Tags: Carly Fiorina

A Second Look at Those PPP Numbers in California and New Hampshire


I have gotten to the point where when I see good news for a Democrat candidate in the PPP poll, I figure it’s probably just a shift in the partisan divide in their polling sample.

One of my regular correspondents, Number Cruncher, checks in on their latest numbers in New Hampshire:

They blame Palin for the reason why Kelly Ayotte, has lost, four of her seven point lead over Paul Hodes. However, in reading the poll I think a more obvious answer can be deduced once you read the cross-tabs.

First, I checked the “Who did you vote for last time”, I always find this one interesting, because about 6% of people forgot they voted for Obama. This cross-tab is the one I read for my own amusement.

So next we go to Obama personal approvals: While Obama is slipping nationwide, somehow he has made a remarkable turnaround if you trust PPP’s latest poll. In fact his Approve/Disapprove is at a far more respectable 49-47 (+2); in the prior poll it was 47-48 (-1). Could all those polls across the country be wrong? We have a three point turnaround to the positive — hurray the recession is over! I wonder how that would play into Ayotte losing 4 points over April?

Next stops are Party ID and Political Philosophy, both trending more favorably for Democrats and Liberals since the April poll.

PPP Party ID in July: 35% Democrat, 29% Republican, 36% Other (D+6).

PPP Party ID in April: 32% Democrat, 30% Republican, 38% Independent (D+2).

That alone should pretty much tells you why Ayotte lost 4 points. For the record, the exits in 2008 indicated party ID to be Democrat 29%, Republican 27%, and Independent 45%. (D+2).

Next stop: What is your political Philosophy?

In April: 37% Conservative, 20% Liberal, and 43% Moderate

In July: 30% Conservative, 23% Liberal, and 47% Moderate.

So let me get this straight: Liberals have gained 3% and Conservatives lost 7% since April? For the record, the exits in 2008 showed 26% Liberal, 28%, Conservative, and 46% Moderate. In 2004 the exits indicated 30% Conservative, 21% Liberal, and 49% Moderate. Even if PPP argues that their more recent poll is more in line with past elections, it doesn’t change the fact that the reason Ayotte’s polling numbers decreased is that PPP samples 7% less Conservatives and 3% more Liberals. Simply put, its not Palin who caused Ayotte’s polling numbers to go down, rather it’s that PPP sampled more liberals and Democrats this time around than they did in April.

I guess when you’re a partisan pollster you can take a poll and tell whatever story you want. PPP is a Democrat pollster. That being said: I find it interesting that a Democrat pollster is so interested in discrediting Palin from endorsing candidates. If she is truly so polarizing and thus a drain on Republican candidates, why not just keep your mouth shut?

PPP also has a new poll out in California, showing Democrat Jerry Brown leading Republican Meg Whitman in the governor’s race, 46 percent to 40 percent, and Democrat Barbara Boxer leading Republican Carly Fiorina, 49 percent to 40 percent.

Their sample splits 46 percent Democrat, 34 percent Republican, 19 percent independent. The CNN exit poll of the state in 2008 was 42 percent Democrat, 30 percent Republican, 28 percent independent.

An electorate with fewer independents in it would normally be plausible as you change from a presidential election year to a midterm. But more voters are identifying as independents this year, and the economic hard times might mitigate the regular drop-off. It’s not impossible that the California electorate will be more Democratic this year than it was in 2008, but I am skeptical.

UPDATE: A Republican operative well-versed in California politics emails in to contend that there’s a good chance PPP oversampled voters in two groups more likely to favor Democrats in its California poll: Hispanics and African-Americans: “In 2008, Latinos comprised 18 percent of those voting, but 20 percent of those surveyed by PPP were Hispanic. CNN’s exit numbers did show that 10 percent of California voters in 2008 were African-American, but without Barack Obama on the ballot, there’s a good chance that PPP’s 8 percent number could be off, too.”

This individual says that the proportion of Hispanic, and African-American, voters is expected by many California political operatives to be lower than does PPP. I think that interpretation makes sense, but I’m not going to go nuts over a 2 percent shift. I think the party ID is the more troublesome factor in this sample.

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina , Jerry Brown , Kelly Ayotte , Meg Whitman , PPP

A GOP Surge in California, With a Caveat


Team Fiorina is excited about the first poll showing their gal ahead, 47 percent to 45 percent, over Sen. Barbara Boxer in California. But it isn’t that surprising; there have been enough polls showing a close race — back in March, the Field Poll and PPP showed Boxer ahead by a single point — that a Fiorina lead was likely to appear in one eventually.

A bit more surprising is Meg Whitman suddenly jumping to a 7-percentage-point lead; she had been ahead for a stretch in March and Jerry Brown had seemed to close the gap and pull ahead in recent weeks.

I’d make one note of caution about this poll: Is Obama really at 41 percent favorable, 43 percent unfavorable and 14 percent neutral in California? Note that his favorable rating — distinct from his job approval — has been much higher in most polls in this state. Then again, California’s had unemployment above 12 percent since December; perhaps the patience of Golden State voters is running out.

Tags: Barack Obama , Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina , Jerry Brown , Meg Whitman

Of Course, She Hasn’t Deployed the
Boxer-Head Blimp Yet


This has to be one of the least reassuring three-point leads ever:

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer is clinging to a narrow three-point lead (47% to 44%) over her Republican opponent, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, among likely voters in California’s upcoming November general election for U.S. Senate.

Over the past sixteen months The Field Poll has conducted five statewide surveys pairing Boxer and Fiorina in the Senate contest. The results show that Boxer’s once sizeable thirty-point advantage over Fiorina in March of last year has narrowed considerably in recent months.

Since January of this year the image that voters have of Boxer has become more negative. More voters now hold an unfavorable (52%) than favorable (41%) view of her. Also, appraisals of the job Boxer is doing have declined and are now close to the lowest ratings she has received in her eighteen-year tenure. At present, 43% of the state’s registered voters disapprove of the Senator’s performance, while 42% approve. Among likely voters 48% disapprove and 42% approve.

Carly for California deputy campaign manager for communications Julie Soderlund’s statement:

Today’s Field Poll results prove that California voters are ready to fire Barbara Boxer. Her 52 percent unfavorable rating confirms voters have not been fooled by Barbara Boxer’s empty Election Year rhetoric about non-existent job creation when they are staring 12.4 percent unemployment in the face. This poll underscores the fact that California voters are unhappy with Barbara Boxer’s job performance and are ready to show her the door this November.

Meanwhile, despite the distinct party registration advantage and high name identification Barbara Boxer enjoys, Carly has turned Boxer’s once two-to-one lead into a statistical dead heat. California voters have a clear choice in this election: a political outsider with a proven record of success and the know-how to develop real job-stimulating policy versus a career politician who has spent more than three decades voting for more than a trillion dollars in tax increases, onerous government regulation and spending that has caused our nation’s debt to climb to record levels. As this choice becomes clearer to voters, we expect the positive trends in this poll to continue, and we believe Californians will elect Carly to replace Barbara Boxer this November.

At this point, you can’t quite say that Fiorina is favored. But the race looks quite winnable, which may be about as good as it gets for a Republican challenger against a three-term Democrat in California.

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina

‘Ma’am’ Is One of the Nicer Things They Call You, Barbara


One year ago today, Sen. Barbara Boxer told Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh to “say senator instead of ma’am. I worked so hard to get that title.”

Today, to mark the anniversary, the Carly Fiorina campaign offers postcards to send to Californians. Among them:

Senator Boxer, he worked hard for his title, too.

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina

Could Fiorina and Boxer Be Tied?


I think we’ll know very soon if this CrossTarget poll of the California Senate race is an outlier, or whether Carly Fiorina has gotten enough of a bump from her primary win to make this a neck-and-neck race with Barbara Boxer.

Boxer             46.5%

Fiorina           47.0%

Undecided    6.5%

Rasmussen had Boxer by 5, but the incumbent’s lead has been pretty marginal in most recent polls: 6, 3, 9, 4, 7, 1.

And if Barbara Boxer really is in trouble . . . well, the Democrats had better run and hide in the rest of the country.

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina

A Hairy Gambit in California?


In all likelihood, Carly Fiorina’s off-mike statement about Barbara Boxer’s hair was exactly what it appeared to be — one candidate examining the appearance of another candidate and finding it laughably anachronistic. (No critiques from me; most often my hair looks like it was trimmed with a lawnmower.)

But as we all know, Barbara Boxer can be a little touchy. (“Call me senator.”) She has a bit of an ego, writing novels in which the protagonist is a crusading liberal Democratic senator from California who has “been put here on earth to save its endangered children.” So it’s not unthinkable that Fiorina or her campaign or both might think that upon hearing ridicule of her appearance, Boxer might be easily goaded into making a similar comment about Fiorina.

You’ve seen Carly Fiorina’s ultra-short haircut, right? You know her hair is growing back differently because of chemotherapy from when she was treated for breast cancer, right?

Usually-Democratic California is already pretty “meh” on Boxer, where the incumbent is polling in the mid to high 40s. A comment mocking a recovering cancer patient’s hair would be the sort of thing that would shift Boxer’s image from a haughty, too-comfortable pol to a mean-spirited monster.

It didn’t happen in this case. But I can’t help but suspect that Team Fiorina will try to generate as many “call me Senator” moments as possible. I suspect in their first debate, Fiorina will call her “ma’am” early and often.

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina

Perhaps Pelosi’s Wondered About That Hair, Too


In an unpredictable world, you can count on Nancy Pelosi phrasing every thought that pops into her noggin in the least effective manner.

Asked how much longer Democrats should continue to blame Bush, Pelosi replied: “Well, it burns out when the problems go away. And here’s what the president inherited. He inherited a deficit, when this president inherited from the Clinton administration four budgets that were either in surplus or in balance. And he turned it into a massive deficit. He . . . brought us to the brink of a financial crisis. He brought us to the brink of deep recession, ignoring issues that relate to climate change.” (It’s clear that while some Democrats aren’t sure whether “blame Bush” is still a viable campaign tactic, the speaker believes it is. And she was pretty emphatic about this.)

At no point are Obama or the Democrats responsible for the problems of the country, in other words.

And asked about Carly Fiorina’s critical comments about Barbara Boxer’s hair, Pelosi responded: “Well, let me say this: I wasn’t surprised . . . I wasn’t surprised that she would say that.”

I suppose she means she wasn’t surprised that Fiorina would make a critical comment that seems pretty personal, but it certainly sounds like Pelosi is saying she, too, wonders what Boxer is doing with her hair.

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina , Nancy Pelosi

Demon Sheep, Boxer’s Floating Head . . . The Show Must Go On!


Carly Fiorina wins the California GOP Senate primary, ensuring that the campaign web videos that remind me of Gary Larson’s “Far Side” will continue.

And the “giant floating head” ad:

Look out, Barbara Boxer. I think it’s safe to say you have no idea what Carly Fiorina and her creative director David Lynch are going to throw at you.

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina



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.

Tags: Carly Fiorina , Chuck DeVore , Tom Campbell

Which Candidates Are Worth Their Weight in Golden State?


California’s Republican Senate primary is less than three weeks away, and it looks like it’s going to be a tough fight, with lots of thrown elbows, down to the end.

I don’t think anybody has run as hard as Chuck DeVore, and in terms of positions and views, he’s probably the most consistently conservative among the three options. But looking at the polls, it’s going to take some sort of miraculous last-minute surge to get him the nomination.

Carly Fiorina’s campaign seems to run hot and cold. Lord knows I loved the Demonsheep ad, and the Barbara-Boxer’s-head-as-the-Death-Star ad, and her biography will, I think, prompt a lot of non-Republicans to give her a second look in the general election if she wins. But it’s clear that without a record in public office, a lot of conservatives aren’t yet convinced that they can trust her. It’s hard to begrudge a California Republican for being skeptical of a big name from outside the political world.

Then there’s Tom Campbell, who’s solid on most fiscal issues and leading many but not all polls, but who also has these previous acts, statements, and associations that appear, if not anti-Israel, not particularly warm towards Israel. As one analyst put it to me a while back, “If Campbell wins, every major Jewish donor in the country will be giving to Boxer.” I’m not sure that’s accurate, but it seems like a potentially significant pitfall for the general election. Add in the NRA’s disenthusiasm for him, and there are two big potentially GOP demographics who might stay home. Still, since jumping from the governor’s race, he’s run with tenacity and aggression, exactly what we would expect of a man accused of being a carnivorous even-toed ungulate.

At Red State, Erick Erickson argues that Fiorina has to drop out, a logic I don’t quite follow:

We know from the real world — Marlin Stutzman — that two weeks out in Indiana he was at 8%, the week before the race he was at 18%, and the day of the election he got 30%.

The trends, polls, and other data are clear: Carly Fiorina has reached the glass ceiling. Chuck DeVore is going up. And it is Carly who is a drain on Chuck, not the other way around.

A conservative whose first name starts with a “C” can win the primary and beat Barbra Boxer. But that person is not named Carly. Rather that person is named Chuck.

Carly Fiorina needs to get out and endorse Chuck DeVore.

DeVore might be the next Marlin Stutzman, or he might be the next Steve Lonegan, a hard-charging down-the-line conservative in a pretty liberal state who gave it his best shot and came up short. Perhaps we will see a late DeVore surge; there’s a case to be made that a lot of California Republicans are just tuning in right about now. But DeVore has been running hard since November 2008, and seems stuck in the mid-teens at best.

I think David Weigel put it, “Can’t Patrick Ruffini, Liz Mair, and Josh Trevino all win?”

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina , Chuck DeVore , Demonsheep , Tom Campbell


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