Archive for the ‘California Politics’ Category

Field Poll: Newsom Leads, Kamala in Trouble, Prop 19 Support Fading

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Here’s the Field Poll’s results on the down ticket races and the propositions.

Newsom is up over Maldonado by 5, 42-37%, and looks to be in good shape.

SF DA Kamala Harris leads LA County DA Steve Cooley by only 1 point, 39-38%, with 19% undecided. She can still pull it off, but that fact that California’s Democratically inclined voters haven’t made up their mind on her is a sign that she’s vulnerable.

Prop 19, to legalize the demon weed, is now behind 49-42%. Recent analysis has shown that there may be some “reverse Bradley effect” in which people responding to surveys conducted by an actual person might be underestimating support for the initiative, but this may be wishful thinking. I do know that this thing’s generating a lot of excitement from people I know (both Democrats and Republicans).

Prop 23, which would gut California’s greenhouse emissions law is behind, 48-33%.

And in somewhat of a surprise, Prop 25, to remove the 2/3 majority for budget approval, is leading 48%-31%.

Hopefully this one will pass. Perhaps the voters are finally getting that the fact we don’t have a budget for months on end in this state is related to the fact that 2/3 of an extremely polarized legislature has to agree on something before it happens.

Field Poll: Boxer by 8

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

The new Field Poll, the gold standard for California polling, has Boxer up by 8 over Fiorina, with just a few days until election day. 

I almost titled this post “Out of Touch Career Politician by 8 Over Corporate Outsourcer,” because that basically sums up the media narrative for this race. 

Boxer is the least popular of our two Senators here in California and has generally benefited from drawing weak challengers for her re-election campaigns. George Will opined earlier this year that if Barbara Boxer could win in California this year, it would show that Republicans have no chance of winning in the state. Increasingly, it looks like that may be the case.

As Cal Buzz notes,

While Boxer’s favorable-to-unfavorable rating is just 48-47%, she is drawing more than eight in 10 Democrats, about half the independents and men and a majority of women. She has nearly two-thirds of the Latinos, plus six in 10 voters in Los Angeles and more than six in 10 voters in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While the specifics of the race are clearly different, Boxer suffers from the same fate that I talked about in my previous post on the governor’s race: Republicans have to run to far to the right in order to win the Republican nomination, and then are too extreme for the Democrat dominated general election voters. In Fiorina’s case, this includes her pro-life stance on abortion, her position in favor of offshore drilling and her opposition to California’s climate change law.  Basically, California voters are predisposed to vote Democratic and any candidate that wants them to deviate from that vote needs to convince them that they are not like national Republicans. Fiorina has so far been unable to do so, and in fact, as the Field’s Poll’s Director noted, as the election gets closer, more and more Democratic voters are “coming home.”   

Boxer has also benefited from her ability to define Carly Fiorina as an innefective CEO who made over a hundred million dollars a year while outsourcing jobs to other countries. Recently, Joe Klein of Time Magazine traveled across the country and discussed the election with voters. One of the things he found was that the issue that most came up was one that is rarely discussed by politicians (mainly because they have no solution for it), and that is the movement of jobs to other countries, specifically India and China. While Barbara Boxer hasn’t offered anyting particularly specific to deal with this, she was able to use this anxiety to her advantage by pointing out constantly that HP cut 30,000 jobs under Fiorina while expanding operations overseas. This commercial plays many times a day on California television stations and has done a lot to define Fiorina in voters’ minds. In a particularly bad sign Fiorina, independents have a 50% favorable feeling towards Boxer vs 36% unfavorable, while the Fiorina numbers are 51%-30%.

Again, no popping of champagne corks right now. Some polls have shown this race closer than Field has it, but these dynamics with only a few more days to go are not good for Fiorina’s prospects.

eMeg vs. Gandalf

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Wanted to give a little plug to the Calbuzz.com website for their coverage of the California Governor’s race. As their About Page indicates, Calbuzz’s website  is run by two veteran California political reporters, Phil Trounstine and Jerry Roberts.

This little piece on the Whoregate kerfuffle is typical of their irreverent, but still substantial coverage. I prefer the more regal “Gandalf” for Governor Brown, but that Krusty the Clown image is pretty spot on as well.

eMeg Smackdown

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Read about this little exchange in the California Governors debate this weekend, but it’s hard to really get until you watch the clip.

It might have been a good strategy to attack the messenger here, but attacking Jerry Brown personally for the mistakes that she and her husband made with regards to her undocumented maid seems like a bridge to far. 

eMeg’s attacks flailed and Brown’s counterpunches were pretty damn devastating.

I’m not really too concerned with the specific allegations about Meg’s maid, but it sure seems like bad strategy not to have dealt with this in advance (when–as one analyst noted, it would have been a page 8 story instead of a page 1 story)…and the people who orchestrated this timed it beautifully, putting eMeg in front of a statewide broadcast on Spanish language TV when the allegations are fresh on everyone’s mind. Talk about Hardball.

Not sure if this was shown on English news stations, but you can be sure that a large number of Latinos were in front of the TV waiting to hear how eMeg defended herself on this one.

As Calbuzz.com opined:

The Univision alleged simulcast translation into English was so poorly engineered, there won’t likely be too many TV clips in English. But in Spanish, watch out. Latinos who had been flirting with Whitman are likely, Calbuzz thinks, to default to the guy who marched with Cesar Chavez and dated Linda Rondstadt.

We can hear the conversation around the kitchen table: “Maybe he’s un poco loco, but at least he doesn’t accuse the help of stealing the mail.”

For more on this exchange and the rest of Calbuzz’s coverage of the debate, check here.

Unclear of this is a game changer, but it’s not good news for eMeg to be trailing Jerry by a few points with a month to go after having spent close to $150 million of her own money trashing him for over a year.

Brown vs. Whitman Rd. 1

Monday, October 4th, 2010

The whole Meg and the Maid Scandal made last week’s debate old news, but here’s my comment on it.

About half way through the debate, my mom (a longtime Democrat) sent me a text message that read “It’s Meg by a mile. Jerry is kind of bumbling.” Two minutes later, my brother-in-law (a Republican) text messaged me: “Gotta say Brownie is taking the debate.”

I felt like it was an exercise in asymmetric warfare. Both seemed to do fine with their own strengths and struggle with the other’s. Whitman was organized and on offense against Brown, methodically scoring debate points, but about as dynamic as a white piece of paper. Brown was like a hyperactive kid, exhibiting lots of nervous energy and not always making the most coherent points, but certainly dispelling the idea that he was too old and didn’t have the energy for the job. Both stuck mostly to their talking points, with Whitman hitting Brown on his reliance on the unions to defend against eMeg’s over $120 million campaign and Brown countering that he was opposed to tax cuts for millionaires and billionares like eMeg.

The consensus seems to be that the two pretty much fought to a draw, but as my brother-in-law said, it “seem(ed) like she was talking from a flash card,” while Brown seemed much more likeable, even joking with the moderator about how he wouldn’t be running for president because of his age, quipping

Hell, if I was younger, you know I’d be running… I now have a wife. I come home at night. I don’t try to close down the bars in Sacramento like I used to do when I was governor of California.

In the end,  previous tendencies on the part of voters were probably confirmed by these debates. If you think that we need someone with a business background to run the state like a business, then eMeg is your woman. If you think that we need someone who has experience in politics, but also an independent streak and a keen intellect, then Jerry is your man. Aside from these personality issues that tend to dominate these debates, neither candidate is stepping up and offerring a coherent vision for how to fix a state that is broken on so many levels. As usual, we can only guess at what they would actually do once in office.

Legalize It

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

A new set of polls shows Proposition 19, the ballot initiative to legalize (non-medicinal) marijuana in California, surging ahead. Two polls in the past month, the Field Poll and a Public Policy Poll show the initiative ahead and the PPP poll shows it with over 50% of respondents in favor.

The initiative would legalize the possession of under an ounce of marijuana and allow the counties to set laws on the legality and taxation of marijuana sales. Here’s a link to more details (please excuse the Wikipedia).

I’m also linking to an article arguing in favor of the initiative (with none other than ” The Dude” as an expert witness).

There are many pro and con arguments to be bandied about on this, but the main one is that the health effects of alcohol and tobacco are in many ways worse than pot and given that these substances are not only legal, they are marketed to us non-stop in our media culture, the double standard doesn’t make much sense.

Plus, as far as I’m concerned, it’s nobody’s business what I put in my body as long as I’m not harming anyone else.

Either way, this is going to be an interesting one.