You don’t often see candidates’ polling numbers bounce around this dramatically:
Admit it, you never saw this scenario emerging after the “Demonsheep” ad.
Poor Chuck DeVore — arguably the hardest-working campaign, the one candidate whose consistent conservatism is indisputable — has been stuck in the mid to high teens for a while. Electorally, this may be for the best for the GOP; if Meg Whitman wins the GOP gubernatorial primary, as expected, the theme for the party this year is clear: “The businesswomen are coming to fix California.”
A Golden State conservative strategist made the case to me very early on in this cycle, that because California is so phenomenally expensive a state to run in, and because the Democrats have such a built-in advantage with state employee unions, the GOP party establishment tends to fall in love with any candidate who can self-fund. It’s an extremely legitimate point; it means most GOP statewide candidates are years removed from the ordinary, paying-the-mortgage-and-groceries concerns of average voters and are easily painted as out-of-touch plutocrats. On the other hand, it’s California, and you can’t run statewide on a shoestring. Even with gerrymandering, hundreds of lower-ticket GOP officials — congressmen, mayors, state legislators, town and city councilmen — need the GOP’s top of the ticket to be at least somewhat competitive to ensure healthy turnout.
This has been a rough-and-tumble campaign on the GOP side; we will see if any serious damage has been done to the Republican senatorial nominee shortly.