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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown has opened up an eight-point lead over Republican Meg Whitman, according to poll results released tonight by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The statewide survey of 1,067 likely voters showed Brown leading Whitman 44 percent to 36 percent, with 16 percent of respondents undecided.

Brown and Whitman were in a dead heat in PPIC's September survey, with Whitman ahead 38 percent to 37 percent.

The most recent poll, conducted Oct.10 to Oct. 17, showed support for Brown rising among key voting blocs, including independents and Latinos. Whitman must make inroads with both groups to offset Democrats' 13-point registration advantage in the state.

Meanwhile, likely voters aren't feeling so high about passing Proposition 19, the initiative to legalize and allow taxation of marijuana for recreational use. Support for the measure has fallen eight points since September, when 52 percent had been in favor of the initiative. Now, just 44 percent support the initiative, and 49 percent plan to vote no.

The poll carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Here are some of its other findings:

• Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer posted a five-point edge in the U.S. Senate race, leading Republican Carly Fiorina 43 percent to 38 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Boxer led by seven points in September.

• Opposition to Proposition 23, the initiative to suspend the state's greenhouse gas emission reduction law, has grown. The measure was opposed by 48 percent of respondents and supported by 37 percent, with 15 percent undecided.

• Likely voters favor Proposition 25, the majority-vote budget initiative, 49 percent to 34 percent, with 17 percent undecided.

Proposition 24, the measure to repeal corporate tax benefits approved by the Legislature, has neither majority support nor majority opposition, with 31 percent saying they would vote yes and 38 percent saying they would vote no. Another 31 percent are still undecided.

Click here for the full poll results, which should be posted by 9 p.m.


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