Whitman’s money, trumpeted early on as a difference-maker in the race, might have even contributed to negative opinions of her, says Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento.
She has pummeled California airwaves for months with ads painting Brown’s 40-year career in California politics as a failure. But the ads appear not to have had the desired effect.
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.