The Massachusetts senatorial elections sent waves of uncertainty to many incumbents across the country and California’s Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has watched her poll numbers drop and competitors pull within single digits.
“Any incumbent who polls below 50% at this point in the season is considered potentially vulnerable,” said Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “However, vulnerable incumbents still have the power of their office and still have a decent chance of winning. The Democratic leaning political gravity of California will certainly give Senator Boxer a boost in that effort.”
The longtime Democratic senator runs best right now against State Assemblyman Chuck Devore, beating him by six points, 46 percent to 40 percent. Two months ago, though, Boxer posted a 10-point lead on DeVore.
The fact that Boxer’s support is frozen at 46 percent against all GOP challengers suggest that the race, for now, is about her rather than those running against her. Boxer is viewed very favorably by 25 percent of California voters but very unfavorably by 34 percent.
“Regardless of the outcome this should be a gigantic wake-up call to the Democratic Party – that we’re not connecting with the needs, the aspirations and the desires of real people right now,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in a San Francisco Chronicle story.
However, what happened in Massachusetts doesn’t predict what is going to happen in California in November, said Boxer campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski.
Looking back at the Scott Brown win, Kapolczynski believes DeVore’s conservative supporters will be encouraged. “If the national Tea Party movement is engaged that could dramatically change the Republican primary.”
Newsom says the Republican win in Massachusetts suggests “there’s real intensity and fervor out there, as represented by the Tea Party activists expressing anger at government spending and at job losses. This is real. At our own peril, we dismiss these tea parties as some sort of isolated extremism. It’s not.”
Perhaps more importantly, 55 percent of California voters rate the U.S. economy as poor, while just seven percent 7 percent think it’s good or excellent. Golden State voters remain divided when it comes to California’s economic recovery; 36 percent say it’s getter better, while 35 percent say it’s getting worse, according to a Rasmussen poll.
The conservative resurgence springing up the past year has awakened the GOP – moderate Republicans don’t sell, but conservatives do.
In a recent story from Commentary Magazine, J.E. Dyer, makes the argument for DeVore’s Rasmussen poll numbers. “Boxer’s best margin was 46-40 showing against DeVore, but his is the interesting figure; with his name recognition lower than Carly Fiorina (another GOP in the primary) signifies that voters are likely turning away from Boxer.”
Dyer points to the real problem for Boxer is Obama’s falling approval.
“We are encouraged by Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts. Some of you may not be aware that DeVore supporters actually had boots on the ground in MA walking precincts and making phone calls,” says Teri Peters a DeVore staffer. “Tweeters for Chuck, have connected with Brown supporters on Twitter and many of them have made commitments to support DeVore for the next big victory. We are building support that we hope spreads across the nation.”
The party of big government that tried (and failed) to pass enormous legislation for health care and cap and trade did so without much support from middle-class America. Most believe the Obama Administration should have been focused on the economy and creating jobs.
“In my view, when people are earning, when their home is secure, when their children are going to school and they’re relatively satisfied with their life, then [when] there’s a problem like health care, they want it solved,” Diane Feinstein (D-CA) said in a Politico story. “It doesn’t threaten them. The size of this bill threatens them, and that’s one of the problems that has to be straightened out.”
National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson Marchand said, “Evidently Dianne Feinstein understands that Massachusetts was a wake-up call for the Democrats, and Feinstein realizes that Californians don’t want a burdensome cap-and-tax bill or massive health care plan that has been crafted behind closed doors. So why has Feinstein’s California colleague, Barbara Boxer, failed to come to this same conclusion?”
Smelling blood in the water, NRSC is ramping up for what appears to be Boxer’s toughest re-election battle of her Senatorial career.
“Californians want Senators who will listen to them – not another partisan rubber stamp for Harry Reid and President Obama’s unpopular agenda in Washington,” Marchand concluded.