Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman can both take something positive out of our newest poll in the California Governor's race. The good news for Brown is that he continues to lead by a healthy margin, 46-40 this time around. The good news for Whitman is that she's chopped Brown's lead in half since he led 48-36 in a PPP survey conducted in May.
Brown's lead is in no way a reflection that he is particularly popular or well liked by California voters. Only 41% have a favorable opinion of him, while 43% view him in a negative light. Republicans dislike him (74%) more than Democrats like him (just 63%) and independents see him unfavorably by a 40/44 margin.
Brown's numbers certainly continue to look good compared to Whitman's though. Only 30% of voters have a favorable opinion of her and 50% see her unfavorably. Just like Brown, voters across party lines dislike her (66%) more than voters within her own party (59%) like her. What's most remarkable in Whitman's numbers though is how independents feel about her. A whooping 61% say they have an unfavorable opinion to only 21% who see her positively.
Those independents are making much of the difference in the race right now. Whitman's party is more strongly unified around her than Brown's is around him, as she's getting 76% of the Republican vote to his 69% of the Democratic vote. But Brown maintains a solid overall lead thanks to a 47-31 advantage with independents, one of the largest PPP has seen for any Democratic candidate across the country.
Casting a shadow over Whitman's campaign is Arnold Schwarzenegger's continuing status as the least popular Governor in the country. 71% of voters in the state disapprove of the job he's doing and only 19% give him good marks. Generally when you have an outgoing Governor that strongly disliked you're not going to be inclined to replace him with another person in the same party.
The trend is good for Whitman but with atrocious favorability numbers in a strongly Democratic state she still has an uphill battle to win this election.
Full results here