Why It’s The Second $100 Million That Counts


In California politics this year, it's the second $100 million that counts.

There are two ways to read the results of a new Field Poll out today that shows Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown in a virtual tie (44-43) with Republican Meg Whitman. The way you choose depends on whether you think the $100 million Whitman is about to spend on the general election will have the same kind of impact as the $100 million she spent to win the primary.

If you're a Whitman fan, the poll offers evidence that her spending is working, and thus provides hope that more spending will improve her position. She's even with the Democratic nominee in a Democratic state. She even is doing fairly well with Latinos -- receiving support of 39 percent of those in the poll, after a primary which saw a pitched battle on the immigration issue that had hurt her ratings among Latinos. A little more money -- OK, a lot more money -- and she can win this thing.

If you're a Brown fan, you read the poll this way. Even after all the money Whitman has spent and all the campaigning she's done, she isn't even ahead. Brown has barely campaigned. He has nowhere to go but up. And if spending $100 million wasn't enough to convince more than 43 percent of Californians to support Whitman, what's she really going to gain with another $100 million?

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