Skip to comments.California: Can Carly Close the Deal? (An out-of-touch Boxer is on the ropes)
Posted on 10/25/2010 7:28:24 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
For California Republicans and right-leaning independents, casting a vote in a statewide or presidential election is generally a quixotic act, a meaningless protest in a state that has voted for the Democratic presidential and senatorial candidates every year since 1992. Statewide offices as well tend to be dominated by Democrats. And while there are about 7.5 million registered Republicans, there are nearly 17 million registered Democrats.
But this year, there is a sense that the improbable might happen. Several recent polls show that Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina is tied with, or trailing only a few points behind, Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer. With the election eight days away and Boxer having reached 50 percent in only one of Octobers polls, there remains a decent chance that Fiorina could make up those last couple of points and win.
Its certainly different for Barbara Boxer, because she hasnt had a well-funded, strong challenger, says California GOP strategist Wayne Johnson. Shes never had a challenge like this.
Among the nations most strongly disliked politicians, Sen. Barbara Boxer nonetheless deserves special recognition for her vote-getting abilities. In her past three Senate runs, she has defeated by her opponent by 10 to 20 points every time. She has had fortunate timing. In 1998 she benefited from sharing a ballot with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gray Davis, who won by nearly 20 points, while in 2004 she got a boost from John Kerry backers. Her opponents have helped: 1992 GOP candidate Bruce Herschensohn was revealed a few days before a tight-fought election to have visited a strip club, while 2004 opponent Bill Jones never raised enough to even run a television ad.
But dont mistake Boxers electoral success for validation of her affability or political deftness. Even her ideological compatriots dont think she has those qualities. The Los Angeles Times endorsed Boxer but wrote of an assertiveness that often is perceived as arrogance, and hope[d] her fourth term will be marked by less bluster and more bipartisan achievements. The San Jose Mercury News also endorsed Boxer but conceded, We wish Boxer were less strident. This trait has cost her support for some important legislation and has damaged her ability to provide leadership in the Senate. The San Francisco Chronicle refused to endorse either candidate this year, editorializing that Boxer was an ineffective advocate for causes we generally support, adding that Boxers most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots.
Over half of Californians are unsatisfied with Barbara Boxer, said Jon Fleischman, a former executive director of the California GOP. A recent Fox News poll showed that 52 percent of Californians have an unfavorable view of Boxer.
But Fiorinas unfavorable ratings in the poll were about the same, at 51 percent. And in recent weeks, Boxer has campaigned fiercely, running ads that slam Fiorina for her decisions to lay off 30,000 workers and outsource some jobs during her time as CEO of Hewlett Packard. Boxer has also worked to make the social issues more prominent in voters minds, frequently touting her own abortion-rights absolutism in contrast to Fiorinas pro-life positions. A new Boxer ad reminds Californians that Sarah Palin endorsed Fiorina.
The attacks present a difficult challenge for Fiorina, a two-pronged assault on her message about job creation and her refusal to make social issues a pivotal part of the campaign. Fiorina is unabashed about her belief in the sanctity of life, but she doesnt wear it on her sleeve, and she doesnt put in her campaign literature, says Fleischman.
But Boxers strategy may backfire: This is not an election focused on abortion or gay marriage. The people who care most passionately about preserving legal abortion are going to vote Democrat, no matter what, points out Claremont McKenna College political scientist John J. Pitney Jr. Fiorina may also be well positioned to counteract the attack ads. Shes a very confident person who inspires confidence in her ads, says Johnson, referring to the Fiorina commercials that feature the candidate directly addressing the audience about changing California. That helps blunt some of the negative attacks.
According to an NRSC-commissioned Tarrance Group poll released last week that showed Fiorina and Boxer tied, the Republican still needs more support among independent voters. While Fiorina, at 47 percent, is leading by 13 points among independent voters, the Tarrance Groups Dave Sackett said she needs to improve upon this and get her ballot strength among ticket-splitters up into the mid 50s.
Fiorina, who touted her willingness to buck the Republican party if necessary in a recent ad, appears to be trying to appeal to Californians who still like President Obama and the Democratic party but are concerned about the countrys direction. Such an attitude appears to represent a crucial segment of the California electorate: The Fox poll showed that 46 percent of likely California voters approved of the president, but 71 percent were angry or dissatisfied with how the government was working, while 67 percent thought that Obamas economic policies had hurt or made no difference in Californias economy. In a state with the nations third-highest unemployment rate, voters decisions may ultimately depend on whom they trust to create jobs.
Voter turnout may favor Fiorina. There are a lot of Democrats that are very disappointed in the performance of their own party, says Johnson, adding that while staunch Democrats wont vote Republican, they may not vote at all this year. Fiorina may also be helped by Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitmans aggressive get-out-the-vote efforts.
But win or lose, Fiorina has disproved the conventional wisdom that no conservative candidate can be competitive in a statewide California race. She has focused on jobs and the economy, pushing spending cuts and the tax cuts that will help businesses thrive, but has maintained her conservative stances on abortion, immigration, and the environment.
The combination of high unemployment and an arrogant, out-of-touch incumbent has been enough to put the Golden State in play for Republicans. Whether it will be enough to carry Fiorina to victory will be a close call: Unlike the polls, Fiorina does not have much of a margin of error.
Katrina Trinko writes for National Review Onlines Battle 10 blog.
Remember the days when visiting a strip club meant you couldn't get elected to Congress?
To extend the boxing analogy from the title, Sweet Science aficionados know that true champions finish with a flurry of hammerhead blows; wannabes rope-a-dope and wait for the bell. Now, it’s all up to Carly to show us which she is.
RE: Remember the days when visiting a strip club meant you couldn’t get elected to Congress?
Heck, today, supporting an illegal alien’s right to stay in the USA WILL get you elected.
Help make Zucker’s “Call me Senator” go viral - email and FB it around: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixiYZ9DPk8o
It really is funny, and this kind of mockery (1) infuriates leftscum and (2) turns Boxer into (more of) a joke. The second part can cost votes. Lots of them!
I wonder why?
My son's wife registered as a Republican in California. My son told her not to and registered as an Independent.
Some time later, my son received a notice about upcoming elections. His wife didn't.
When she looked into the matter she was told that she had been "de-registered". She asked why. She was told that perhaps it happened when she changed her address. When she asked by her husband wasn't "de-registered" she received no explanation but was told that she would be "re-registered".
Some months later, she decided to check to make sure. Yep! She had been "de-registered" again!
According to this site:
THE PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUE OF CALIFORNIA
At the close of registration for the June 2010 primary election, 17 million of the 23.5 million eligible adults in the state were registered to vote: 44.5% as Democrats, 30.8% as Republicans, 20.2% as decline to state or independents, and 4.5% as other parties.
The number of registered voters in the state has grown by 1.3 million since June 2006. The number of registered Democrats has grown from 6.7 to 7.6 million, and the number of independents from 3 to 3.4 million, while the number of Republicans edged down from 5.4 to 5.2 million.
Edit to add. Based on these figures:
“44.5% as Democrats, 30.8% as Republicans, 20.2% as decline to state or independents, and 4.5% as other parties.”
TURNOUT will be the key.
If the Independents and Undecideds swing towards the challengers, and the Republican turnout overtakes the Democratic turnout, the challengers can win in California.
It remains to be seen if this will be so.
Dick Morris, a long time pollster and political observer says that at this point in time, if a well known politician like Barbara Boxer cannot reach the 50% level in the polls, that means there are a lot of undecideds. And if history is any indication, undecideds tend to move AGAINST the incumbent by an 80% margin.
Every time I put up a "Vote Republican" sign in Marin County it was taken down immediately--no matter how inaccessable--no matter what time of day or night.
This did not happen in San Francisco. The signs stayed up.