Whitman cements lead over Poizner in race for governor

SACRAMENTO — With just days to go in their race, former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman has regained her substantial lead over state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in California's Republican gubernatorial primary, according to a survey released Friday.

The Field Poll found that Whitman has the support of 51 percent of likely Republican voters compared with 25 percent support for Poizner. About 18 percent of voters remain undecided ahead of Tuesday's primary.

Field also found Whitman leads among all subgroups surveyed, including those who identify with the tea-party movement and self-described born-again Christians.

Whitman also is favored regardless of voters' gender, age, religion or region of the state in which they live. She also leads with Republican voters across the political spectrum.

Poizner's lack of support even with those who label themselves as conservatives "really represents a failure of his campaign to bring home what were supposed to be his strongest constituencies," poll director Mark DiCamillo said.

A March Field Poll found Whitman with a 49-point edge, but that was before Poizner started most of his advertising.

A separate poll found Poizner had closed the gap considerably as recently as two weeks ago, after capitalizing on the national debate over illegal immigration and federal charges filed against Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, where Whitman once served as a board member.

The winner will face Democrat Jerry Brown, the state's attorney general and former two-term governor, who is seeking to return to his former job at age 72.

The Field Poll surveyed 511 likely GOP primary voters by telephone from May 27 to June 2. The sampling error rate was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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