Poll: Meg Whitman pulls ahead of Jerry Brown in governor's race

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Frank Stoltze/KPCC

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman greets supporters after she announces she's running for governor as a Republican.

A newly released poll indicates that Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is moving ahead of Democratic contender Jerry Brown. Political experts credit the gain to Whitman’s frequent TV campaign ads.

Forty-four percent of registered Californian voters favor former eBay CEO Meg Whitman over the former governor and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown. Brown won the support of just 41 percent of those voters.

"The story is the money." said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. The former Republican consultant says the $39 million Whitman’s contributed to her own campaign for a blitz of TV ads has paid off.

"The amount of money and the level of advertising that the Whitman campaign has run to date is not only unprecedented in California political history but it’s very clear that it’s had an extremely marked effect on the campaign."

53 percent of voters who’d seen Whitman’s advertisements backed her over Brown. But only 33 percent of voters who hadn’t seen those ads favored Whitman.

The Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California conducted the statewide poll of 1500 registered voters during the last week of March. Its margin of error is just over 2.5 percentage points.

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