Democratic strategists privately concede, however, that Whitman might stand a better chance because eBay, the on-line auction company which she used to head, has developed its reputation less as a top-down company and more as a platform which has made it possible for 1.3 million people to earn some or all of their living.
More than one of Whitman's supporters who participated in the Tuesday rollout of her Latino coalition in South El Monte told ABC News that they were behind the Republican businesswoman's campaign for governor because they think that she does not need to be loved the way they think Schwarzenegger does.
"I hope she gives the Legislature a lot of pain. I hope they're asking for Demerol," said former Republican congressional candidate Teresa Hernandez, the co-owner of El Cielito who hosted Whitman's Tuesday event. "The difference between her and Schwarzenegger is … he's an actor. I'm married to an entertainer. They have huge egos. They like to be liked, ultimately. So, when he got in there, I don't think he knew how hard it was going to be and that he was going to be hated and I think that's what made him waffle on so many issues."
"For her, I think it's OK if she goes up to the union and beats them up and they don't like her," Hernandez added. "I don't think she cares."
Brian Quintana, a registered Democrat backing Whitman, echoed Hernandez, saying that the state would benefit from a hard-nosed businesswoman who markets herself as having a "spine of steel."
Quintana, a Hollywood producer, said he also likes the way in which Whitman spent weeks sleeping overnight at eBay in 1999 when the company's website crashed. At the time, Whitman wanted to be there full-time because she thought the website crash threatened the company's future.
Asked if Californians might see her sleeping bag at the State Capitol in Sacramento, Whitman told ABC News, "You know, whatever it takes. ... If it takes sleeping bags in the Capitol, it wouldn't be the first time (laughter). I've done sleeping bags at the ops center at eBay, and it worked pretty well."