I’m on the call with Steve Poizner’s campaign, and they are reporting on their polling numbers that show a significant collapse in Meg Whitman’s early lead.
According to the campaign, their internal polling showed Whitman led Poizner 59-11 in mid-February (called it their “Valentine’s Day massacre”). However, since then, Poizner has closed gap to a 38-28 Whitman lead statewide, and outside the Bay Area, he’s closed the gap to a 35-30 Whitman lead outside the Bay Area.
That’s a pretty big collapse in Meg Whitman’s numbers. Poizner was down nearly 50 points in February and is down 5 (outside CA). No wonder Mike Murphy was trying to slam Poizner on the Whitman campaign’s own call – they’re seeing 1/3 of the Republican primary electorate undecided with 5 weeks to go after a massive, unprecedented carpet bombing of the state’s TV airwaves.
And a word on that electorate – Murphy said that the average likely Republican primary voter is over age 50. In case you thought the CA GOP was at all representative of California.
As to Poizner, what he’s shown is that Whitman’s support was very, very soft. That should not only give him hope that he might be able to win, but give Jerry Brown hope that he can build off his stronger base of support to run a strong campaign taking advantage of Whitman’s weaknesses – arrogance, ties to Goldman Sachs, desire to destroy schools and other vital public services – to erode Whitman’s very soft support.
The GOP primary just got a whole lot more interesting – and so too did the gubernatorial race as a whole.