Understandably, the Meg Whitman campaign distributed to reporters today polling memos from two private firms showing the face between her and Jerry Brown to be in a "dead heat." This comes on a day when the Field Poll -- the gold standard of polling in California -- released its final poll on the race, showing Brown up by 10 points.
If you're running for governor, if that final Field Poll shows you trailing, it's very bad news indeed.
The Field Poll, which operates exclusively in California, has been around since 1947. In the 53 top-of-the-ticket (president, governor, U.S. senator) contests it has polled, its final poll has showed the winner leading 49 times. It's been 23 of 23 since 1984.
Here's its recent history in governor's races:
2006: Final poll, Schwarzenegger up by 16 points; actual result, Schwarzenegger by 17.
2003: Final poll, recall wins by 8; actual result, recall wins by 10.
2002: Final poll, Davis up by 7; actual result, Davis by 5.
1998: Final poll, Davis up by 14; actual result, Davis by 19.
1994: Final poll, Wilson up by 10; actual result, Wilson by 14.
1990: Final poll, Wilson up by 10; actual result, Wilson by 3.