Campbell crows, Fiorina spins over poll

Now Republicans are even starting to use the “Remember Massachusetts!” meme on each other.

As I’d hinted at the end of my story in today’s editions, the Field Poll this morning released a survey showing former Congressman, former state finance director and former Cal business school dean Tom Campbell – who just last week jumped from the Republican gubernatorial primary to the Republican U.S. Senate primary – now leads his GOP rivals, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine.

Specifically, among GOP primary likely voters, it’s 30 percent for Campbell, 25 percent for Fiorina and 6 percent for DeVore with 39 percent still undecided. In general-election match-ups with incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer, Boxer leads Campbell 48 percent to 38 percent; Boxer leads Fiorina 50 percent to 35 percent; and Boxer leads DeVore 51 percent to 34 percent.

Field did this survey Jan. 5-17 among a total of 958 likely voters in November’s general election – with a 3.3-percentage-point margin of error – and 202 likely voters in June’s GOP primary, with a 7.1-percentage point margin of error.

Fiorina’s campaign, until now in the primary lead, says the numbers are… encouraging!

“We continue to be encouraged by the polling in this race, which shows that Carly is a strong candidate both in the primary and in the general election and that voters are highly dissatisfied with Barbara Boxer’s continued support for bigger government and higher taxes,” Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said. “Tom Campbell is a career politician who has now run for statewide office three times, so one would have expected that his high name identification would come through more strongly in this poll. But once voters learn that Tom has spent the last five years supporting increased government spending and higher taxes and now refuses to commit to voting against more tax increases in the Senate, we expect his numbers to fall fast – just like Martha Coakley’s did in Massachusetts.”

“Just like Martha Coakley?” Jeez, way to call Campbell a Marxist.

But Campbell’s camp is over the moon as it drills down into the poll’s numbers – he does equally well with strongly conservative voters (29 percent) as he does with moderates (30 percent), which seems to belie Fiorina’s spin. They also note he’s more popular among female GOP likely voters (28 percent to Fiorina’s 19 percent and DeVore’s 6 percent), negating any gender advantage Fiorina might claim in taking on the female incumbent.

And, they note, Campbell’s favorability rating among November’s likely voters is at 22 percent to Fiorina’s 16 percent, with 64 percent having no opinion of Campbell and 66 percent having no opinion of Fiorina – which makes it seem about the same ratio of voters already know both, to Campbell’s advantage.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • John W.

    “Undecided” is the leading contender, with 39%. DeVore is the least known of the candidates and might gain traction if the Right gets behind him. Doesn’t look good for Carly, though. She doesn’t have Meg’s Meg-a-bucks to throw at the campaign. Interestingly, both Campbell and Boxer were among the few members of Congress who voted against repeal of Glass-Steagal. I wonder what Campbell’s position is on the banking reform proposal Obama announced today.

  • agave

    The numbers for the general election are interesting, but it’s important to overlay a campaign on top of the numbers. For example, how will Fiorina do after Boxer drops ads talking about HP and the severance package? How will DeVore do after Boxer drops ads about some of his conservative views?

    The only one that Boxer ought to fear is Tom Campbell. If Campbell cannot get out of the primary, Boxer has it made.

  • Common Tater

    A strident do-nothing party line hack is far from “having it made.”

  • As with the Republican candidates for Governor, the Republicans for Senate fail to impress me.

    I want to vote for DeVore, however I can not vote for a candidate that supports the Patriot Act. I have questions about his interventionist foreign policy positions, but I like his stance against increasing my taxes and his support for “Audit the Fed” legislation.

    I have a hard time believing that Fiorina would have my best interests’ in mind. She seems like a country club Republican that would cave on important Party line votes when needed to stand her ground. Having endorsements from neo-cons such as John McCain and Lindsay Graham hurt her candidacy more than help it in my opinion.

    Campbell is weak on the Second Amendment, but great with economics (Mises). He supports “Audit the Fed.” I remember him being in support of Prop. 1-A, which was the largest tax-increase in California history, and is disappointing to me. His foreign policy is more to my liking, as is his stance on civil liberties.

    The bottom line is that none of the candidates from the Republicans, and none from the Democrats are worth getting too excited about.