Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer has expanded her lead slightly over her Republican challenger, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who remains unknown to nearly a third of California voters, the Field Poll reports today.
Babs, who has sought to define Fiorina as a greedy former business tycoon who laid off thousands of workers and enriched herself in the process, holds a 47-41% lead in the race. And she has a big opportunity to further shape public opinion about her rival, because 28% of voters have neither a favorable nor unfavorable view of Hurricane Carly.
Boxer’s level of support has not moved since July and those with an unfavorable view of her (48%) still outnumber those with a favorable view (45%). But her negative TV ad attacking Fiorina appears to have had some effect, with Carly’s support dropping from 44% in July, and undecideds increasing to 12%, from 9% since then.
In addition, Boxer has dramatically increased unfavorable views about Fiorina: voters with a favorable view (34%, the same as July) are outnumbered by those with an unfavorable view (38%, a big jump from 29% in July).
At the same time, Boxer’s positive ad may not have brought her more voters, but it appears to have improved her favorability. In July she had an 11-point net negative favorability of 41-52% and today her net negative is 3 percentage points.
|SF Bay Area||67||28|
|*very small sample|
|Field Poll 9/13/10|
Both candidates are running well within their party bases: Boxer has 76% of Democrats and Fiorina has 79% of Republicans. But Boxer is also beating Fiorina 46-40% among the crucial independent voters.
And while Boxer enjoys a 46-40% lead among women, she holds a surprising 48-42% lead among men as well. This may be one of the reasons that Fiorina’s first TV spot, released Thursday, goes after Boxer as arrogant, using a clip of the hearing in June 2009 where she interrupted Brigadier Gen. Michael Walsh and asked him to call her “Senator” instead of “ma’am” because, as she put it, “I worked so hard to get that title.”
Fiorina needs to fuel the anti-Boxer anti-Washington sentiment evident in the Field Poll’s finding that while 67% of Boxer supporters say they are voting FOR her, 65% of Fiorina supporters say they are voting AGAINST Boxer. Maybe that explains the oddly off-point tag line in Fiorina’s ad where she concludes: “I’ll really go to work to end the arrogance in Washington.” (Huh?)
The Field Poll suggests there may only be a small audience for that pitch as views on Boxer – who has been in Congress for 28 years, including three terms in the Senate – are well established: only 7% of voters have no opinion about her.
Moreover, while Fiorina has a small lead among white voters (47-45%), Boxer has a huge 48-29% lead among Latinos (although the Field Poll sample of Latinos was unreliably small in this survey).
There are several issues Boxer has not yet put into a TV ad defining Fiorina in ways that are out of step with a majority of California voters. These include abortion, climate change, offshore oil drilling and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. If Boxer unloads on some or all of these, it is almost certain to affect a significant portion of the 28% of voters who as yet have no opinion about Fiorina.
Fiorina has a tough challenge: finding a way to reverse her standing with independent voters who, in California at least, tend to be politically moderate – and to the left of her – on those issues that Boxer has yet to include in her advertising.
Calbuzz is somewhat hampered in analyzing the survey in that the Field Poll has refused to allow us to become paid subscribers, with access to crosstabs until after they have been published. The data in this report come from sources.
The Field Poll surveyed 857 registered voters, including 599 likely voters, Sept. 14-21. The overall margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.1% and for likely voters it is +/- 5.8%. The data for this article are based on likely voters.
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