Monday, June 7, 2010

Will Barbara Boxer lose this fall?

What will happen in the Senate race in the Golden State? The last GOP Senator (Pete Wilson) was elected in 1990 and the state has not voted for a Republican president since 1988. First elected in 1992, Barbara Boxer is running about even with Carly Fiorina and this race has the potential of being a dead heat in November. Boxer cruised in 2004 to her third term and she has some great advantages: One, Democrats lead Republicans in registration by about 15 points. Two, she has quite a bit of money and can raise a lot more. Three, the President has come to California to help her and will probably do so again. However, Fiorina is a formidable candidate and isn't afraid of Boxer. She's been a CEO, she's a cancer survivor, and, being a woman will help narrow the gender gap the Republicans generally suffer from. I don't think she'll be able to raise as much money as Boxer but she'll have enough to get her name and message out to the voters. Moreover, California is feeling the effects of the recession more than most states. In some areas the unemployment rate is 25%-the same level that it was for many years of the Great Depression. Will this environment put Fiorina over the top? Boxer has 100% name ID in the state and still only polls in the low 40's-usually a sign of impending doom. In that kind of scenario people are simply looking for permission to vote for the other person. If Fiorina can successfully manage her campaign and position herself as a real moderate she'll have a puncher's chance of winning. If she does, she'll have brought down a titan of California politics. In my next posts I'll look at the Senate races in Washington and Nevada.

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