Thursday, June 20, 2024

Whitman Loses Latino Votes Over Mishandling of Housekeeper Scandal

The campaign of California’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman took a blow among Latino voters, according to the first survey of Latinos to gauge the impact of the controversy over her firing of her undocumented housekeeper and disastrous handling of the matter afterward.

“Among Latinos, it wasn’t so much that Whitman fired her,” Louis DeSipio, a professor of political science at UC Irvine and expert on the Latino electorate, said. “It was that she didn’t take responsibility for her actions afterward.”

Whitman now trails Brown 52 to 39 percent among all voters, according to a Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll released on Sunday.   It is a margin that has doubled since the last Times/USC poll in September.

As previously reported in La Plaza, Nicky Diaz Santillan, Whitman’s housekeeper of nine years, was fired by Whitman in June 2009 and says she was “exploited, disrespected, humiliated and emotionally and financially abused” by the former eBay CEO.  Santillan says Whitman knew of her legal status in the country before she fired her.

Only 17 percent of Latino respondents in the poll said Whitman was better at telling the truth compared with 42 percent who said the same for her opponent Jerry Brown.  Two-thirds of Latino respondents said Whitman didn’t handle the matter over Diaz well, and overall, just over half of the respondents said she mishandled it.

Leaders in Whitman campaign called the poll inaccurate.

“Statistically, given the clear average of multiple public and private polls fielded in a similar time frame, the L.A. Times’ poll should be categorized as an outlier poll and can be dismissed as simply inaccurate,” John McLaughlin, a Whitman pollster, said.

The poll was conducted Oct. 13-20 and included a random sample of 1,501 California voters including 922 likely voters. The margin of error was 3.2 percentage points.