New SurveyUSA poll has Fiorina walloping Campbell, Whitman solidifying her lead

AJ Contributor
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California’s GOP primary polls are moving back and forth so dramatically some observers might have whiplash.  Any conventional wisdom about how the U.S. Senate and governor’s races will shape up should be tossed out the window until the real tally on June 8.  Consider this: two weeks ago former Congressman Tom Campbell held a 11 percentage point lead over Carly Fiorina in the GOP governor’s primary. That lead has now incredibly evaporated into a 23 point deficit if SurveyUSA’s new poll results are accurate.

The details:

In the Republican primary for US Senator, support for former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is up sharply in the past 2 weeks, from 24% on 05/10/10 to 46% today 05/24/10. Fiorina’s support has more than doubled among women, seniors, Hispanics, the less educated, and in the Inland Empire. During these 2 weeks, Former Congressman Tom Campbell’s support dropped 12 points, from 35% on 05/10/10 to 23% today 05/24/10.

But it’s not just the Senate race causing politicos to take a closer look at the battles within the California GOP.

Last week, a Public Policy Institute of California poll found that the dynamics of the California Republican governor’s primary had shifted toward Steve Poizner, who had managed to shave 23 percentage points off former eBay CEO Meg Whitman’s lead. In March, Whitman received 61 percent support with Poizner only swaying 11 percent of voters to his cause.  The new poll showed the race tightening with Whitman at 38 percent to 29 percent for Poizner.

But what looked like a clear trend for Poizner doesn’t seem to be holding up.  SurveyUSA says:

In the Republican primary for Governor, Meg Whitman has re-captured momentum she appeared to lose earlier this month, and today leads Steve Poizner 2:1, with 1 in 6 likely voters having already cast a ballot. SurveyUSA’s tracking graphs display a pronounced bow-tie, exemplified by, but not limited to, male voters, where Whitman went from 51% support on 04/22/10 to 37% support on 05/10/10 to 55% support today 05/24/10. Poizner’s angle of support is inverted, from 28% on 04/22/10 to 41% on 05/10/10 to 28% today 05/24/10. Almost identical sea-sawing is evident among gun owners and among likely voters in greater Los Angeles.

As is often the case, the campaign on the short end of the poll is downplaying the results:  “‘There was a poll a few days ago that had me within single digits,” said Poizner. ‘Another poll, just a couple points away. So the polls are all over the place. This is what you expect at this point in the campaign, when all the advertising — there’s a lot of confusion out there.'”

Whitman isn’t taking any chances with the GOP base and managed to chalk up a big name endorsement Tuesday as Newt Gingrich threw his backing behind her campaign. Gingrich is following in Dick Cheney’s footsteps who endorsed Whitman on May 16.

While these endorsements may help Whitman win the GOP primary, California Dems see them as big, juicy targets waiting to be exploited if she should win the GOP nod.