Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has a commanding lead over Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in the race for the Republican Gubernatorial nomination according to a new poll conducted by M4 Strategies and released by the Small Business Action Committee today.

Republican voters, indicating a preference, supported Whitman over Poizner 60% to 12%.

In separate questions testing the candidates’ favorable and unfavorable ratings, Whitman scored a favorable to unfavorable advantage of 53% to 9%. Poizner’s scored 20% favorable, 9% unfavorable.

Poizner’s absence from the airwaves seems to be taking a toll on his campaign. Nearly 50% of the poll’s respondents said they have not heard of the Insurance Commissioner. Only 22% had not heard of Whitman.

Poizner intends to become more well known through a blitz of radio and TV ads he plans to launch soon. Referring to his campaign kitty, Poizner told the Associated Press: "We’re going to spend it all" … "I mean, it’s not like I’m trying to keep my resources for the general (election) or something. We’re going to spend what it takes."

Of course, that raises the question – If Poizner grabs the nomination but comes out of the Republican primary with an empty campaign coffer, how will he match up in the general election against Jerry Brown, who won’t have to spend a dime in an uncontested Democratic primary. Still, Poizner understands he needs to get positive name recognition before its too late.

The poll indicated Republican voters are still very concerned with the state’s direction. Over 90% said California is on the wrong track.

The survey was conducted February 16 and 17 amongst 427 high-propensity Republican voters. It has a Margin of Error of 4.74%.

M4 Strategies, a messaging and research firm based in Orange County, conducted the poll.

Additional poll results focused on the June primary will be released tomorrow.