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Boxer and Fiorina both face eroding support in recent polls

by Alan Markow, published

The most striking aspect of the Boxer-Fiorina Senatorial campaign is how much ground both candidates are losing.  According to Real Clear Politics, which summarizes all active polls, both candidates have experienced an oddly similar drop in support over the past month.  Boxer remains in the lead in this contest, but the difference between the candidates is so minimal that the race is considered a toss-up by most pundits.  According to the analysis by Real Clear Politics, “As of August, there’s a real chance that Boxer will lose this one.” 

Both candidates have lost around three percent of their support over the past month.  At her high point, Fiorina was polling 43.5 percent of the voters.  She’s now at 40.3 percent.  Boxer has dropped from 47 to 43.8 percent over this same period. 

The similarity between the two charts is surprising.  Up until now, polls have reflected a zero sum game for the candidates in which increasing support for one meant decreasing support for the others.  Thus, the charts have been mirror images since polling on this race began at the end of January. And while this month’s pattern may only be a temporary glitch in the numbers, it could also mean that Californians are fed up with the mindless partisanship so rampant in California and across the nation. 

As David Broder pointed out in a recent Washington Post column, the choice between Democrats and Republicans has become unappealing: 

     “The Democrats seem determined to teach us the price of vacillation, while the Republicans are bent on instructing us on the rewards of obstruction. What a helluva choice awaits in the November election.” 

Broder cites the president’s wavering on his support of the Islamic Center and Mosque near Ground Zero as a prime example of the Democrats’ vacillation.  Then he describes the Republicans’ mindless opposition to sensible and important White House initiatives such as the new START treaty with Russia.  As the Washington Post noted this week, delaying tactics by Republicans on START have meant that:

     “or the first time in 15 years, U.S. officials have lost their ability to inspect Russian long-range nuclear bases, where they had become accustomed to peering into missile silos, counting warheads and whipping out tape measures to size up rockets.” 

Is it possible that the downturn in support for both Boxer and Fiorina is the beginning of voter recognition that the U.S. Senate is in a quagmire which both of these candidates seem determined to prolong?  Or is it simply a case of voters responding to both candidates’ negative campaigning by taking a “none of the above” attitude? 

Fiorina is largely a cipher as a politician; and while she’s better known as a business leader, she does not come with the cache of a highly successful CEO such as Meg Whitman.  Boxer has long been thought of as a lightweight, especially when compared to California’s highly respected senior Senator, Dianne Feinstein.  Boxer seems mired in her liberal perspective on the world. 

The question for voters is, would Fiorina simply go the other way and choose rigid obstructionism to all and any Democratic ideas? 

Nevertheless, the simultaneous loss of support for both candidates may be nothing more than a case of voters coming to their senses.   

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