Whitman is supported by 48 percent of likely voters in the November election, an 8 percentage-point lead over Brown, according to a poll by Rasmussen Reports, which uses automated telephone calls to conduct its surveys. The results are a switch from earlier this month, when the company found Brown leading Whitman by 43 percent to 41 percent.
A separate poll released last month showed that the ex- executive and Brown, a former two-term California governor who is currently the state’s attorney general, were in a virtual tie in the race to replace Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who must step down in January because of term limits.
The winner of the November election will inherit a state trying to climb out of its worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression. Schwarzenegger and the Legislature are in a stalemate over how to erase a resurgent $19.1 billion deficit in the current budget year, which began in July.
The Rasmussen poll was based on a survey of 750 likely voters on Aug. 24. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
The poll came after the state Republican Party held a convention in San Diego this past weekend. The state’s Democrats held their convention in April.