In 2010 a candidate would be ill-advised to ignore the Internet, especially if he or she wants to reach younger voters who aren’t paying attention to more traditional campaigns — or, even worse, are tuning out politics entirely.

And Republican Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO who is running for California  governor against Democrat Jerry Brown,  certainly isn’t the first candidate to advertise on Facebook in hopes of tapping into its nearly 500 million users.

But Whitman’s campaign says she has become the first political candidate to use “polling ads” on Facebook — or spots that engage users, asking them to decide which issues they want to hear the candidate address.

Campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei says the first polling ad went live last night, popping up on the Facebook pages of Californians over 18 and asking them to choose one of three issues facing California:  creating jobs, cutting state spending or fixing education.  

When the votes are tallied in about a week, she said, Whitman will address it in a videotaped speech to the Facebook audience.