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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Has the Whitman Backlash Already Begun?

Like a lot of people, I’ve been wondering if California Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s mammoth and apparently endless ad campaign would eventually backfire on her among voters tired of seeing her every time they turn on the tube. Now there’s some evidence the backlash could be developing very early in the 2010 cycle.
Rasmussen released a new California poll today, and most of the attention will be paid to the topline finding that has Jerry Brown reopening a 6-point lead over eMeg; the last two Rasmussen polls had them tied.
But what I find more interesting is that Whitman’s negatives seem to be spiking pretty fast. A Rasmussen poll in February had her favorable/unfavorable ratio at 56/28. A mid-March Rasmussen poll placed the ratio at 51/34. Now it’s at 47/43. And that’s during a period when she’s pretty much had the airwaves to herself, with the exception of a recent Steve Poizner ad blitz that rarely even mentions Whitman (and then just calls her a “liberal”).
Meanwhile, Whitman’s general election opponent, that ultimate known quantity, Jerry Brown, has a favorable/unfavorable ratio of 51/42. It’s pretty interesting that Brown built up his negatives over a period of forty years. With Whitman, it’s more like forty days. At this rate, she’s going to be one of the more unpopular people in California by the time she faces primary voters in June, and assuming she wins that one, it’s a long time til November.

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