Support for Whitman drops; Majority favor open primary

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California Republican gubernatorial candidate and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman smiles as she speaks to the Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce March 18, 2010 in San Jose, California.

The Public Policy Institute of California reports a “stunning” plunge in support for gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. The opinion poll released less than a month before the primary election also indicates that a majority of Californians favors the creation of an open primary.

The survey shows a 23 point drop in support for former eBay CEO Meg Whitman since March.  That tightens the Republican primary race for the gubernatorial nomination. Thirty-eight percent of survey respondents favor Whitman, 29 percent favor state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, and a third of likely voters have yet to decide on a candidate. 

Allen Hoffenblum, publisher of The Target Book, told Larry Mantle on today's Airtalk that while Whitman has lost points and the number of undecided voters goes up, Poizner has yet to benefit from the swing in numbers.

The poll suggested that the Republican primary race for the U.S. Senate is even tighter. A quarter of likely voters surveyed favor former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina, while 23 percent say former Congressman Tom Campbell has their vote.  Support for California Assemblyman Chuck Devore doubled – but he still lags Fiorina by eight points. 

In contrast, 60 percent of likely voters say they’ll vote yes on Proposition 14’s creation of an open primary. 

Voters split down the middle over whether to legalize marijuana use in California.

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