While the polls last week seemed to put the California U.S. Senate seat out of reach for Carly Fiorina, two polls this week indicate that the race remains a toss-up, with the incumbent Barbara Boxer enjoying a modest, but definitely not insurmountable lead.
One reason the 28-year Washington veteran seemed to surge was that with her cash advantage, she was the first to go on the air. Now that Carly and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (along with the Chamber of Commerce) have returned fire, we see the career politician slipping again. Her negatives remain very high. And she just looks old — and out of touch.
While the SurveyUSA and Rasmussen polls still show Boxer ahead, Fiorina campaign spokesman Andrea Saul said the “race remains a dead heat”:
Despite the fact that Barbara Boxer spent weeks pouring millions of dollars of special-interest money into baseless attack ads against Carly, she was unable to significantly improve her standing with voters. Now that Carly is on the air setting the record straight about Barbara Boxer’s dismal 28-year career in Washington, voters are being reminded daily of just how little Boxer has delivered for California – and the gap is closing again.
And that gap may been even more narrow that polls suggest. Save for a few die-hard lefties in San Francisco, Beverly Hills and other tony neighborhoods of Southern California, Democrats just aren’t enthusiastic about their party’s nominee. When I told Democratic friend about the merits of Peace and Freedom Party nominee Marsha Feinland, he, while acknowledging the incumbent’s ineffectiveness, said he was sticking with Boxer because she’s the Democrat. Hardly a ringing endorsement.
With Republicans, particularly in the Golden State (given the Democrats’ recent shenanigans), more raring to vote than their Democratic counterparts, the enthusiasm factor could tip races to the Republican where polling gives the Democrat a slight lead. Pollster Glen Bolger contends that “A very cautious measure of the enthusiasm gap found it worth an average of an extra 4.6 points for Republicans on the ballot, adding anywhere from two to eight points to the GOP ballot score. That is a significant boost in close elections.” (H/t: Jim Geraghty.)
In the Central Valley, voters are incensed at the indifference of the federal government to their plight. In the suburbs, independents and Republicans are concerned about higher taxes on their income and increasing government intrusion in their lives. Independents are concerned about the growing jobless rate and the decreasing number of employment opportunities.
These people are eager to trek to the polls to vote against the incumbent party. Meanwhile, Democrats just can’t muster much enthusiasm about a three-term incumbent whose “most famous moments on Capitol Hill,” in the words of the liberal editors of the San Francisco Chronicle, “have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots.”
You can support Boxer’s opponent here.