The Republican gubernatorial primary is shaping up like a blowout basketball game. One team comes in heavily favored and jumps to a big early lead. The underdog puts up a fight in the third quarter and makes it interesting -- only to collapse utterly in the fourth.
That's where we are with Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman, according to the latest Field Poll released this morning. The poll shows Whitman beating Poizner 51-25 among likely Republican primary voters.
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Whitman's campaign looked to be in trouble a couple weeks ago, following a barrage of attacks over immigration and her ties to Goldman Sachs. According to a PPIC poll conducted May 9-16, Poizner pulled to within 9 points.
But it looks like those Republican primary voters who had doubts about Whitman decided to come back into the fold after getting a good look at Poizner.
Though Poizner has tried to run to the right of Whitman, the poll shows Whitman beating him by 30 points among Tea Party supporters. Another bad sign for Poizner: among undecided voters, 36% believe Whitman is the stronger candidate against Jerry Brown, while only 20% believe that Poizner is the stronger candidate. So don't look for late deciders to break his way.
Poizner, by the way, will be attending church in L.A. County on Sunday. He'll be at the New Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Norwalk.