California Senate - Boxer vs. Fiorina RCP Average: Boxer +2.3
10/7/10 -- Fiorina has punched back with advertisements, and has closed the gap somewhat. Boxer remains below 50 percent, but is still well within the danger zone. In addition, some of these polls are seeing an electorate with a higher percentage of Democrats than 2008. This seems unlikely.
Few thought at the beginning of this cycle that the bad economy would cause the state’s voters to turn on the Democrats in 2010, but that appears to be what has happened. Although Senator Barbara Boxer has never been the world’s most popular senator – she won relatively close races in 1992 and 1998 before winning by 20 points in 2004 – she was thought to be reasonably safe after Barack Obama cruised to a 61-37 win in California in 2008.
But Boxer’s liberal voting record – from objecting to the certification of Ohio’s 2004 Electoral College votes to supporting a bill to censure George W. Bush – may be too liberal even for the Golden State. Polling shows the three-term senator only narrowly leading former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiornia. SurveyUSA has shown majorities disapproving of the senator, and polling this cycle has consistently shown her below 50 percent. Tellingly, the SurveyUSA polls have shown Boxer’s biggest weakness coming in the Inland Empire and Central Valley – the areas of the state hardest hit by the subprime meltdown. As of August, there’s a real chance that Boxer will loses this one.