"She'll be back," predicts Ronnee Schreiber, an expert on Republican female candidates and a political science professor at San Diego State University. But "she has a lot of work to do, to shore up support among Latinos."
And it's been pointed out that the fact that she and Carly Fiorina, who lost to Boxer, were both CEOs didn't help in an economy where people were losing their homes and jobs.
"Money alone doesn't buy an election. It may get you admission (to the race) but not the victory," says Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Senior Fellow at USC's School of Policy, Planning and Development. Whitman was a "flawed candidate, had a weak campaign. The political environment wasn't happy with CEOs with Wall Street ties and Brown took advantage of that."
Tucker Bounds, communications director for the now-dismantled Whitman gubernatorial campaign, declined to comment about Whitman's future.
But if Whitman does decide to regroup and run again, she should start the campaign sooner rather than later, says Schreiber. The exit poll information is a resource that would reveal who didn't vote for her and why.
"She needs to do the Obama thing and say, 'I heard you, I'm listening now and working on that,'" Schreiber said, "and then do something about it."