Welcome to California … the Red State. At least that’s what Survey USA finds in its latest poll of likely voters in the gubernatorial and Senate races, where Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina still lead. Fiorina barely edges Barbara Boxer in what is really a dead heat, but Whitman still beats Jerry Brown outside the margin of error — and the former two-term Governor still remains stuck at 40%:
Incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer remains locked in a tight fight with Republican challenger Carly Fiorina, according to this latest SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KABC-TV Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KGTV-TV San Diego, and KFSN-TV Fresno. 3 identical SurveyUSA tracking polls have shown the contest within the theoretical margin of sampling error, though, in all 3 cases, the Republican has been nominally ahead, confounding many observers and, for now, preserving the possibility of a take-away. Today, it’s Fiorina 48%, Boxer 46%. There is movement, or perhaps statistical noise, among Hispanic voters.
In the contest for Governor of California, it’s Republican Meg Whitman 47%, Democrat Jerry Brown 40% today. Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll 3 weeks ago, Whitman is up 3, Brown is down 3. But, compared to a SurveyUSA poll 7 weeks ago: no change. Among men, the race has been flat since polling began in July, with Whitman at 50% in each poll, and Brown at 35% to 37%. Among women, more volatility, with Brown 13 points atop Whitman 3 weeks ago, but tied with the former eBay CEO both 7 weeks ago and today.
If both Boxer and Brown lose, what does that say about the direction of California — and what does it mean for Barack Obama? California’s one of the few states where his approval numbers remain mildly positive. If that’s true and Democrats still lose statewide races in this cycle, it makes Obama an irrelevance, and perhaps means that the state with the largest number of electoral votes may be in play two years from now.
The demos on the gubernatorial race are intriguing, too. Whitman gets 59% of independent voters, not entirely unexpected in this cycle, but she also gets 20% of Democrats, too. Whitman may not win the ethnic demos, but she does better than most would expect, with 32% of the African-American vote and 37% of the Hispanic vote, too. She also wins every income bracket, and every geographic region except the Bay area.
Of course, this could be a fluke, too, brought on by two very flawed Democrats. Jerry Brown is an ancient retread from the Paleobiggovernment Era in California, but not quite old enough for everyone to forget what a lousy job he did in his two terms as Governor from 1974-1982. And Barbara Boxer will be known as Senator Ma’am, a point embarrassing enough to merit a question during the debate — and for Boxer to pass on another chance to just apologize for her arrogance. Instead, she attempted to explain her way out of it, and the NRSC pounced:
After this, Boxer may join Brown at the bottom of the 40s for the next eight weeks.