Fiorina, Boxer tied in PJM/Cross Target poll

posted at 3:35 pm on June 15, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Can Carly Fiorina do what other Republicans haven’t since 1988 and win one of California’s US Senate seats in a general election?  The last Republican elected to represent the Golden State in the upper chamber was Pete Wilson in 1988, who gave it up when elected Governor in 1990.  Barbara Boxer has been seen as somewhat vulnerable but Republicans have been long seen as too weak to take advantage of it.  However, a poll commissioned by Pajamas Media from Cross Target shows Fiorina slightly edging Boxer in a head-to-head matchup:

A poll taken Sunday, June 13th, showed Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and California Attorney General Jerry Brown in a statistical tie with their respective opponents, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman. (Full results are here[pdf].)

The poll, conducted via telephone for Pajamas Media by CrossTarget, was of 600 likely California voters, and has a margin of error of 4%. The CrossTarget poll was an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) poll, using the same technology and methods as the polls CrossTarget conducted for PJM in the Massachusetts election in January, in which PJM/CrossTarget was one of the first to predict Scott Brown’s election.

Fiorina got 47.0% of the respondents, while Boxer only got 46.5% — a virtual tie.  However, for a three-term incumbent, that is a poor result, and not exactly an outlier.  Polls taken in California have shown Boxer’s support hitting a ceiling in the mid-40s, a sure sign of trouble for any incumbent in any year, let alone in 2010.

The sample looks a little odd, though:

In a surprise result, party affiliation reported by respondents showed a 3% majority for the GOP; these results were adjusted to match the usual proportion of a 7% Democrat majority. If party identification has really shifted by 10% toward the GOP in California, this would have dramatic implications for the election in California and for the United States as a whole.

I’d call an R+3 result in a California survey more than a “surprise result.”  It’s probably an indicator of shaky sampling.  California turning into an R+3 state in this cycle may be possible, but it’s highly unlikely. Cross Target did readjust the results back for a D+7, which looks more like reality, so the tie actually is the result of that adjustment. However, the sample had just 17% of its respondents identify as independents, which looks low even in a closed-primary state.

The other question may be the choice of Sunday for the survey, although that would presumably play against Republicans.  There is a great deal of controversy over weekend polling, with Republicans usually alleging that they give the GOP a disadvantage.  It’s safe to say that many people aren’t home on Sundays to answer these calls, and those that do may not represent the population at large as well as surveys taken during the week might.

Still, these results are well within the numbers seen for these candidates in other polls; this is hardly an outlier.  The fact that Boxer had to get rescued at all from a sampling adjustment speaks volumes about her vulnerability, and the opportunity that Republicans have in aiming for her seat.

Update: I forgot to qualify the first sentence as a California US Senate seat; rewritten.  Thanks to Marlon W for the heads-up.


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Palin Power.

davek70 on June 15, 2010 at 3:39 PM

If party identification has really shifted by 10% toward the GOP in California, this would have dramatic implications for the election in California and for the United States as a whole.

Belive it, bro.

I would be surprised if its not even more than 10%. Both Fiorina and Whitman will win comfortably.

Norwegian on June 15, 2010 at 3:40 PM

As much as I’d like to believe this, I’ve never heard of Cross Target before.

amerpundit on June 15, 2010 at 3:43 PM

I don’t know. I live in California and there are an awful lot of Obama stickers still on cars. Of course where I live there are an awful lot of Kucinich signs still on cars so it could be possible. I hope so.

sandee on June 15, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Thanks to mass unskilled immigration, CA has become a failed state. I doubt if any non-liberal will ever win statewide office there again. Should Fiorina pull it off- and I don’t think she will- it’ll just be a last hurrah.

Jon0815 on June 15, 2010 at 3:46 PM

As much as I’d like to believe this, I’ve never heard of Cross Target before.

I remember them polling the MA Senate race this year, and showing Scott Brown ahead by a few points more than he actually won by.

Jon0815 on June 15, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Senator Ma’am Boxer will have time for a better hairdo once she gets bounced from office.

go Carly

ted c on June 15, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Carly Fiorina needs to learn how to speak Spanish…

… rapidly.

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2010 at 3:51 PM

OT: Your vote now counts. More than once!

ConservativePartyNow on June 15, 2010 at 3:53 PM

I would love to see that woman gone. I mean Boxer of course.

Terrye on June 15, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Go California!

John the Libertarian on June 15, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Barbara Boxer is one of the worst (if not the worst) Senator in the United States Senate. I hope she loses.

terryannonline on June 15, 2010 at 4:05 PM

I wouldn’t say people are flocking to the Republican Party in California but the Democrats are becoming Independents in droves.

crosspatch on June 15, 2010 at 4:07 PM

OT: Your vote now counts. More than once!

ConservativePartyNow on June 15, 2010 at 3:53 PM

That’s it…

… It’s officially over. And I thought being $130 Trillion in debt was bad.

So where does everyone want to go for the ‘after’ party?

Seven Percent Solution on June 15, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Ummm…. so Hitler got a new pollster?
/sarc

El_Terrible on June 15, 2010 at 4:12 PM

California R+3? If so there’s only one explanation for it….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bmxyj6iInMc

Archimedes on June 15, 2010 at 4:18 PM

I’ve been out stumping at a few events over the last couple of months for my candidate Nick Popaditch for Congress in CA-51. I don’t know about party afil. shifting, but I can tell you a conservative message is well recieved every where we go, and this is traditionally a very dem district, like 50% dem to 25% republican. You would not know that in talking to people however.

JusDreamin on June 15, 2010 at 4:19 PM

How come in California there isn’t one Hispanic Dem running for state wide office?

angryed on June 15, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Barbara Boxer is one of the worst (if not the worst) Senator in the United States Senate. I hope she loses.

terryannonline on June 15, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Hey, you can help by boycotting California until they dump Boxer. That includes products from and vacations in CA. If they want to be stooooopid, let them pay for it.

belad on June 15, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Can Carly Fiorina do what other Republicans haven’t since 1988 and win a US Senate seat in a general election?

Missing the word “California” maybe?

mwdiver on June 15, 2010 at 4:26 PM

I don’t know. I live in California and there are an awful lot of Obama stickers still on cars. Of course where I live there are an awful lot of Kucinich signs still on cars so it could be possible. I hope so.

sandee on June 15, 2010 at 3:44 PM

..while thee is no disputing anecdotal observations, I saw a massive evaporation of Ogabe/Plugs bumper stickers about August last year when the natives grew restive over the town hall fiascoes.

There are almost *none* where i live — a college town.

Also, there were a lot of bumpers with shreds of the stickers on them which evinces a higher degree of frustration: the desire to expunge evidence of a sycophantic man-crush but lack of necessary willpower to complete the task.

Kucinich? These were/are scarcer than Ron Paul stickers.

The War Planner on June 15, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Carlyfornia

Falz on June 15, 2010 at 4:50 PM

I wonder how many times Carly Fiorina will ask Sarah to campaign with her. My prediction: 1 and only 1..very early on, too.

SouthernGent on June 15, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Boaxer’s “Call me Senator” moment is going to kill her.

GarandFan on June 15, 2010 at 5:47 PM

If both Carly and Meg can win after all the years of Ahnold screwing up the state, that would be a miracle. I guess that would prove Obama and Boxer are even bigger screwups.

NebCon on June 15, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Barbie! …. er …. “SENATOR” Boxer ……….

Lose the frickin’ doo!

It’s soooo …. soooo ….. SO “YESTERDAY!”

Frump!

bannedbyhuffpo on June 15, 2010 at 11:10 PM