When Whitman began her first major advertising blitz in March, 40 percent of state voters had a favorable view of her and 27 percent viewed her negatively. Now, her unfavorable ratings have nearly doubled to 51 percent, the Field poll found.
“Her negatives continued to grow as people were reminded day after day that Whitman was spending more time trashing Jerry Brown than laying out her own plans for the state’s future,” says Ms. O’Connor. “This state is really hurting, and people wanted to know what her specific vision was.... They feel she never told them.”
These problems were exacerbated by the revelations about Whitman's housekeeper, whom she subsequently fired. Attorney Gloria Allred, who represented the housekeeper, made allegations of abuse and disrespect.
“To hear that this immigrant worker endured years of possible abuse at the hands of someone who wants to be a leader for the state was definitely a turnoff for Latinos who, although not uniformly, largely see the issue of immigration as a moral issue,” says Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.
At one point, polls suggested that Whitman was running well among Latinos. Now Latino support for her has plummeted.
Whitman had a small chance to begin to turn things around this week at Maria Shriver’s “The Women’s Conference” in Long Beach, Calif. In a conversation with Brown and Schwarzenegger, moderator and "Today Show" host Matt Lauer asked Whitman and Brown if they would pledge to end all negative ads in the last week before the election.