A poll released Saturday night shows that former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman has stopped her plunge in recent polls to again take a large lead in the Republican race for California governor.
The poll from the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California also shows that former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina has become the clear front-runner in the race to take on Barbara Boxer for her U.S. Senate seat.
Whitman leads state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner by 24 points — 53 percent to 29 percent — with less than two weeks to go before the June 8 primary.
But in a general election contest against the likely Democratic nominee, Attorney General Jerry Brown, she trails 44 percent to 38 percent in a race she once led, the survey showed.
The results differ sharply from a Public Policy Institute poll taken just 10 days ago showing Whitman with a nine-point lead over Poizner and the Senate race a statistical dead heat.
Both polls show that Whitman's lead is nowhere near the advantage she enjoyed two months ago before a steady stream of attacks from Poizner labeling her as too liberal.
Whitman led by 40 points in the last Times/USC poll in March and by 50 in the last Public Policy Institute poll.
Both the billionaire Whitman and multimillionaire Poizner have funneled millions into the race. Whitman has donated $68 million to her campaign from her personal fortune, and Poizner has given $24.4 million to his campaign.
In the Republican Senate race, the Times poll shows Fiorina leading former congressman Tom Campbell by 15 points, 38 percent to 23 percent. State assemblyman Chuck Devore is third at 16 percent.
In a head-to-head race with the three-term incumbent Boxer, the poll showed Fiorina losing by six points but Campbell winning by seven.
The survey, conducted for the Times and USC by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and the Republican firm American Viewpoint, questioned 1,506 registered voters from May 19 to 26.
The sampling error rate was plus or minus 2.6 percentage points for the overall sample, with a somewhat larger margin of error for partial groups.
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