Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer hold single-digit leads in new poll

Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer hold single-digit leads over their Republican opponents, according to the latest Public Policy Institute of California poll.
The survey, which was conducted between Oct. 10-17, polled 1,067 likely California voters.

The poll shows Brown’s lead expanding over Republican Meg Whitman in their gubernatorial contest, while in the U.S. Senate race, Republican Carly Fiorina seems to be slowly closing the gap between her and incumbent Boxer. Brown holds a 44-36 percent lead over Whitman. Boxer’s lead over Fiorina is 43-38 percent.

In the last PPIC survey, Whitman and Brown were in a statistical dead heat, with Whitman holding a 38-37 percent lead over Brown. Boxer held a 42-35 perecnt lead over Fiorina in the last survey.

Both races have a high number of undecided voters. In the governor’s race, 16 percent of those surveyed said they have not yet decided who to vote for. In the Senate race, 13 percent said they remain undecided.

Brown’s growing support seems to be a function of the Democratic base returning to the party’s standard bearer. Brown’s support among Democrats has jumped to 76 percent, up from 63 percent in September, the poll found. Brown has also made inroads among independent voters, according to the poll. Whitman enjoys the support of 37 percent of independents, while Brown has 36 percent support. In September, independent voters favored Whitman 38-30 percent.

Poll respondents said Whitman would do a better job on the state budget and taxes as well as the economy, but they gave Brown the edge on education, the environment and immigration.

Whitman advisor Rob Stutzman sent an e-mail to reporters this week citing two Republican polls that show the race as a dead heat. “Yes both polls are done by GOP pollsters but don’t dismiss them,” Stutzman wrote. “Unlike the smash and grab robo call media polls circulating today, both of these polls deeply measure voter intensity. In other words, they’re tracking more accurately what a turnout scenario is likely to be in two weeks.”

The poll found problems for some measures on the November ballot. Proposition 19, the measure that would legalize marijuana, is slipping: The survey found that 44 percent of respondents favor the measure, with 49 percent opposing it. In September, the measure had a 52-41 percent advantage.

Support has fallen below 40 percent for Proposition 23, a measure that would suspend the state’s greenhouse gas law. A measure to roll back some corporate tax breaks, Proposition 24, is also below 40 percent.

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