Tags: Meg Whitman

Are Meg’s and Carly’s Fates Still Joined?


When Republicans nominated two high-profile former CEOs who are women for statewide offices in California, I figured the fates of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina were tied at the hip. Not only were their profiles and themes similar — fiscal conservatives with business sense, taking on calcified embodiments of the state’s exhausted liberal establishment — but it was hard to imagine the state’s voters feeling dramatically different about what they wanted in a governor and in a senator.

Now I’m not so sure. Whitman has taken a tumble in the polls, no doubt. (If her slide really does stem from the housekeeper brouhaha, then perhaps it’s time to give up on that place. I understand Lex Luthor has a plan to bring dramatic change to California’s troubled landscape.) And even in this most expensive of states, to spend more than $140 million and to trail boggles the mind.

Fiorina seems to be polling a little better, and has the advantage of running against a true incumbent. I think Whitman is far and away a better choice for Californians, and keep waiting for the Democrats to admit that the Jerry Brown campaign has been a big joke. But if the state really is going to send the old retread to Sacramento, maybe they’ll be wary of embracing both icons of the liberal approach to governance that has left their state in such a mess.

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

What Is Influencing West Virginia and California Voters?


Sometimes, you can see a campaign shift on an issue that strikes you as wildly obscure, unimportant, and irrelevant.

Are Californians really going to elect a liberal fossil as governor because Meg Whitman’s maid pulled a publicity stunt with Gloria Allred?

Well, this morning Rasmussen puts Jerry Brown ahead by 6.

Are West Virginians really going to send another Democrat to the Senate because a firm hired by the NRSC looked for “hicky” actors?

Well, this morning Marshall University puts Joe Manchin ahead by 10.

One of the reasons Democrats thrive is that when they run a place for a long time — think the East Coast’s big cities, or New Jersey until 2009, or California (at least the state legislature) — they tend to enact policies that drive out those who oppose them. Some will object to counterproductive liberal policies at the ballot box, but many others will vote with their feet. Why do Democrats run Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Detroit? Because their policies have driven most who demand better out to the suburbs.

If these electorates really do make their decisions based on housekeepers and casting calls . . . those states will deserve what they get.

Tags: Jerry Brown , Joe Manchin , John Raese , Meg Whitman

October Surprise!


Obi-Wan, back on September 2:

This fall they will know no checks — October Surprises, maybe every day and all day. What this means, I don’t know — bombing Iran? Capturing Osama bin Laden or some other big name and announcing the news two days before the election? Get tough with Paris Hilton and send her to Guantanamo?

[I am fairly certain my mentor is exaggerating. Having said that, I hope Paris pays her lawyers well.]

Q: What can the GOP do?

First, predict it. Just tell the people that the White House and Democrats will try and control the media dynamic and narrative. This is what they do. They don’t really know how to govern for the public good; if they could do that, they would be in better shape. What they do know to do is use media events to hold onto power, to go on television and blab.

Second, Republicans ought to be using the words “October Surprise” endlessly. Hold a contest to see who comes up with the most creative suggestion for what the Dems might do.

The month changes, and suddenly . . .

October surprise! Gloria Allred pops up with Meg Whitman’s former housekeeper telling a tale of woe, claiming abuse during a nine-year-working relationship, and claiming Whitman knew she was illegal all along.

October surprise! A sexual-harassment lawsuit is filed against Tom Ganley in one of Ohio’s House races.

October surprise! David Vitter’s opponent puts up an ad hitting him on the prostitution scandal.

October surprise! CQ notices World Wrestling Entertainment had lobbyists when Linda McMahon was running it, contradicting a statement McMahon made last April.

Tags: David Vitter , Linda McMahon , Meg Whitman , Tom Ganley

E-Verify Could Have Saved the Candidate from eBay!


I looked wetter than Michael Phelps when I arrived at an NRCC meeting today. Nine GOP women candidates probably think I have gills.

While I was trudging through five-inch deep puddles, readers were responding to the accusations against Meg Whitman in California.

I’m a lifelong Californian and love the state and its people, even though it’s been governed for the last 15-20 years by the progressive version of the Keystone Cops. But, if people are going to throw Whitman under the bus for hiring an illegal, then almost none of us can run for office. Day laborers, kitchen staff, or domestic help: hiring an illegal is winked at all the time. Voters can hold it against Whitman, but I reserve the right to call “hypocrisy” on my fellow Californians.

Also . . .

Even if Meg Whitman got a no-match letter from SSA, there are plenty of reasons why she might not have taken action.  The government has made a point in the past of warning employers that a no-match letter is not in and of itself sufficient reason to terminate an employee.  And immigration lawyers will warn their clients that if they take any action against an employee who has facially valid documents, they risk all kinds of civil rights trouble.  If anything this episode points out the need for e-verify.

And . . .

Today’s issue of the Morning Jolt is, as always, inspired.  You’re right about the California governor’s race, but Michelle Malkin has a point.  And I would add this comment to her point.  You can’t groom local and state candidates if you dont financially support them.  Conservative blogs, magazine sites (cough-NRO-cough) and talk radio gurus are so busy encouraging everyone to send money to Nevada, Delaware, Florida, and Alaska that local Republican candidates’ fund raising is a disaster.  We haven’t had a Democrat county commissioner ever, but we might get one this year because the Democrats are pouring money into the race, and the Republicans are sending their money out-of-state (now that most have given up on the Governor’s race).  We need to flip 6 state House seats to regain control, but our two local Republican candidates, both of whom are great candidates with a real chance of winning, can’t raise the money they need to run a very basic local campaign. 

I understand that if you live in NYC or Washington, there’s no point in getting too excited about the Republican candidate for anything local, but elsewhere in the country that’s not the case.  It would be great if the NRO folks would remind everyone that charity (and campaigning) begins at home. 

Tags: Meg Whitman

What Will Brown Do To You?


The top story in this morning’s Jolt:


Slim Whitman Chances?

I haven’t been to California since 2008, and barring some sudden speaking engagement, I won’t be heading to the Golden State anytime soon, more by circumstance than choice. But it’s easy for us outsiders to have a slight sense of relief with the ominous anxiety that the embattled leading state might be about to take a tough turn for the worse. Mostly it’s relief that we don’t have to live with their mistakes.

It’s rather odd, NBC has promoting the heck out of their new spin-off series, “Law and Order: Los Angeles,” and all of the commercials include all of the classic California images –palm trees, the Hollywood sign, cops in fancy suits and sunglasses, Tupac’ California Love on the soundtrack. They’re promoting a glamorous, idealized image that probably took root when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved out there and perhaps peaked in the 1980s.

But pick up one of the California newspapers, and you’ll get a different story. In fact, you’ll probably get a special collector’s edition as the print edition of that California newspaper ceases production. The state seems to be coming part at the seams: 12.4 percent unemployment, nine cities with unemployment above 15 percent, a budget crisis that makes Washington look thrifty, crime rates on the rise, social divisions that make the Balkans look like a big kumbaya campfire jamboree, and now, the worst outbreak of Whooping Cough in 55 years. It’s not hard to find eye-popping stories like, “In Sacramento, beset by California’s financial woes, homicides are up 43 percent this year, assaults on police are up 13 percent, and Chief Rick Braziel said he had to eliminate his vice unit.”

All of this is a roundabout way of asking whether Californians really will decide their next governor based on the allegations of an angry former housekeeper of Republican candidate Meg Whitman. Perhaps they will, but the idea of Governor Jerry Brown has felt like the largest televised practical joke ever…

But we’re a month out. “Go groom better candidates” is always good advice but you can’t just run out and pick up some more at Price Club. The next governor of California is either going to be Whitman or Jerry Brown. Either Republicans make their peace with whatever bad calls Whitman made or they sentence California to four years of a guy who effectively defined tax-and-spend liberalism, casually compared Whitman to Goebbels and was buddies with the Rev. Jim Jones.

Tags: Jerry Brown , Meg Whitman

Good News for GOP in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California


The only bad news for Republicans in the latest batch of polls from Fox News is from Florida’s governor’s race:

Florida: Marco Rubio (R) leads Gov. Charlie Crist (I) in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 27%, with Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) at 21%. Alex Sink (D) is ahead of Rick Scott (R) in the race for governor, 49% to 41%.

Nevada: Sharron Angle (R) edges Sen. Harry Reid (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 45% to 44%.

Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey (R) leads Rep. Joe Sestak (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 41%.

Ohio: Rob Portman (R) leads Lee Fisher (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 41%. John Kasich (R) is ahead of Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in the race for governor, 48% to 43%.

California: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) edges Carly Fiorina (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 46% to 44%. Meg Whitman (R) is ahead of Jerry Brown (D) in the race for governor, 49% to 43%.

Most of these results are in line with other polls, but I suspect Sharron Angle’s supporters will be cheered at a non-Rasmussen poll* showing her ahead.

UPDATE: Eh, it’s sort of not Rasmussen: “Pulse Opinion Research licenses methodology developed by veteran pollster Scott Rasmussen, providing a survey platform for a host of clients, from individuals to special-interest groups. In fact, we provide the field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys. We have also collected data for presidential campaigns and top-tier political professionals from across the political spectrum. Over the period from 2003 to 2009, Pulse generated 18% of its revenue from Republican sources, 20% from Democrats and 61% from sources not affiliated with either major party.”

Tags: Carly Fiorina , Meg Whitman , Pat Toomey , Rick Scott , Rob Portman , Sharron Angle

Meg Whitman Wants to Move 130 Miles


This is a nice ad for Meg Whitman in California’s governor’s race, but I’m a bit surprised that her campaign still feels the need to run biographical ads. I suppose Californians are tuning out politics this summer.

In keeping with the musical theme of the day, this commercial probably could have used a little bit of The Proclaimers, who will walk the 130 miles and then another 370 to 870 more.

Tags: Meg Whitman

The Handful of Races That Might Impact the Next Decade?


A reader writes in, asking a fascinating question: Which five races are most important for Republicans this year?

(Cue every GOP campaign consultant in America e-mailing me with the message, “IT’S MINE! IT’S MINE! IT’S MINE!”)

I offered an answer that didn’t quite fit his criteria: If the GOP wins the governor’s races in California, Texas, and Florida, and maximizes its influence in each state’s legislature, they will probably have the ability to add about 10 more GOP-friendly U.S. House districts among those three states. With the House of Representatives likely to be closely contested after Election Day — either a narrow Democratic majority or a narrow Republican majority — that next batch of winnable races could have a big impact on the next ten years.

Of course, California is considering altering its usual method of redistricting through a proposition this year, and Democrats have large majorities in the state senate and assembly. Texas’s state senate is currently heavily GOP and the state house has a narrower Republican majority; Florida Republicans have a pretty wide majorities in the state senate and state house.

Tags: Bill McCollum , Meg Whitman , Rick Perry , Rick Scott

Indecisive Californians


This poll from the Public Policy Institute of California offers some strikingly high “undecided” numbers:

Likely voters are closely divided between Democrat Jerry Brown (37%) and Republican Meg Whitman (34%), with 23 percent undecided. Of those saying that a candidate’s environmental positions are very important in determining their vote, 50 percent would vote for Brown and 16 percent would vote for Whitman. Among those who say a candidate’s environmental positions are somewhat important, Whitman is favored (42% to 33%). Preferences follow party lines, with independents split (30% Brown, 28% Whitman, 30% undecided). (The survey questionnaire lists results for all six candidates listed on the November ballot.)

Most likely voters (79%) also view the U.S. Senate candidates’ positions on the environment as at least somewhat important. Thirty-nine percent of likely voters support Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, 34 percent support Republican Carly Fiorina, and 22 percent are undecided. Those who view candidates’ positions on the environment as very important are three times as likely to support Boxer (54%) as Fiorina (18%). Among those who say candidates’ views on the environment are somewhat important, support is evenly divided (37% to 37%). Each candidate has the support of her party’s likely voters. Among independents, 35 percent support Boxer, 29 percent support Fiorina, and 25 percent are undecided.

Both of these races are winnable for the GOP, and I’m trying to think of the last time I saw a three-term Senate incumbent getting 39 percent. (Perhaps Harry Reid on one of his bad days.) But clearly, both Whitman and Fiorina have a lot of work ahead.

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

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

Jerry Brown: A Godwin’s Law and Order Candidate


Right now, I take Alvin Greene’s campaign more seriously than Jerry Brown’s:

“‘It’s like Goebbels,’ referring to Hitler’s notorious Minister of Propaganda. ‘Goebbels invented this kind of propaganda. He took control of the whole world. She wants to be president. That’s her ambition, the first woman president. That’s what this is all about.’” 

– Doug Sovern, “Run Jerry Run,” KCBS’ Blog, 6/9/10.

Statement from Meg Whitman campaign manager Jillian Hasner in response to Jerry Brown’s remarks comparing Meg Whitman to Nazi minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels: 

Just last week, Governor Brown promised he wasn’t going to engage in mudslinging, but now he is comparing Meg Whitman to Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. Jerry Brown’s statements comparing our campaign to a propagator of the Holocaust is deeply offensive and entirely unacceptable.

This is all a massive prank designed to get Dana Carvey back on Saturday Night Live, right? This isn’t a real campaign, right?

Oh, Brown really is running? Wow. Sounds like somebody’s been drinking the Kool-Aid. Hey, wait a minute . . .

Tags: Jerry Brown , Meg Whitman

Even Mike Bloomberg Thinks That’s a Lot of Money


I think Republican strategist Mike Murphy is a really, really smart guy.

I don’t know if I would pay him $90,000 per month, as Meg Whitman is, according to USA Today. This is part of how she spent $81 million to win the GOP primary Tuesday.

Tags: Meg Whitman

If These Polls Swing Any More Violently, We’ll All Need Neck Braces


Dear SurveyUSA,

I like you guys, but did Meg Whitman’s lead over Steve Poizner in the GOP gubernatorial primary in California really go from 22 percentage points in April to 2 points in early May to 27 points now? Really?

Is it possible that in early May you accidentally called Poizner’s campaign office a lot? No?

Just wondering.

UPDATE: Oh, and McLaughlin & Associates puts it at 26 percentage points today.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oh, and PPP puts Whitman’s lead at 25 percentage points.

Tags: Meg Whitman , Steve Poizner

Okay, Perhaps Poizner’s Internal Polls Aren’t That Outlandish


Back on May 6, I was ready to make fun of the campaign of California Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner after they released an internal poll showing their man only down 10 to Meg Whitman. The previous polls put Whitman up by 22, by 31, and by 28.

I declared, “sometimes a campaign showcases results that are really, really surprising . . . Maybe Poizner will shock the world and complete one of the greatest comebacks in political history. But if they don’t, and if it’s not close, we’re going to look at this poll and laugh at them.”

Well, to the Poizner campaign’s credit, the race has clearly tightened. Just how much depends on who you ask. SurveyUSA had Whitman’s lead dropping from 22 percentage points to 2 points in a few weeks; an Orange County pollster put Whitman up 17, and today the PPIC poll puts Whitman up 9.

Whitman’s guy Mike Murphy tweets, “Others from last 4-5 days show double that lead or better.” We’ll see.

Tags: Meg Whitman , Steve Poizner

The Bar for Good News Gets Ever Lower


I made a reference to those always-reassuring internal polls yesterday. I want to give each campaign the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes a campaign showcases results that are really, really surprising:

Team Poizner today announced the latest internal polling showing Meg Whitman’s once 48 point lead down to just 10 points.  The poll proves that Poizner’s messaging is moving numbers fast, while Whitman’s messages have been ineffective. Whitman’s 48 point lead has shrunk to five points in all markets outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. While Whitman has poured millions into television and radio in the San Francisco media market, Poizner has yet to launch his broadcast TV campaign there, but will soon.

Could that be true? Well, perhaps, but the last three polls put Whitman up by 22, by 31, and by 28

The Poizner pollster also found:

The question is worded: Has what you’ve seen, read or heard recently about Meg Whitman/Steve Poizner or her/his campaign for Governor given you a more favorable or less favorable impression of her/him?

Meg’s information flow is 25% more favorable — 49% less favorable, while Steve’s is 30% more favorable — 39% less favorable. While neither candidate’s information flow is positive, it’s clear that voters are moving away from Meg at a higher rate than they are moving from Steve, indicating the likelihood that this race will continue to tighten.

So, just to clarify, the good news for the Poizner campaign is that while voters are hearing mostly negative things about their guy, they’re hearing more negative things about their rival?

Maybe Poizner will shock the world and complete one of the greatest comebacks in political history. But if they don’t, and if it’s not close, we’re going to look at this poll and laugh at them.

Tags: Meg Whitman , Steve Poizner

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