Republican Prospects In California Collapse
Two new polls in California seem to confirm that the prospect of a Republican resurgence in The Golden State has ended.
First, Jerry Brown seems to be headed for a fairly secure win against over Meg Whitman:
Jerry Brown’s pulling away in his quest to return to the California Governor’s office and now leads Meg Whitman 53-42.
Given how many tens of millions of dollars Whitman spent on defining herself to the voters, it’s somewhat remarkable how few of them she could get to like her. 55% see her unfavorably to only 36% with a positive opinion. Brown, on the other hand, has had voters warm up to him somewhat over the course of the campaign. His favorability ratio is 48/44, compared to 37/39 when PPP first took a look at the race back in May. His positives have increased by 11 points while his negatives have only gone up by 5.
Whitman has a 14 point lead with independents. But Brown has 86% of the Democratic vote locked up while Whitman is getting only 80% of Republicans.
Second, Barbara Boxer seems to have pulled ahead of Carly Fiorna for good:
It’s been the story of all three of her reelection runs: Barbara Boxer always looks vulnerable early in the cycle and then pulls away and wins easily in the end. It looks like that will be the case again this year, as she now leads Carly Fiorina by a 52-43 margin.
It’s not that California voters particularly like Boxer- in fact by a 46/44 margin more of them disapprove of her performance than think she’s doing a good job. But Fiorina simply has not proven to be a formidable candidate. 49% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of her to 38% with a favorable one. It’s not impossible to win as a Republican in California, but it is impossible to win as an unpopular Republican.
Fiorina would have had to do three things to win this race: win independents by a large margin, get close to 100% of the Republican vote, and get a significant amount of crossover support from Democrats somewhere in the 20% range. On the independents front she’s doing well, holding a 54-37 advantage. But she doesn’t have nearly the amount of bipartisan support she would need to win, getting only 10% of Democrats. That’s actually less than the 13% of Republicans supporting Boxer
I’m not sure I agree that another Republican would have fared any better against Boxer than Fiorina. After all, such a Republican wouldn’t have had access to Fiorina’s personal fortune, which may be the one thing that kept her competitive in this race for so long.
It may be because of the presence of a marijuana initiative on the ballot, it may just be a reflection of California’s unique electorate. Whatever the reason, California looks like it will be one of the few states to resist what seems to be a fairly strong Republican surge next Tuesday.