Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner Both Still Predicting Victory

Poizner believes Whitman's heavy lead in polls "soft"

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Steve Poizner waves off the idea that he's out of the race, but Meg Whitman's consultants are practically ready to break out the bubbly.

    The recent poll results showing former eBay CEO Meg Whitman with a wide lead over Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in the gubernatorial election were cause for glee at Whitman campaign headquarters.

    At least if you believe the internal analysis delivered to Whitman's political fixer, Mike Murphy, and presumably "leaked" to Flash Report.

    "The latest results of these independent polls show that Meg Whitman is on her way to winning the primary and is the only Republican who can win in November for Governor," campaign public opinion consultants John McLaughlin and David Hill wrote to Murphy. They concluded "In the end, Steve Poizner is too far behind to win. A continuation of Poizner's primary bid only serves to help Jerry Brown."

    Not so fast says the Poizner campaign!

    "We like the idea that Meg has become the effective incumbent in this race,” Poizner media strategist Stuart Stevens told Calbuzz. “And the campaign will become a referendum on the incumbent."

    He told the assembled audience at a Commonwealth Club appearance in Lafayette Thursday night that he was "just starting," with the Contra Costa Times calling him "self-deprecating, funny and passionate about his bid," though reporting that the event was much more sparsely attended than a similar Whitman appearance.

    A week ago, Whitman was in real hot water with the press, with leaked footage of a staged "Town Hall" shoot and video dodging reports, but has managed a turn around among wonks, speaking to the press, not embarrassing herself at a debate with Poizner and releasing a detailed policy statement.

    Poizner is sending out copies of his new book to reporters, but the clock is ticking on the time before the primary for any saturation bombing campaigns on the airwaves.

    Jackson West isn't a betting man, and won't be here.