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Ex-EBay CEO Whitman Leads Brown in California Race, Poll Finds

Republican Meg Whitman, the former EBay Inc. chief executive officer, has pulled ahead of Democratic rival Jerry Brown in California’s gubernatorial race, according to an opinion poll.

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.

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