than a month.
“It’s obviously a volatile race,” SurveyUSA CEO Jay Leve said in a phone interview last night. “I was as surprised as you are.”
But he said it’s interesting to note that the poll showed that Whitman isn’t the only female candidate coming on strong in the final days of the GOP primary.
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who in other polls was neck and neck with former Rep. Tom Campbell, has opened up a 23-point lead, 46 to 23, in this one.
And the San Jose Mercury News reports on endorsements that may help in the primary, but not the general:
When Carly Fiorina launched her campaign for U.S. Senate late last year, she wanted little to do with Sarah Palin. "I've never met her," Fiorina replied when asked about the former Alaska governor's leadership skills. "Next question."
And Meg Whitman, the front-running GOP candidate for California governor, probably wasn't planning to ask Dick Cheney or Newt Gingrich to endorse her when she launched her ubiquitous ad campaign last fall.
But as the races for governor and senator go down to the wire before the June 8 primary, big name Republicans are jumping into the fray with endorsements — 11th-hour nods that may offer big boosts now but carry serious risks in the fall, when the primary winners face the general electorate in a solidly blue state.
Palin endorsed Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, on May 6. Former Vice President Cheney endorsed Whitman 10 days later. And former House Speaker Gingrich endorses the eBay billionaire in an op-ed piece in the Mercury News today, calling her "a transformational leader for California."
The National Organization for Marriage, which already spent $300,000 this spring on anti-Campbell television ads, has begun making automated calls to more than 600,000 likely Republican voters, emphasizing Campbell's opposition to Proposition 8, the California ballot measure banning gay marriage.
Brown said the group's polling made clear that many Republican voters did not know Campbell's position on same-sex marriage. His group plans to spend at least $200,000 before the primary to make sure they do.
Beginning Monday, many of those same voters will be the target of at least three rounds of calls by the Susan B. Anthony List, which supports women candidates who oppose abortion. The group has endorsed Fiorina. Its president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said Campbell's abortion views have been "a great mystery" to voters.