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Brown, Boxer ahead in new Times/USC poll

September 25, 2010 |  5:20 pm

Democrat Jerry Brown has moved into a narrow lead over Republican Meg Whitman in their fractious contest for governor, while his party colleague Barbara Boxer has opened a wider margin over GOP nominee Carly Fiorina in the race for U.S. Senate, a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll has found.

The Democratic candidates were benefiting from their party’s dominance in California and the continued popularity here of President Obama, who has retained most of his strength in the state even as it has dropped in other parts of the country. Support for Obama may play a key role in the Senate contest, one of a handful nationally that could determine which party wins control of the chamber.

At the same time, the survey showed, Republicans Whitman and Fiorina have yet to persuade crucial groups of voters that their business backgrounds will translate into government success.

Brown, the former governor and current attorney general, held a 49% to 44% advantage among likely voters over Whitman, the billionaire former chief executive of EBay.

Boxer, a three-term incumbent, led Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett-Packard, by 51% to 43% among likely voters in the survey, a joint effort by The Times and the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Read full coverage from Times Political Editor Cathleen Decker here.