Whitman, Minority of Californians Against Arizona Law

Moderating stance on immigration meant to appeal to state's latinos

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Meg Whitman stance on the Arizona immigration law may woo latino voters, but might also lose her support among party faithful.

    Republican gubernatorial nominee and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman might have just picked the wrong side in the immigration fight, at least from a purely political standpoint.

    Whitman, who appointed former governor and Prop. 187 bogeyman Pete Wilson as her campaign chairman and largely refused to talk to newspapers during the primary, took to the pages of bilingual broadsheets in Southern California to say that she does not support an Arizona-style state law to crack down o illegal immigration, indeed comparing her stance to that of her Democratic rival, Attorney General Jerry Brown.

    On the one hand, it sets Whitman apartment from the state and national Republican party, and runs counter to moves made by senate candidates John McCain in Arizona and Carly Fiorina here in California.

    It's also counter to recent polls conducted in the state, with one from CBS News that found 57 percent of Californians supporting the Arizona Law, and a Field Poll showing support beating opposition 49 to 45 percent, respectively.

    She's not alone in the party, at least, with Repbublican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado also opposing the Arizona law. She does differ with Maldonado in terms of education for undocumented immigrants, however, promising not to allow them access to the state's public college and universities.

    Brown also opposes the Arizona Law, but supports access to higher education by immigrants and a path to citizenship for those already living, working and paying taxes in the state.

    The move is part of a larger effort by the Whitman campaign to court latino voters, 71 percent of whom oppose Arizona's law. And while there's concern among GOP pundits she'll alienate her right wing base in the state, the bigger concern among the GOP is that she'll alienate right-leaning independents, as well.

    Jackson West wonders who it was that suggested Whitman moderate her stance on immigration based on Field Poll numbers earlier this week on NBC Bay Area.