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Spinning PPIC’s poll on the U.S. Senate race

The Public Policy Institute of California poll released yesterday shows U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., doesn’t have majority support against any of her Republican challengers but leads them all by varying margins.

Former Congressman, state finance director and Cal business school dean Tom Campbell fares best in a head-to-head match-up, with Boxer at 45 percent and Campbell at 41 percent among November’s likely voters. While 79 percent of Democratic likely voters favor Boxer, 84 percent of Republican likely voters favor Campbell; independents are more divided but favor Boxer over Campbell, 42 percent to 37 percent. Boxer has a 14-point lead among female likely voters (50 percent to 36 percent), and Campbell has a 6-point lead among men (46 percent to 40 percent).

Boxer has an eight-point lead over both former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (48 percent to 40 percent) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine (47 percent to 39 percent).

Among likely voters in the GOP primary, Campbell leads at 27 percent, with Fiorina at 16 percent and DeVore at 8 percent. Campbell leads among likely voters with household incomes both below and above $80,000, and among both men and women. This survey of likely voters includes the 12 percent of independent voters who say they will choose to vote on a Republican ballot.

The margin of error for the 1,223 November likely voters is three percentage points, and the margin for the 425 Republican primary likely voters is five points.

Campbell’s camp says their man might be doing better than this poll indicates; they think PPIC’s methodology short-sells older voters, who seem to like Campbell more.

Fiorina’s camp said the poll “confirms yet again that Barbara Boxer is a highly vulnerable incumbent.”

“More and more Californians are disenchanted by her lackluster record and, despite having been in office for 18 years, she is still unable to break the 50 percent threshold in this poll against any Republican candidate. Carly will continue to hold Boxer accountable for her disappointing tenure in the U.S. Senate, and as voters get to know Carly better in the coming months, her name identification will rise – as will her poll numbers. Meanwhile, Tom Campbell’s performance in both the primary and the general election matchups shows his electoral weakness, despite the higher name recognition that comes with having run for office nine times before. Once voters learn about his record championing higher taxes and bigger government, his support will erode quickly.”

DeVore’s campaign manager, Leisa Brug Kline, said it’s “an interesting and welcome poll for several reasons.

“Though there’s a long way to go, Chuck DeVore’s support is quietly building on the enthusiasm and support of Republicans and conservatives across California – and across America,” she said. “It’s useful to note that this poll was conducted in the week before Scott Brown’s upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race – an event that has generated tremendous interest in Chuck DeVore and his message of a winning conservatism in California.”

DeVore campaign communications director Joshua Treviño took the fight more directly to Fiorina:

“As Chuck DeVore’s support steadily grows, Carly Fiorina’s is steadily collapsing. The establishment that supported her is defecting to Campbell, and the conservatives who want the real deal are turning to Chuck. With the margin of error on the PPIC poll, and the identical results on the hypothetical general-election matchup, Fiorina and DeVore are in a de facto tie for second place. Even worse for Carly, Chuck DeVore is at dead parity with her in support from women, a demographic she thought was hers.”

“Carly Fiorina’s inevitability narrative died when Tom Campbell entered the race. Now her electability narrative dies as she can’t do better than Chuck DeVore either against Barbara Boxer, or in appeal to the women’s vote. If these trends continue, we’ll see this primary race end as a real choice between a real liberal in Tom Campbell, and a real conservative in Chuck DeVore.”

Posted on Thursday, January 28th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, polls, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

Campbell, Fiorina weigh in on deficit panel

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said this morning she opposes the creation of an 18-member “deficit commission” to study ways to both raise revenue and cut spending to get control of the nation’s rapidly expanding deficit – a proposal on which the Senate is expected to vote today.

“We don’t need a commission to study the federal deficit – what we need is a commitment to cut federal spending. We know why we have a deficit: Congress spends too much money, and for the last 26 years, Barbara Boxer has been complicit in perpetuating that system. It’s Congress’ job to address the deficit, and if they can’t – or won’t – then the people need to replace them with leaders who can fix it.”

“Raising revenue is politician’s code for raising taxes. Giving the government more money is in no way a solution to the deficit; in fact, it will only make the deficit worse. What we need is to cut spending and aggressively go after the waste and abuse in the federal budget, and we need leaders who are not afraid to take the steps to do it, rather than create a commission to avoid it.”

Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Congressman, state finance director and Cal business school dean Tom Campbell said yesterday he favors creating the commission, so long as it doesn’t raise taxes.

“America’s economy will continue hurting and Americans will continue losing jobs until real action is taken to cut federal spending and dramatically reduce our nation’s $12 trillion federal deficit. Unless this happens, we will have sold our economic soul to other nations and mortgaged future generations of Americans, jeopardizing our national security and our leadership in the world.

“The proper approach is to get agreement on where to cut federal spending, much the way we approached the closure of military bases.

“I was a Member of Congress when the Base Closure and Realignment Commission was constituted and met. Indeed, I was one of the very few Congressmen to testify in favor of the base closures list, even though it included a base in my district — Moffett Naval Air Station. As difficult as this was, I supported it because I knew our nation’s good compelled that we embrace savings.

“The same approach should be taken to achieve savings more generally, throughout the entire federal budget. The idea of a commission is good. The idea of having it report for an up or down vote to the House and Senate is good. But its focus should be on identifying areas to cut spending. As presently proposed, the Commission goes beyond that, and even points to tax increases as part of the solution. I think that’s entirely wrong-headed.

“The solution to the budget deficit at the federal level is to constrain spending, not increase taxes. We should also re-establish the Gramm Rudman Hollings law that automatically cut federal spending across-the-board if Congress did not meet specific deficit-reduction targets.”

I’ve not heard anything on this from U.S. Senate candidate Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, who I see will be in Oakland for a fundraiser tomorrow night; perhaps he’ll be watching President Obama’s State of the Union address there?

UPDATE @ 12:44 P.M.: The Senate rejected the idea.

Posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
Under: Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

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.

Posted on Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Carly Fiorina, Chuck DeVore, Republican politics, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate | 4 Comments »

Boxer touts fundraising, but polls look shaky

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer’s re-election campaign this morning said the fact that it raised more than $1.8 million in 2009’s last quarter – its best quarter so far in the 2010 cycle – denotes “growing momentum.”

“We’ve been preparing for a tough race and our supporters really came through for us,” said Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski. “With this broad base of support, I’m confident we will have the resources we need to win in November.”

The campaign said more than 14,000 of the 23,000 fourth-quarter donors were new supporters, and 90 percent of the total contributed $100 or less. The campaign’s 2009 totals are $5.9 million from 43,000 donors, of which more than $1.1 million was raised online. And the campaign said it will report more than $7.2 million cash on hand as of Dec. 31; at this point in her 2004 campaign, she had only $5 million banked.

She might need every penny: A Rasmussen Reports poll of 500 likely voters conducted last Thursday shows Boxer in tight races with some of her Republican challengers. The poll showed Boxer led former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina by three percentage points, 46 percent to 43 percent; she led former Congressman, state finance director and Cal business-school dean Tom Campbell by four points, 46 percent to 42 percent; and she led Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, by six points, 46 percent to 40 percent.

Other polls (done before Campbell jumped from the gubernatorial race to this one) didn’t show Fiorina or DeVore, but it’s unclear whether Rasmussen’s numbers are outliers or if the momentum actually lies with the GOP.

On the other hand, the GOP primary is shaping up to be a real bruiser, especially now that Campbell is in; whether the winner emerges stronger for having built consensus in the battle, or weaker for having depleted his/her money and goodwill, remains to be seen. As does Boxer’s reputation as she tries to shepherd a controversial cap-and-trade climate change bill through her Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this spring.

All of which is to say: It’s still sooooo early in this fight.

Posted on Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, Barbara Boxer, campaign finance, Chuck DeVore, Meg Whitman, Tom Campbell, U.S. Senate, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

DeVore’s attack ad against Boxer is a reach

It’s been less than a month since Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, announced he’ll be vying for the GOP nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., in 2010, and he has wasted no time in putting together his first online attack ad. It seems a little long on bluster and a little short on facts, better geared toward turning opinion against House Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., than against Boxer.

From the Associated Press:

The idea of the visitor center dates back to the 1970s, and in 1991 Congress authorized funds for planning.

But momentum for the project did not come until 1998, when a mentally unstable man burst through the doors of the Capitol, killing two police officers before being subdued in the office of then-Republican Whip Tom DeLay. That impressed on lawmakers the need to move security stations for visitors away from the main building. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in 2000.

And while the funding has been complex, it’s hard to see how DeVore lays it at Boxer’s feet.

Oversight of the Capitol Visitor Center’s planning, engineering, design, and construction is vested in the U.S. Capitol Preservation Commission, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers on which Boxer does not and has never served.

Also, it looks as if the money to cover the center’s cost overruns was earmarked via the annual Legislative Branch Appropriations bills; it looks like $70 million in 2002, $49.8 million in 2004 and $44.2 million in 2006. The Senate approved the conference reports on those bills by unanimous consent in 2002 and 2004, and on a 96-4 vote in 2006. And those spending bills were authored, respectively, by then-Rep. Charles Taylor of North Carolina; Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia; and then-House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis of California, with — all Republicans.

So how is this Barbara Boxer’s problem?

Posted on Friday, December 5th, 2008
Under: Barbara Boxer, Chuck DeVore, Elections, General, U.S. Senate | No Comments »