Brown and Boxer Open Up Commanding Leads in Latest Field Poll

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Brown-at-Bistro-33Californians may want to a build a mote around the state, protecting it from the tidal wave that is about to hit the rest of the country.  Fueled by anger and frustration over a lingering economic downturn and a dysfunctional government, voters around the country are ready to turn out the incumbent party.  However, that does not appear likely in California.

The Field Poll this week shows Jerry Brown, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, opening up a 10-point lead over his Republican opponent Meg Whitman.

The Field Poll is considered the premier statewide poll and it shows growing strength of support for Brown from Latinos, women, and independent voters.

In addition, a full fifth of voters have already mailed in their ballots, closing the window of opportunity that is already quite narrow.

“Whitman is the new candidate, the new person, and she’s the one who had to introduce herself to voters,” said Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo.

She has had to do so, and it has been a largely negative view, with 51 percent of likely voters holding an unfavorable view of her in the poll, compared to just 12 percent back in March 2009 when she first appeared on the scene.

Pundits will point to the illegal immigrant fiasco and show the decline in support among Latinos, but it is probably more simple than that.  Ms. Whitman spent huge amounts of money and failed to really connect with California voters.

There is also another factor, in the year of the outsider, in that Meg Whitman wants to portray herself as the ultimate outsider, having worked in the business world.  But Jerry Brown, in a recent commercial, played that into a huge negative when he juxtaposed the words that Meg Whitman has used with similar words that Governor Schwarzenegger has used.

The message was clear, Governor Schwarzenegger did not turn things around, in fact, he has been part of the problem.  All politics is local and the voters in California have at least seen that there is no clear solution in simply having someone from outside of politics step in.  In fact, there is a downside as the current Governor has failed to be able to get the stakeholders together to pass a budget on time or one that in reality balances the budget.

Boxer Takes a Strong Lead As Well

In the meantime, everyone has always believed they could knock off Barbara Boxer, but they never seem to do so.  Now, we see her opening up an 8-point lead over Carly Fiorina, in the latest Field Poll.

“With each poll, she gathers just a little bit more support, and she’s certainly in the most comfortable position now than she’s been in the past six months,” said Mark DiCamillo, the poll’s director.

Mr. DiCamillo went on to argue that, given California’s political breakdown, a Republican like Ms. Fiorina would have to do very well with independents in order to win.  But in this poll, independents are breaking by 49-32 for Barbara Boxer.

Moreover, in a race with two women, Ms. Boxer leads by 15 percentage points over Ms. Fiorina.

“What it says to me is that the women are going home to their partisan loyalties rather than crossing party lines in this race,” DiCamillo said.

One of the key ads launched by the Boxer campaign is one in which Boxer hammers her opponent for laying off workers while CEO at Hewlett-Packard. 

The ad hammers Fiorina claiming, “Fiorina shipped jobs to China, and while Californians lost their jobs, Fiorina tripled her salary, bought a million dollar yacht and five corporate jets.”

The most devastating portion, in a subsequent ad, was when one of the workers described having to train the new outsourced workers to do the job that they were replacing her on.

The Fiorina campaign countered that tax policies, not companies, were the primary cause of jobs being outsourced. The campaign additionally pointed out that Boxer has accepted thousands of dollars in funding from companies that have outsourced jobs or laid off workers.

Nevertheless, ads like this hit on a true source of anxiety for voters who are angry at Democrats because of the economy but worried about jobs going overseas, since there appears to be a job shortage in this country.

Mostly, I think Republicans just underestimate Barbara Boxer as an effective campaigner, and they really have not come close to knocking her off since her narrow victory in 1992.

AG Race Appears to Be a Crapshoot

The Field Poll will be out this weekend for the AG’s race.  Right now the Kamala Harris campaign is trumpeting a Suffolk University poll that shows Kamala Harris with a one-point lead in the race against LA DA Steve Cooley.

This race is a tough call, and if the staff breaks strongly at the top for Brown and Boxer, it could push more perilous campaigns over the top.  Nevertheless at this point, I would say the smart money is on Cooley, generally moderate over his liberal counterpart.

“The public Suffolk polling confirms private polling that shows Harris has the momentum in this race and is significantly cutting into Cooley’s lead in the Republican’s home county of Los Angeles,” said the Harris campaign in a news release.

Cooley spokesperson Kevin Spillane downplayed the significance of the poll, naturally, saying “Suffolk University has a reputation for being among the less reliable polls and doesn’t have much history of polling in California. They have historically skewed much more Democratic in their numbers than other public polls. Multiple private polls have Cooley up 8 to 9 points ahead and climbing. The LA Times Poll that came out last weekend had Cooley up 5 points. No other poll has had Harris ahead.”

The last Field Poll had Cooley ahead by four points, most polls I have seen have Cooley ahead, and I expect that he will eek out a win.

One interesting note is that apparently the Cooley campaign expects Brown to win.  The SF Chronicle Political Blog points out a fundraising that will take place the day after the election.  In it, it says, “Steve is the only Republican ahead in the polls and the only candidate strong enough to stand up to Jerry Brown and the Democratic establishment during the next four years.”

There you have it.  California is not going with the rest of the country this time.  What that will mean for all of us, I do not know.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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25 thoughts on “Brown and Boxer Open Up Commanding Leads in Latest Field Poll”

  1. Dr. Wu

    WE are still a blue state and many people underestimated Jerry Brown’s political skills (let us hope he puts them to good use after the election end deals with our budget issues). THe ad he ran against Whitman where she starts off stating “30 years ago you could do anything in California…” and Jerry then points out he was governor then was one of the best political adds I’ve ever seen. This was part of her stump speech–who was doing the fact checking? Whitman ran on competence and then ran an incompetent campaign.

    Boxer is more vulnerable. She is to the left of most of the electorate (including me) yet also cozy with the financial services industry, but the Republicans keep running right-wingers and losers against her, Fiorina was/is a disaster. She essentially ran HP, a great American company, into the ground and was fired in all but name. After the primary Meg was smart enough to move to the center. Of course this caused problems with her campaign, especially after the nannygate incident, but it was the standard and correct political move. But Carly continued to run to the right. No doubt some of the right-wingers on this blog will support her, but it was a poor political strategy. And the tape of her criticizing Boxer’s hair made Fiorinia look incredibly petty (and frankly Boxer is a much more attractive woman not that that should matter at all).

    So we remain blue. I’d rather be in a world where I have two candidates I could conceivably vote for. I’m an independent but the Republican party has some candidates who repulse me and that does impact Republicans in this state.

  2. wdf1

    THe ad he ran against Whitman where she starts off stating “30 years ago you could do anything in California…” and Jerry then points out he was governor then was one of the best political adds I’ve ever seen.

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEPlZYp5-Pk[/url]

  3. wdf1

    Recent Field poll on Cal. Governor’s race:

    [url]http://field.com/fieldpollonline/subscribers/Rls2362.pdf[/url]

    Recent Field poll on Senate race is probably only currently available to subscribers, but here’s the Sac Bee article on that poll, with more detail:

    [url]http://www.sacbee.com/2010/10/29/3142002/boxer-leads-fiorina-by-8-points.html[/url]

  4. rusty49

    Whitman was a complete joke, Fiorina not as much but still not a great candidate. Too bad, if the Republicans had run anyone respectable they would’ve won.

    OOOh yeah, 6 more years of Barbara “don’t call me maam” Boxer and another term for the moonbeam career politician Brown, how’s that for Hope and Change?

    All’s not lost though, this state is going down the toilet and now the blame will fall squarely on the Democrats.

  5. itsme

    Rusty 49: Your last sentence encapsulates what is disgusting about what Republicans have become: never mind the country “going down the toilet” as long as Dems lose.

    I would think a true patriot, in the best sense of the word, would not see any winners if the country or state goes “down the toilet,” to use your eloquent phrase.

  6. rusty49

    “Your last sentence encapsulates what is disgusting about what Republicans have become: never mind the country “going down the toilet” as long as Dems lose.”

    It’s not just a Republican thing my friend, I remember Harry Reid saying
    “the war is lost” when our troops were still fighting in Iraq. Do you want more examples of the Democrats saying disgusting things so they could take over power? There are many.

  7. itsme

    Rusty 49,

    You’re saying that the reason for Reid’s comment on losing the war in Iraq is to “take over power.” First, it’s not possible to give a “why” for what people say. There will be as many opinions as opinionators.

    Second, when did Reid come out with that statement? Was it when GWB was “commander in chief” and “THE DECIDER?” Well, Obama won the White House largely on his opposition to an illegal war in Iraq. The facts spoke for themselves without Reid’s comments. I do believe that comment from Reid was made in the past 2 years, when the Dems already had the White House and Congress. So your comment is wrong on at least 2 counts.

    Additionally, there are many Americans who truly grieve for our contry’s misadventures in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan and god know where else we take up arms. We speak against these military mistakes, not to tear down our nation so that Dems take over, but to get us out of (yes) another quagmire. Just as the anti-Viet Nam war activists were proven right, those of us who oppose Bush’s rash cowboy antics are being proven right everyday. We really don’t take pleasure in this, only tremendous grief. Would that we take care of our domestic needs before more blood is shsed and we plunge deeper and deeper into credit card debt. (I never understood why the word “treasure” is used. What “treasure?”)

    Speaking for myself, I truly don’t care what party takes power as long as they run an effective and honest government. While this is probably a utopian dream, I have seen, in my lifetime, much more functional and effective governments from both Dems and Reb. And both parties had legislators with integrity, courage and eloquence. Now that country seems like a dream.

    BTW, I do believe Obama has the above 3 attributes. Unfortunately, he did not fight hard enough for what he campaigned on and the Rep were and are dead set to make him go down in defeat, without regard to the very real harm to our nation. And that thought brings me full circle to your original comment. It is the Rep point of view and I vehmently condemn them for it.

  8. wdf1

    Rep were and are dead set to make him go down in defeat, without regard to the very real harm to our nation.

    Rush Limbaugh did say, “I hope he fails”, even before Obama formally laid out his agenda to Congress.

  9. rusty49

    Get you facts straight, Reid made that comment when Bush was president in April 2007.

    So when a Democrat like Reid comes out and says hurtfull political statements he’s just opinionating, but when a Republican does the same they’re disgusting and hurting the country. A little two-faced don’t you think?

    You also say Obama the “uniter” has integrity. Obama has no integrity, he’s the most devisive president this country has ever had.

    How about him saying just last week that the Republicans are the enemy?

    How’s that for pulling together and working for what’s best for America?

  10. E Roberts Musser

    Should Brown win, I fully expect the problems in CA to get worse. And I fully expect the Democrats to continue blaming Republicans for whatever CA’s problems are. Just as Obama continues to blame Bush and the Republicans for the problems in our nation. Politics has become more about who is to blame, than in finding solutions. If Republicans are able to wrest power away from Democrats, they’ll do the same thing – blame Democrats. Politics has become nothing but “gotcha” moments, with very little substantive solutions being created. And I think the result of all the nasty politics is driving away good candidates, who don’t want to have to deal with negative campaigning. Frankly, I beginning to feel the idiotic media is controlling the election process wa-a-a-ay too much…

  11. rusty49

    “I’d answer that but, to paraphrase Barney Franks, it’s like talking to a table leg.”

    Just a weak response when you have nothing of substance to say.

  12. wdf1

    Should Brown win, I fully expect the problems in CA to get worse. And I fully expect the Democrats to continue blaming Republicans for whatever CA’s problems are.

    And you think things would be better under Whitman? If she can’t run a successful campaign with $140 million, then it’s hard to see how she would have been good at convincing a bipartisan majority to move with her agenda.

    Sure, it would be expected for Democrats to blame Republicans, but it would be an even harder argument to sell to the voters, because you’d have a Democratic Gov. and likely a Democratic majority legislature.

  13. Daniel

    [quote]Rush Limbaugh did say, “I hope he fails”, even before Obama formally laid out his agenda to Congress. [/quote]

    You know why he said that, right? Rush thought Obama’s policies would drive the nation into ruin.

    If you thought a man’s policy would hurt the country, wouldn’t you want the man to fail in his attempts to implement that policy? When Bush wanted to get Congress to back him in starting wars, didn’t you “hope he fails”?

    Listening comprehension for the win.

  14. Daniel

    [quote]“even before Obama formally laid out his agenda to Congress. “[/quote]

    And that part’s just plain wrong. Obama had been laying out an agenda throughout his campaign. He was quite thorough.

  15. wdf1

    You know why he said that, right? Rush thought Obama’s policies would drive the nation into ruin.

    Well, have they?

    What do you think the McCain/Palin alternative to the economic downturn (the “Great Recession”) that faced the nation before Jan. 20, 2008?

  16. wdf1

    You know why he said that, right? Rush thought Obama’s policies would drive the nation into ruin.

    Personally I think he said it because he was getting “wee-wee’d up”.

  17. E Roberts Musser

    wdf1: “Sure, it would be expected for Democrats to blame Republicans, but it would be an even harder argument to sell to the voters, because you’d have a Democratic Gov. and likely a Democratic majority legislature.”

    The point I was trying to make, if inarticulately, is at what point are the Democrats/Republicans willing to take responsibility for their own actions? I’m sick and tired of the blame game, which gets us nowhere, and drives away good candidates. As for Brown and Whitman, they are both terrible candidates IMHO. Whichever one I vote for will take holding my nose to do it…

  18. rusty49

    I’ve got a feeling that we’re going to see an even bigger anti-Democrat turnout this coming Tuesday than the press is letting on. This could get really interesting.

  19. kathryndruliner

    Rusty 49: as an attorney I had to google Meg Whitman after the Brown-Whitman debate because I couldn’t believe she said what she did about controlling Immigration as Governor of CA. Anyone who knows the least bit about the law, even those who paid attention in high school government classes with respect to the roles of the Federal Government and the State Government must know that she has no control over immigration to the extent she professed. Even if she didn’t pass high school (and she is not a lawyer, but a business graduate) she should have know just based on the arguments about the Arizona law that Immigration might be a State’s Right’s issue.

    Second point: You say Obama said the Republicans are the enemy. Yet, you do not quote your source. How do we know you have not taken it out of context? Do you know that the gridlock in DC is worse than it has ever been? In fact when Obama nominated Justice Kagen for the US Supreme Court it was the first time in history that the Senate Judiciary split along party lines. It was a brave republican who said confirm her; she is well qualified.

    Are you not aware that the Republicans have said they will stop everything the Dems are trying to do in DC? And filibusturing beyond the pale?

  20. rusty49

    Kathryndruliner

    So the Democrats have never filibustered?

    I remember the Democrats blocking a couple of Bush’s Supreme Court nominees.

    The Democrats didn’t try to stop GOP ideas when the Republicans were in power?

  21. David M. Greenwald

    It’s actually worse than that.

    The voters are the problem. They say they don’t like gridlock and are angry when things do not get done. So what do they do? They throw the bums out, thereby making gridlock impossible to avoid. And it’s worse than that even because in so doing they create the incentives for more gridlock by punishing those in power and rewarding those who gridlock the system.

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