New poll: Now, signs of real vulnerability for California's Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer
So, is California's brittle Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer about to become the next Harry Reid? Which is to say, embattled at home.
As Reid worked the wallets of San Francisco on Presidents' Day to raise money for his endangered seat in Nevada, some stunning new Rasmussen Reports poll out today makes a compelling point:
For the second straight month the three-term senator is unable to break the 50% mark against any potential Republican opponents, the historical measuring mark of vulnerability for an incumbent nine months before an election.
For a Democrat in a Democrat state that gave Barack Obama 61% of its votes in 2008 (and still likes him more than many other places) to be mired in the mid-40's is a sign of real trouble. This is especially so given the fact that disgruntled voters gave Democrats control of the House, Senate and White House in 2008, expecting something to....
...happen beyond another congressional payraise. Voters appear to be looking at a the stubborn ineffectiveness of the much-vaunted economic stimulation bill, continued high unemployment and waning Obama approval. It's not like they don't know Boxer after all her years in the state's public life. To help with the warmth of money, Boxer has Al Gore's headline help fundraising.
Yes, sure, incumbents retain huge powers and money advantages over challengers and it's a long time until November, when the five-term ex-representative Boxer will turn 70. But nationally, indications are growing that 2010 could be a tidal wave election beyond the usual midterm swing with voters believing in a different kind of change to believe in.
Is it possible they could dump out a Democrat even in California?
Rasmussen found Boxer barely leading Republican challenger Carly Fiorina, 46-42, the same margin as January but down from a 10-point lead in September. Boxer beats former congressman Tom Campbell by the same four-point margin, 45-41, the same as in January when he jumped into the race, and is ahead of state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore by only five points, 47-42, down from her November lead of 10 points and January's 46-40 spread.
Rasmussen interprets the numbers as showing the race right now is much more about the outspoken Boxer than any of her challengers or what they are doing/saying.
One particularly ominous sign for the incumbent: One out of four California voters has a very favorable opinion of Boxer. But one out of three has a very unfavorable opinion.
-- Andrew Malcolm
Photo: Associated Press