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Editor’s Note: Favorable/Unfavorable – Whitman 49%/44%, Brown 47%/48%

Election 2010: California Governor

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown remain virtually tied in the race for governor of California.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Whitman edging ahead of Brown for the first time with 47% of the vote. The Democrat picks up 46% support. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, while three percent (3%) are not sure.

The two candidates have been tied in surveys dating back to September 2009, although Brown bounced briefly out front immediately following the state Democratic Convention in April. But the race tightened again last month after Whitman’s Republican primary win, with Brown ahead 45% to 44%.

Male and female voters are evenly divided between the two candidates. Voters not affiliated with either major political party give a modest edge to Whitman.

California trends Democratic, but voters in the state have a pessimistic view of the economy as local legislators struggle with one of the worse state budget deficits in the country.

The survey of 500 Likely Voters in California was conducted on July 12, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Eleven percent (11%) of California voters rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent, but 53% say it’s poor. While 27% think the economy is getting better, 49% say it’s getting worse.

Seventy percent (70%) of California voters say the country is in a recession.

While 53% of California voters favor an Arizona-like immigration law in their own state, this finding is eight points lower than support on the national level. Thirty-nine percent (39%) oppose such legislation in the state.

Seventy percent (70%) of voters who favor an immigration law similar to Arizona’s support Whitman. Seventy-three percent (73%) of those who oppose an Arizona-like law favor back Brown.

Brown, a longtime political figure in the state who previously served as governor from 1975 to 1983, is viewed Very Favorably by 25% of California voters and Very Unfavorably by 31%. The son of a former governor, he is currently the state’s attorney general.

Twenty-three percent (23%) have a Very Favorable opinion of Whitman, while 28% regard her Very Unfavorably.

Both candidates are well-known to voters in the state, but at this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.

To read entire report, click here.