Monday, September 20, 2010

Boxer leads by 8

A lot of Senate races are heading in the wrong direction for Democrats right now but California is not one of them. PPP's newest poll there finds Barbara Boxer continuing to hold onto a 50-42 lead over Carly Fiorina.

Republicans showed in Massachusetts they could win in a state as blue as California but Carly Fiorina isn't proving to have nearly the appeal to Democratic and independent voters that Scott Brown did. Fiorina is winning independents 50-38, a solid margin but well short of the 32 point advantage Brown achieved with those folks against Martha Coakley. And Fiorina is winning only 11% of Democrats, barely half of the 19% Brown got.

Californians are pretty ambivalent toward Barbara Boxer and ambivalence is usually going to get an incumbent in a deep blue state reelected- it takes Jon Corzine sorts of approval numbers to lose in those places. 46% of voters approve of the job Boxer's doing and 46% disapprove. Republicans don't like her at all and independents don't like her very much either, but she continues to be very popular with the Democratic base and if you're strong there in California you win.

And the simple reality is that Fiorina has not proven to be a particularly appealing candidate to California voters. 42% of them see her unfavorably with only 34% rating her positively. Republicans like her, Democrats dislike her almost as much, and independents are slightly negative toward her. Again, not the formula that's going to get a Republican elected to the Senate from California.

One other factor that should be noted here is that Boxer is just about the only vulnerable Democrat seeking reelection in a state where the majority of voters still approve of Barack Obama's performance. His approval is 53/42, and by and large the folks that like Obama are supporting Boxer- California's one of the last frontiers left where he's not a drag.

It's certainly still not impossible Boxer could lose. But it's looking more like this year will be the same old story as Boxer's other reelection runs- hints of vulnerability early, getting it together at the end.

Full results here

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

49% Dem seems a little odd for a likely voter screen this year. IN 2008, the exit polls for california showed 42% democrat. With dems having trouble this year and most other polls showing dems nowhere near 49% in CA I question if there is some kind of error with the LV screen oversampling dems. I like Boxer but I think this poll is way too optimistic. Dems are not enthused so I think its highly unlikely that they show up in higher numbers in CA then they usually do which is what this poll indicates

Chuck T said...

This is obviously good news for Senate Dems. This and the deluge of polls last week (4 of them) showing that Patty Murray seems to be pulling away in Washington. Those are two states the GOP truly wanted to try to win. I would say that right now the most vulnerable senate democratic incumbent is Russ Feingold in WI. It will be interesting to see what your polls says on that race.

Anonymous said...

I respect your polls but showing a wider partisan gap than in the last election when Democrats were ascending seems a tad bit inaccurate.

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#CAP00p1

Do you really believe the State is going to be 6% more Democratic.

Tom Jensen said...

Exit polls and pre election polls are apples and oranges.

DBL said...

I can't say your likely voter screen is wrong, but we've never, in the history of California, had an election where the electorate was 49% Democrats. In the last three November elections the breakdown has been 40%/33%, 41%/35%, and 42%/30%. And Democrats here aren't rushing out and voting for Boxer and Brown.

Yes, if somehow the electorate is 49%D/33%R, Boxer will win. If Fiorina wins independents by 12 points, I'll take my chances.

Anonymous said...

The Party ID difference is similar to the last SurveyUSA poll.

The reason why Fiorina is leading in SurveyUSA is that they claim she's taking 20% of the Democratic vote and leading 59%-31% among Independents.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking at the presidential pr-election polls for California and 2008 and there was one poll that had democrats at 50% but every single other poll for the most part had democrats making up a proportion less than 49%. In addition, all of PPPs other polls have shown democrats with a lower proportion. I find it hard to believe that in a year where all around the country dems are turning out in lower numbers dems have all the sudden become more enthused then ever in California. It just doesn't seem possible. Could you possibly show some give the numbers by zipcode or by region to show where you got most of your votes from because something seems fishy about the dem proportion, I'm sorry but the apples and oranges excuse will not cut it.

Zornorph said...

Well, I'm rooting for Fiorina, but you guys have a good record this cycle, so this is a little discouraging. I'm sort of hoping Whitman's turnout operation brings Carly over the finish line by a nose. I gather your gov poll is going to show Brown ahead, but I do think her money on the ground is going to make a couple points of difference that won't show up in a poll.

Anonymous said...

Also a 630 sample size seems really low for a California poll, maybe you should try sampling at least 1,500 respondents in your next CA poll.

Anonymous said...

I think you're missing on this one. This is the most Boxer-friendly result of any pollster since .... your last poll of the race - but even that was registered voters.

Maybe it's a miss on enthusiasm, LV screen, or just random variance. The fundamentals of the race suggest a closer result, as well.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Obama approval numbers are the key to CA - if they stay positive, Boxer will likely win. But if Obama's numbers take a dive in CA, Boxer will clearly lose.

Anonymous said...

How in god's name can Fiorina win Indy's by 12 and still lose by 8? Do you know that Boxer's previous wins are primarily due to her large wins amongst the left-leaning indies in the state? Our indys here are not tea party people, they're pretty liberal.

LALaw said...

"Carly Fiorina isn't proving to have nearly the appeal to Democratic and independent voters that Scott Brown did." A better statement is that "Barbara Boxer is not as disastrous a candidate to independent voters as Martha Coakley."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but this poll is garbage. I expect this year that decreased enthusiasm by Dems will be canceled out by increased voter registration for Dems, basically leaving us with a partisan split similar to 2006. That would be 40/35/25. Weighting it to that leaves Fiorina just slightly behind. Boxer may be ahead, but she's hardly running away with it. It's still a dead heat.

chicobob said...

How about the fact that people don't like Fiorina for laying off 33,000 Americans and sending their jobs overseas and then laughing and bragging about it. Bob Mulholland

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Also a 630 sample size seems really low for a California poll, maybe you should try sampling at least 1,500 respondents in your next CA poll."

We don't only call the people who respond. We call tens of thousands in each state. The ultimate result reflects those who complete all the questions in the poll and survive weighting for gender, age, and race. 630 respondents is more than adequate for a statewide survey. As noted in the press release, the MOE is +/-3.9%, which is actually lower than many surveys.

"How in god's name can Fiorina win Indy's by 12 and still lose by 8?"

Simple math. Indies make up only 18% of the vote. Her 12-point lead among them accounts for only about 2% of the total votes.

"I expect this year that decreased enthusiasm by Dems"

But the whole point is that we're not seeing decreased enthusiasm in CA, nor are we in TX or AK. It's not uniformly a bad year for Dems everywhere. In the Great Lakes states and the Rust Belt (mainly, WI, MI, IL, OH, and PA), it's terrible, but elsewhere, it's not as bad, depending on the dynamics of the state. Keep in mind that Arnold is a very unpopular governor, and that he might be driving up Democratic turnout, as Rick Perry is in TX.

Alex said...

It's also worth pointing out while the Party ID is a little skewed toward Democrats, we also this sample consist of an older electorate and a more conservative electorate compared to past years.

wt said...

If you have Brown beating Whitman with the same sample, it's a good indication the sample is problematic.

Not only is Whitman leading in every other poll lately, but she's scoring some really strong points with her ads. At this point she's the presumptive winner amongst everyone I know or talk to.

In some ways I think that's a more useful indicator than a poll even. Indeed, I'd say Whitman has a sense of inevitability around the state, that I think is unchangeable.

DBL said...

Jerry Brown is running a horrible campaign. He announced way late and didn't bother campaigning for months. He's been slow to put up commercials. He doesn't appear to have the vigor of the past. The only way he's making news is by making fun of Bill Clinton. When The LA Times runs stories that a Democrat is gaffefest, it's trouble for the candidate.

Boxer has never faced serious competition in an election and has pretty much underperformed each time. She should've cleaned the floor with the inexperienced Fiorina at the debate, but seemed uncomfortable defending her record. You know you're in trouble when you get the question of "Dianne Feinstein has a history of reaching across the aisle. Why haven't you?"

Boxer isn't especially popular with Democrats in the state. She gets support because she's a solid progressive vote.

Brown and Feinstein are older and don't fire up Democrats the way a Gavin Newsom does. His decision to run for Lieutenant Governor rather than challenge Brown perplexes me.

Chuck T said...

I love how some are crying because the result of the poll isn't what they want it to be. wt, I also have spoken with people in CA and they don't seem to indicate there is an inevitability about Whitman winning. If anything they are complainnig about her trying to buy the election with her fortune and non-stop ads. They also point out that despite being vastly out-spent that Brown in very much in the game.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Martha Coakley, Bill McCollum, and Mike Castle were the presumptive winners too.

wt said...

Burn.

Anonymous said...

Actually a year ago Jerry Brown was the presumptive winner

Bluejoy said...

wt I think you have a sense of delusion that at this point is unchangeable. I know abandoning well reasoned science for anecdotal evidence is how Tea Partiers think, what a lovely planet they must live on, but around here it is raw, objective, unflinching data. But in case you are wondering the dude at the laundromat here in STL area is totally behind Blunt, and so is his Wife, so the laundromat vote must be all set for the GOP. It must be inevitable, right?

Philip said...

I'd say this is an outlier. Rasmussen, SUSA, Fox, and CNN (with a registered voter poll no less) all found this race to be closer than you have it. If the partisan crosstabs were applied to 2008 turnout, Boxer would only be ahead by 3. You made the same flimsy excuse with the Kentucky and North Carolina polls about pre-election polling not being the same as exit polling, and yet your later polls in those two races have shown the Republican candidates "improving" in those states when a different sample was conducted.

yokem55 said...

Interesting results. I'm curious as to why the Field Poll hasn't done any general election polling yet, as they usually are the gold standard of California polling (very tricky state to poll). The last published results on their website are from back in July....

wt said...

This week I'm a tea partier, last week I was a RINO for supporting Castle. The truth is in the middle I suppose.

The point is not that I think we should ignore polling. PPP does a fantastic job both deciding where to conduct the polling, and then getting it right. It's just that some polls are outliers, and one that puts Brown ahead of Whitman is a good candidate.

Dustin makes the good point that polls putting Brown ahead of Coakley or Scott ahead of McCollum also "felt" wrong at the time. Fair enough. The conventional wisdom is always wrong except when it's right. So if people think this is one of those instances where the CW is wrong, go to Intrade and cash out big.

But note that the last 6 polls all put Whitman up between 1 and 8 points; I'm not sure how Whitman scoring big off of Clinton ads and Brown embarrassing himself has changed the state of the race.

Anonymous said...

If Brown leads in the poll it will be because this sample the sample overdid democrats. 49% Democrat is simply wrong for CA whether this was 2008 or 2010. If Brown leads by more than 5 the poll is simply as flawed as that awful NY-23 poll from last year. Here's the deal with the Brown vs. Whitman race. My friend who worked on Brown's presidential campaign said Brown refuses to work with his campaign staff and thus does not campaign well. Many people have said that Jerry Brown has been off in his own world rather than campaigning. Jerry Brown is known for being odd and obscure and screwed up a senate race in 1982 which he should have won but ended up losing by 7. He didn't even go on the air till September while Meg Whitman had been saturating the state with her ads. People in the democratic community are very worried about this race and Jerry is being vastly outspent. Brown has not led in a single poll since early August and including CNN registered voter poll which had e-meg leading 48 to 46. Meaning e-meg was at 48% among REGISTERED VOTERS. Rothenberg just moved this race from Tossup to tossup/tilt R and he is not one to take risks. In addition, Nate Silver has Whitman as being favored to win. Maybe PPPs likely voter screens favor candidates like Jerry Brown who have high name recognition but then Martha Coakley would have surely been leading in PPPs polls. I do think Boxer will win but it will be less than 5, however, I do not think that Brown will win. Im a democrat and would love for such a result to be true but I also go buy the numbers. They need to make a certain degree of sense for me to believe them. The Massachusetts and Delaware PPP polls that shocked everyone showed internals Ds Rs Inds for MA and Libs Mods and Cons. for Delaware that made a decent amount of sense. The likely voter model for this does not make sense and the odds are just to low that PPPs likely voters model is better than everyone else in this case. I like sen Boxer, but both Boxer and Brown are not the types of candidates that could inspire democratic turnout as high as this poll predicts. Just remember even Obama couldn't inspire high enough dem turnout to have dems reach almost 50% and only ONE house seat flipped in CA from R to D in the democratic double landslide years. If dem had a good turnout machine in CA Arnold would have been unseated in 2006 and they would have picked up loads of house seats where there where many Rs in Obama districts. I reiterate my point, if Brown leads by 5 or more in PPPs poll tomorrow it means this poll is SERIOUSLY FLAWED.

Bluejoy said...

Or it means he is up by five.

Steve said...

@Dustin - I don't know whether you will be coming back to check comments again, but I am curious whether you believe that the presence of Prop 19, the marijuana legalization initiative, could be having an impact on the LV screen. Strange that no one brought that up. It isn't Jerry Brown or Barbara Boxer who will get young "surge" voters out for this election; it's marijuana.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"@Dustin - I don't know whether you will be coming back to check comments again, but I am curious whether you believe that the presence of Prop 19, the marijuana legalization initiative, could be having an impact on the LV screen. Strange that no one brought that up. It isn't Jerry Brown or Barbara Boxer who will get young "surge" voters out for this election; it's marijuana."

Haha, interesting thesis. Very well could be. We'll see something about that tomorrow.

outdoor track lighting said...

I find it hard to believe that in a year where all around the country dems are turning out in lower numbers dems have all the sudden become more enthused then ever in California. It just doesn't seem possible. Could you possibly show some give the numbers by zipcode or by region to show where you got most of your votes from because something seems fishy about the dem proportion, I'm sorry but the apples and oranges excuse will not cut it.

 
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