All that not-campaigning for the governor's office by Attorney General Jerry Brown might be coming home to roost.
In the latest poll from the Publicy Policy Institute of California, Brown, a Democrat, leads former eBay CEO and Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman by a slim five percentage points, with 27 percent of respondents undecided.
He enjoys a larger lead over Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, also a GOP candidate, in a head-to-head matchup, but then Poizner is trailing Whitman by 30 points in the same poll -- meaning he'd have to win over pretty much every undecided voter to earn the nomination.
Poizner likes to point out that Whitman has spent $19 million to achieve that lead -- not that carping has helped him in the polls.
Whitman is on the East Coast promoting her new book, The Power of Many, which might sound like a collectivist manifesto from the likes of recently departed historian Howard Zinn, but instead is the type of motivational business wisdom tome beloved by airport bookstores.
Poizner reportedly has his own book due for publication shortly, and has been making appearances in Sacramento promoting his "10-10-10" plan to reduce state spending and taxes in order to bank a $10 billion "Rainy-Day Fund."
Brown does seem to be ramping up his campaign, having rented a warehouse space in Oakland for a campaign headquarters and hired longtime bagman Steve Glazer to run his operation. He can also probably cross potential Democratic nomination rival Jackie Speier off the list of contenders -- Speier is rumored to be eyeing an entry into the Attorney General race.
Brown, at least, is not alone among state Democrats in being able to boast only a slim lead in polls -- Senator Barbara Boxer barely leads former gubernatorial candidate turned senate candidate Tom Campbell by four percentage points in the PPIC poll, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina by eight.
Whitman's camp was sagacious about the latest numbers, with spokesperson Sarah Pompei once again declaring that "we know there will be many polls during the course of this race," a line that's been trotted out for pretty much every poll in the campaign so far, regardless of how it portends for Whitman's prospects.
Jackson West realizes that the five-point swing from the Field Poll to the PPIC numbers is at least within the margin of error, but really, the democrats might want to think about actually campaigning.