Boxer drops into dead heat with Fiorina in Rasmussen poll

You’ll remember that Rasmussen has actually been the good news poll for Barbara Boxer in her re-election campaign.  The last Field Poll showed her trailing Carly Fiorina, and so did Survey USA, while Rasmussen at the same time had her up five points, 45/40.  Now her Rasmussen firewall shows signs of crumbling as it has her lead down to a single point, 44/43:

Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer and her Republican challenger Carly Fiorina are now essentially tied in California’s U.S. Senate race, moving the state from Leans Democratic to a Toss-Up in the Rasmussen ReportsElection 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in California shows Boxer with 44% support, while Fiorina picks up 43% of the vote. Five percent (5%) like another candidate in the race, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.

Earlier this month, Boxer held a five-point lead, 45% to 40%,  and she was ahead 49% to 42% in July. Since February, Boxer’s support has ranged from 42% to 49%. In those same surveys, Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, has earned 38% to 43% of the vote.

The good news — such as it is — shows leaners breaking her way; with them included, Boxer’s lead extends to five points.  Fiorina only picks up a point with the leaners.  However, that only takes Senator Ma’am to 49%, and only with weak support.

What’s driving the numbers downward for Boxer?   The economic situation in California and the nation has to be damaging her political fortunes.  A majority, 51%, say the economy is getting worse, and 23% say it’s staying the same, while only 21% think it’s improving.  Only 2% rate the economy as good — and no one rates it as excellent.  Two-thirds of respondents give the worst rating of “poor.”    Three quarters believe the US is still in a recession.  Those are toss-the-bums-out numbers, and Boxer has to run against a woman with significant private-sector executive experience who can actually make sense on economic policy.

Nor does Boxer have any advantages on other issues.  Voters narrowly split on the ObamaCare mandate, 50/47 in favor, but then more significantly split in favor of suing to stop it, 44/37, which essentially suggests that all of the passion is on the opposition.  A 56% majority favors extending the Bush tax cuts at least another year; a plurality favors extending all of the Bush tax cuts, 46%, as opposed to 41% that support extending all but the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans.  Boxer isn’t even firmly in the latter camp.

The only thing Boxer has going for her is Barack Obama, oddly enough.  Despite opposition to his one big legislative victory and dissatisfaction with the results of Obamanomics, he gets a 55/43 approval rating among California’s voters.  While it’s a plus to not have an Obama albatross around her neck like other Democrats around the nation, Obama won’t be on the ballot, either — and probably won’t be much help in turnout.  Right now, it looks as though Fiorina has the momentum, and unfortunately for Boxer, Fiorina has the resources to keep it.