GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is making inroads among Republicans of all stripes, from young voters to born-again Christians, according to the most recent Field Poll released Thursday.
After seeing her lead dwindle in public opinion polls last month, Whitman has surged back to a 26 percentage-point advantage over rival Steve Poizner less than a week before the June 8 primary.
The poll found Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of online auction firm eBay, leading Poizner among every Republican group surveyed. Her lead was even wider among Republicans who identified with the conservative tea party movement, a group that Poizner has aggressively courted.
Republicans also saw Whitman as the candidate with far and away the best chance of beating likely Democratic nominee Jerry Brown in the general election, a strong factor in her overall support, said Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo.
"If you believe Whitman has the better chance, you'd be more likely to support her," DiCamillo said. "When you're looking at Poizner's numbers, he has not been able to attract support among the target populations he was trying to go after. And that's a large part of why he's trailing so badly."
Whitman made her case before a group of older voters Thursday at a warm Roseville rally. She sounded themes that are resonating with Republican voters this year: smaller government, lower taxes and less regulation.
"We don't have revenue problem in California, we have a spending problem of epic proportions," she told a crowd of about 250 at the Sun City Timber Creek Lodge. "I've never seen anything like it in my 30 years in business."
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