Politics & Government

Jerry Brown, leading Whitman in polls, takes populist pitch to campaign trail

LOS ANGELES — His lead widening over Meg Whitman in the governor's race, Jerry Brown campaigned Sunday at traditionally black churches in south Los Angeles, urging a reliably Democratic constituency to vote on Election Day.

Brown, the Democratic nominee, cast himself as a populist, criticizing Whitman for her infrequent voting record and characterizing her policy proposals as elitist.

"I'm not going to tell you, but you've probably heard that the person I'm running against didn't vote most of the time," Brown said at Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Compton. He said California is a wealthy state and that "we've got to spread it out to everybody," not "suck it all up to the top."

Brown has made Whitman's proposal to eliminate the capital gains tax a point of emphasis, saying it would benefit the rich and cost billions of dollars.

Whitman, the Republican nominee, has said the tax cut would improve the business climate, eventually increasing overall tax revenue.

A University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll released Sunday showed Brown leading Whitman 52 percent to 39 percent among likely voters, according to the Los Angeles Times. (Results for likely voters have a margin of sampling error of 3.2 points in either direction, the Times said.) A Public Policy Institute of California poll last week showed Brown with an eight-point lead.

Whitman's campaign criticized the latest poll's methodology and said the race is much closer than it suggests. Whitman spokesman Darrel Ng said the Republican is still trailing Brown but that, "We think it's much, much closer – something in the low single digits."

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