Poll: Ma’am Babs Widens Lead Over Hurricane Carly


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.

Boxer Fiorina
Likely voters 47 41
Democrats 76 11
Republicans 10 79
Independents 46 40
Men 48 42
Women 46 40
Whites 45 47
Latinos* 48 29
LA County 47 38
Other SoCal 43 46
Central Valley 31 55
SF Bay Area 67 28
Other NorCal 41 33
Coastal 52 37
Inland 33 51
*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.

The future of print: As daily newspapers keep steadily shedding circulation, The Onion closely analyzed market conditions for the industry, and offers a a pretty damned funny hard look at the inevitable conclusion of this sad and regrettable trend. It’s here.

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There are 4 comments for this post

  1. avatar chrisfinnie says:

    No crosstabs here either. But my informal survey of Democratic voters shows a lot more enthusiasm for Barbara Boxer than for Jerry Brown. It’s not unusual to hear folks say, “We have to support Senator Boxer. And, of course, you wouldn’t want Whitman to win.” It’s not a place I’d want to be if I were Jerry Brown. But it will probably bring in more Democratic votes as the election nears. Because they really don’t want a sequel to the Schwarzenegger horror movie. And that really is Whitman’s platform. Same old, same old with a different shade of hair dye.

  2. avatar Ernie Konnyu says:

    It is hard to believe that someone who is idiot-left, as I personally witnessed Boxer to be, can have the support of so many Californians. Let me demonstrate.

    Ten of us House of Representative members put on a televised show from the House floor demonstrating that the self-admitted Communist government of Nicaragua allowed ten different types of Soviet military aircraft to be stationed on Nicaraguan soil back in 1987-1988. Such moves endangered, of course, the U.S. Southern flank.

    Instead of supporting us in revealing Soviet military intentions, Barbara Boxer, then a member of the House, created instant counter propaganda against our country by showing on the House floor in the middle of our presentations the pictures of dead and maimed Nicaraguan babies and children. Boxer claimed that the wounds were made by the U.S. supported Contra forces engaged in the Nicaraguan civil war gainst the Communist government.

    In my opinion Boxer should have been branded a traitor to America’s cause but was not on “free speech” grounds. And now she is a Senator begging for reelection. Disgusting!

    • avatar chrisfinnie says:

      Idiot left? I try not to call people names in public. I’d appreciate it if you’d return the favor. I personally consider Senator Boxer fairly moderate. So I’d hate to hear what you think of me!

      For example, I think what endangers the U.S. southern flank is our own habit of supporting dictators, our war on drugs that hires out-of-control mercenary armies to despoil the countryside, and our trade policies that mire the people of Central and South America in hopeless poverty. This made the demonstrably failed communist ideology much more attractive than it would have been otherwise. If we had helped our neighbors to develop thriving economies, let them exercise their own democratic rights, and dealt with our own internal demand for drugs by offering treatment programs, we’d have been viewed more favorably. And communism would have been far less attractive.

      No doubt you and your friends in the House consider that “idiot left.” However, as a longtime student of history, I consider our actions more than idiot. They rise to the level of international war crimes. And make me ashamed of the country of my birth.

  3. avatar Elliott_James says:

    Is there a synergistic effect with Whitman and Fiorina? If voters don’t like wealthy candidates “buying” their way in, having not one but two stinking rich candidates on the ballot may be over the top for some voters. Boxer’s very effective ad slamming Fiorina for laying off workers and buying a fleet of personal jets — does it also lower Whitman a notch by association? I wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

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