Despite outspending Jerry Brown nearly 14 to one, Meg Whitman has fallen behind in several recent public opinion polls, fresh off of two televised debates and battered by allegations that she employed an illegal immigrant housekeeper for more than nine years.
Whitman has spent more than $138 million on her campaign so far, including $119 million of her own money, according to campaign filings released yesterday. Brown, by contrast, has spent about $10 million. He has about $22.5 million in the bank for the closing weeks of the campaign.
Whitman has about $9 million in the bank but can continue to draw from her personal fortune as Election Day nears – something she may consider doing to regain ground she has lost in recent polls.
An Ipsos/Reuters poll released yesterday had Brown leading 50-43, and SurveyUSA and Rasmussen polls released yesterday showed him leading 47-43 and 49-44, respectively. Each of the polling results had Brown in the lead but showed a small possibility, due to sampling error, that Whitman could be closer or even ahead. A Pollster.com analysis on the Huffington Post website also shows significant gains by Brown, and Nate Silver of the polling blog FiveThirtyEight.com has pegged Brown as a 75 percent favorite to win.
Some private polls reportedly have him up as much as 10 points.
For their part, the Whitman campaign has downplayed the recent polls, releasing a memo by their own pollster yesterday calling the race a dead heat, with Brown holding a 43-41 advantage.
Whitman appears to be hoping that blanketing voters with advertisements will continue to allow her to define Brown and herself to an increasing number of undecided voters. She has spent between about $2 million and $4 million a week on media buys since at least early August, records show.