By Steven Harmon - Contra Costa Times
SACRAMENTO — She has spent a fortune — $100 million and counting — and Republican Meg Whitman has not moved the dial against Jerry Brown in the gubernatorial race.
Despite an aggressive summer campaign in which she went on the offensive against Brown immediately after winning the GOP primary, Whitman remains stuck behind Brown, 37 percent to 34 percent, according to a survey released Wednesday night by the Public Policy Institute of California.
And her ramped-up attempt to appeal to Latino voters has not yet paid dividends: Brown's lead over Whitman among Latinos is more than double — 42 percent to 18. Brown also holds a slight lead among independents, 30 to 28 percent. The poll surveyed 1,321 likely voters from July 6-20 with a margin of error of 2.7 percent.
In the same poll, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer held a 39 to 34 percent lead over Republican challenger Carly Fiorina.
The numbers show, political observers said, that Whitman's strategy of using the typically slow summer months to attack Brown and cut into a core Democratic constituency may not be working, raising questions over whether Whitman might have to re-evaluate her overall approach.