The most recent USC College/Los Angeles Times Poll has 52 percent of all likely voters saying Whitman did a poor job handling revelations about her housekeeper Nicky Diaz Santillan. For many days last month, Whitman faced questions about when she and her husband might have known that the Mexican housekeeper they hired for years was in the United States illegally.
“Voters are making a judgment about Whitman’s character and how she handled a crisis,” says USC political scientist Darry Sragow, interim director of the USC College/Los Angeles Times Poll.
Apparently, the housekeeper episode, plus other statements Whitman has made about immigration, have hurt her status among Latinos – where her unfavorability rating has jumped from 34 percent to 52 percent in the most recent poll.
“Whitman’s declining favor with Latino voters might be the result of several recent moments, not only the incident involving her former housekeeper, but also her statements during the debate at Fresno State, broadcast in Spanish through Univision," said Manuel Pastor, USC professor of American Studies and Ethnicity. “A Fresno State student who is in the country illegally asked both candidates about the Dream Act, legislation to allow undocumented youth to gain citizenship in return for attending college or entering the military. Whitman seemed to indicate that she thought the student was taking the place of a citizen, and that may not have played well with Latino voters who were listening to the debate.”