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Posts Tagged ‘Fox & Hounds’



Small Biz Group Attacks Brown in Phony ‘Issues’ Ad

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

The Small Business Action Committee, an advocacy group run by Joel Fox, proprietor of the Fox & Hounds web site, is about to unload a $1.6 million anti-Jerry Brown ad masquerading as an “issue advocacy” ad. That’s the sneaky (unethical but legal) way to take a whack at Brown without having to disclose who the donors are.

An announcer in the ad says:

Two million Californians out of work, and Attorney General Jerry Brown makes it harder to create jobs, saying he has 1,100 attorneys ready to sue over government regulations.  As a forty-year politician, he doesn’t “get” what it takes to create jobs. As governor, he grew spending, turned a surplus into a deficit and left office with 11% unemployment. And Brown’s solution to California’s deficit: more debt, which will kill jobs.  Tell Jerry Brown we need more jobs.

When we first heard about a new ad, we sent an email to Fox asking what was up. His reply was that he was in the Midwest with limited Internet access and that “SBAC is doing issue advocacy.”

That’s BS, and our friend Joel knows it. Brown campaign manager Steve Glazer is right when he told us, “The idea that small businesses have contributed $1.6 million for this ad is ludicrous on its face. The ad is being run with the single-minded purpose of defeating Jerry Brown for governor.”

So who’s financing the ad? We don’t know. Yet. Probably not the same big-money guys who financed SBAC’s actual issue ad.

The SBAC scam is just like the phony baloney issue ad the California Chamber of Commerce tried to pass off as an issue ad a while back. Except that Joel Fox is someone you wouldn’t normally expect to be behind a hide-the-ball maneuver to work as a functionary for Meg Whitman and against Jerry Brown.

In the meantime, said Glazer: “The SBAC is acting as a front group for narrow interests who know that public disclosure would severely taint their message. This is despicable gutter politics and Joel Fox should not be involved in this sleazy activity.”

We’ve asked Joel to tell us who paid for the ad and when he tells us, we’ll tell you.

PPIC Confirms Poiz Surge, eMeg Drop: It’s a Race!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Amid the most expensive and one of the meaner Republican primary fights ever in California,  Steve Poizner has moved within striking distance of Meg Whitman, whose support has plummeted in the last 60 days, according to the latest survey by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California.

The survey, completed Sunday and including 411 likely Republican primary voters, found Whitman with 38% and Poizner at 29% leaving 31% undecided. The finding represented a huge surge for The Commish, from 11% in March, and a precipitous drop for eMeg, from 61% in March. The margin of error for the GOP primary results was ±5%.

The new survey is the first substantive, independent evidence of the big Poizner move, a trend first claimed by his own campaign two weeks ago, when his strategists released some of their internal polling, and suggested by other private and media polls.

According to PPIC, the biggest movement away from Whitman was among non-college graduates, among whom she lost 29 percentage points, and — somewhat counter-intuitively — voters with incomes greater than $80,000, among whom she lost 28 points. The survey did not shed much light on why the race has tightened.

Nevertheless, the often low-key, academic and understated PPIC was impressed enough by the results to title its release:  “Stunning Drop in Whitman’s Support Transforms GOP Race for Governor.”

With Whitman dropping another $4 million on Tuesday, bringing her total to a staggering $68 million, it remains an open question whether Poizner has the will to throw enough of his own money into the race.  He’s in for $24 million thus far. But unless he pours big money into the final weeks — and spends it on a sharp and effective message –  it’s hard to see how he can close the gap.

PPIC also found that while the Republicans have been slicing and dicing one another, Democrat Jerry Brown has retaken the lead in simulated November match-ups against Whitman and Poizner. Krusty the General leads eMeg 42-37% (compared to trailing 39-44% in March) and he leads the Commish 45-32%, unchanged from previous surveys.

The general election match-ups were based on interviews with 1,168 likely voters for a margin of error of ±3%.

In the increasingly contentious GOP race for the U.S. Senate, Carly Fiorina and Tom Campbell remain locked at 25-23% (it was 24-23% in March), while Chuck DeVore has doubled his support to 16%. Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer still defeats all three GOP challenges in simulated match-ups: 46-40% over Campbell; 48-39% over Fiorina, and 50-39% over DeVore.

Against Whitman, Brown holds 70% of the Democrats, while she holds 69% of the Republicans. But Brown has a small lead — 38-34% — among the pivotal independent voters, according to PPIC.

The survey also shows a marked gender gap, with Whitman holding a tiny 42-40% lead among men but Brown holding a substantial 45-33% lead among women. This could prove highly significant since part of the rationale for a Whitman candidacy is that she would have a theoretical possibility of peeling women away from Brown in a general election. Thus far, that dynamic is not in evidence.

Bad News for Our Friends at Flash Report

Straight from PPIC’s release:

“Of the four main spending categories of the state budget, Californians are the most willing to consider a tax increase to spare K–12 education from budget cuts (69%), while just over half would pay higher taxes to maintain current funding levels for higher education (54%) or for health and human services (54%). A large majority (79%) opposes paying higher taxes to spare prisons and corrections from budget cuts.

“Californians would consider some other ways to raise revenues: 67 percent favor raising the top rate of the state income tax paid by the wealthiest Californians and 58 percent would favor raising state taxes paid by California corporations. Residents are much less likely to support extending the state sales tax to services that are not currently taxed (35%) or increasing the vehicle license fee (28%).”

Pre-Gnawing on a Fresh Bone

BTW, when we read Steve Harmon’s piece about eMeg’s Mike Murphy trying to pre-spin the PPIC poll, we were really proud that Ye Ole Swashbuckler Murph hadn’t tried to pre-spin Calbuzz. We figured he thought we wouldn’t drink his Kool-Aid. But after our Wednesday item dissing the Fox & Hounds poll, Murph wrote to us insisting we are dead wrong.

“You’re 12 days behind,” Murph wrote. ” Truth is Meg is way up now.  SBAC poll is right.  Actually latest numbers are more than +25.  Two new private polls.  Why do you think Poiz won’t release his POS tracking?  Ad you panned worked really well.  You gotta spend more time with GOP primary voters and you’d understand.   I’m not trying to place an item, just telling you what’s true.”

And thank you for that.

PPIC Poll: Poizner’s Immigrant Bashing Looks Lame

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

On the high-profile races for governor and U.S. Senate, the survey out Wednesday night from the Public Policy Institute of California breaks little new ground. But, combined with the Field Poll from last week, it does offer some insight into whether it makes any sense at all for Steve Poizner to be using illegal immigration to make himself the preferred candidate for conservatives in the Republican primary against Meg Whitman.

The answer? We don’t get it.

According to PPIC’s polling, 66% of registered voters believe illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in the U.S. for two years or more should be given a chance to keep their jobs and apply for legal status. And that includes 78% of Democrats, 68% of independents and even 49% of Republicans, compared to 46% of Republicans who say deport ’em.

In other words, this is not a slam-dunk issue with Republicans. Apparently Poizner thinks he can goose the issue a bit (see Pete Wilson, 1994, “They Keep Coming”), feeding off a sentiment PPIC found: that while 64% of Democrats and 52% of independents say immigrants are a benefit to California, 68% of Republicans say they are a burden.

“It’s somewhat fertile ground,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “But it doesn’t have the salience and relevance that it had in earlier downturns . . . That’s not to say it won’t resonate with some of the more conservative voters, but it doesn’t seem like a topic that’s going to attract broad support among Republican voters this time around.”

True, the Field Poll found, illegal immigration is a top-tier issue for Republicans (fourth in importance after the state budget deficit, jobs/economy and taxes) compared to a lower-level issue for voters overall. As Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo noted of Poizner: “He’s singled out an issue that is of greater importance to Republican primary voters. It’s red meat . . . Whether it’s going to make a difference, I don’t know. He’s so far behind.”

Indeed. Poizner is in a huge hole: PPIC found him 50 points behind Whitman at 61-11% — about the same as the Field Poll’s 63-14%. It’s hard to see how he can gain enough ground on Whitman on this issue. On the other hand, maybe the Commish is part of a secret GOP plot to make eMeg look more moderate in the general election: if Poizner comes up short, he will have succeeded in making Whitman look more reasonable to Latino voters in November.

Heavens knows she needs some help on that front: while PPIC has her ahead of Brown 44-39% overall, he’s beating her 45-35% among Latinos (it was 54-25% for Brown in the Field Poll). Even before Brown makes a serious case to Latino voters, as Calbuzz noted the other day.

BTW, in case you missed it, catch Tony Quinn’s bitch-slap of Poizner at Fox & Hounds under the headline “Poizner’s Suicidal Mission” in which he argues:

Facing political collapse, he has resorted to the historic tactic of a political scoundrel, race baiting, in this case making immigrant bashing the central theme of his faltering campaign . . . Poizner has accomplished one thing; he’s made himself unelectable in November, and further damaged his own party.

PPIC, meanwhile, found that Whitman now leads Attorney General Jerry Brown 44-39% among likely November voters. Partisan support moved just a skosh between January and March – Democrats now 65-17% for Brown, were 69-12% for Brown in January; Republicans now 77-10% for Whitman, were 73-10% for Whitman in January.

But independents – those who have no roots in either party and who are most susceptible to Whitman’s TV ad campaign – moved big time. They were 36-28% for Brown in January and by March they had lurched to 43-37% for Whitman – a net 14% shift in two months. In other words, eMeg’s positive ads for herself, her attacks on Poizner and his attacks on Whitman have helped boost Meg with independent voters.

Looking at the electorate by age, Brown runs best – 71-17% — among Democrats age 55 and older, compared to 61-17% among Democrats age 18-54. But Whitman creams Brown among Republicans, 76-8% among Republican age 18-54 and 79-11% among Republicans 55 and older.

All of which suggests Brown’s challenge is to move independents of all ages back into his column and knock Whitman down among the nearly two in 10 Democrats who are currently enamored with her. This is where – if Calbuzz is reading the tea leaves correctly – Brown will use eMeg’s stand against AB32, the pioneering climate change law, to drive her supporters to him.

Other findings, lifted straight out of PPIC’s press release:

Fiorina, Campbell vs Boxer

“The Republican primary race for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s seat has tightened since January, when Tom Campbell led both Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore among Republican likely voters (27% Campbell, 16% Fiorina, 8% DeVore). Today, Campbell and Fiorina are in a close race (24% Fiorina, 23% Campbell), and DeVore’s level of support is unchanged (8%). In this campaign—which has seen little advertising—the largest percentage of likely voters (44%) is undecided, similar to January (48%).

“In hypothetical November matchups, incumbent Boxer is deadlocked with Campbell (43% to 44%) . . . A plurality of independents support Campbell (48% Campbell, 32% Boxer, 20% undecided). Since January, support for Boxer has dropped 10 points among independents, and Campbell’s support has increased 11 points . . . “Boxer is in a similarly tight race with Fiorina (44% to 43%) . . . Among independents, Fiorina leads Boxer (41% Fiorina, 35% Boxer, 24% undecided).”

First ever: half the voters favor same-sex marriage

“Among all Californians, residents are more likely to favor (50%) than oppose (45%) same-sex marriage for the first time in the PPIC Statewide Surveys. Support among all adults has never surpassed 45 percent since the question was first asked in January 2000. There are clear partisan divisions: majorities of Democrats (64%) and independents (55%) are in favor, and most Republicans (67%) are opposed.

“There is much more consensus on the issue of gays and lesbians in the military. In the wake of Obama’s announcement that he would like to repeal the federal “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy passed in 1993, 75 percent of Californians say that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.”

Difi Detritus Meets Campbell Jihad Fall-Out

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Are you going to believe us or your lying eyes? Our aging tickers have almost, finally, chilled out from all the excitement of the big finish to Dianne Feinstein’s epic Dance of the Seven Veils (free at last, free at last!)

So it’s time to shoot the wounded among the insiders and other hacks who kept retailing the rumors that she was about to jump into the governor’s race – Psst! We hear it’s any minute now! – months after all right-thinking people agreed that this would never happen.

Few find themselves in a state of such embarrassing exposure  as Sherry Greenberg, who blogs occasionally over at California Majority Report.

As grizzled, veteran, long-time Capitol Hill Outsiders, Calbuzz was most impressed with Greenberg’s blog credentials as “a long-time Capitol Hill insider.” And her connections came in pretty handy when she wrote, on Feb. 15, that Indiana Senator Evan Bayh’s surprise retirement was a clear signal that DiFi was about to flee Capitol Hill for our parochial governor’s race.

So, what does (Bayh’s move) have to do with California?  Quite possibly a lot…I can’t help but think that faced with serving in the minority in the next Senate, Dianne Feinstein might decide that trying to cure California’s many ailments is more desirable than remaining in the Senate.  Certainly, the gridlock in California is no worse than that in the US Senate and the opportunity to cap her career by becoming California’s first female governor and the savior of the state might outweigh remaining in a likely hostile Senate.

While Feinstein just missed making history as the first female Vice Presdiential candidate in 1984, she has the opportunity to become a role model to young girls by showing that a woman can be a tougher and more effective governor than a film action star…

The record will show that:

a) Generally speaking,  “I can’t help but think” is not what you want to lean on for your Well-Informed, Reliable Source.

b) Difi “just missed making history as the first female Vice Presidential  candidate in 1984” by a considerably greater amount than former Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, who actually did make history as the first female Vice Presidential candidate in 1984.

c) To the surprise of no one, Feinstein officially announced she wasn’t running for governor. Less than 48 hours after Greenberg’s 7:10 p.m. post.

Considerably more effective at covering his tracks was Willie Brown, who had at least stopped flogging the Feinstein rumors a couple of weeks earlier.

Faced with the fact-based reality that she wasn’t running, despite his best and repeated efforts to sell it in the news pages of the Chronicle, Mr. Speaker at least had the grace to construct an entertaining narrative to explain away his energetic bid to keep the DiFi speculation alive for the past year.

The first indication I got that she was cooling to the idea was when Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust, were seated front and center at her 30th wedding anniversary party at the Fairmont a few weeks back.

For some of us, politics is a bit like the Mafia: Kiss you one day, kill you the next. Not Dianne. She would never invite someone she was planning to run against.

As Mrs. Humphry Ward famously said: “The first law of story-telling – Every man is bound to leave a story better than he found it.”

He told me he taught The Political History of the Mideast: Tom Campbell was doing some serious whistling past the graveyard Friday, hyping a new poll from something called M4Strategies that was featured in a Fox & Hounds piece proclaiming he’s widened his lead in the GOP Senate primary.

Team Campbell was doubtless glad to have something to talk about other than his past ties to Professor and Islamic jihad figure Sami Al-Arian, a nasty little controversy that suddenly gave Dudley Do Right foes Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore a hammer with which to bash him over the question of how good a friend Campbell is to Israel.

Conservative blogs were smoking for several days with tough attacks on Campbell over the Al-Arian connection before LATer Seema Mehta put the legal and policy issues in context. As for the politics of the matter, check out Politico’s reprise of how a Senate candidate in Florida lost his race amid a similar controversy involving the good professor.

How about 10 cents on the dollar? DBI honors to Chronicler Wyatt Buchanan, whose piece on whether California can/will/should go bankrupt  was excellent. Buchanan also gets credit for capturing the quote of the week, from L.A. Assembly member and newly-minted congressional candidate Karen Bass, who’s pretty darned pleased with herself for her not-very-impressive term as Speaker:

“I am one of those that serves out of a calling and not out of a personal ambition,” she said. And I guess I’d add that my biggest weakness is really my incredible humility.

Please don’t call my wife: Don Ringe takes a hard look at the candidacy for governor of alleged Prince Frederic von Anhalt, ninth husband of Zsa Zsa Gabor.