Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Scott Brown Effect: Could Senator Barbara Boxer Lose California?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Scott Brown Effect: Could Senator Barbara Boxer Lose California?

Article excerpt

Incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer of California has lost a double- digit lead in the polls since January in the race for her reelection. Political analysts say such voter restlessness so early in the race may mean change is on the horizon.

The dramatic shift in poll numbers in the California Senate race - a surge for former US Rep. Tom Campbell for the GOP nomination and a double-digit drop for Senator Barbara Boxer (D) since January - has serious national implications, according to political analysts.

A California Field Poll released Thursday shows Mr. Campbell running ahead of businesswoman Carly Fiorina by six points and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore by 19 points among likely GOP primary election voters.

Perhaps more important, say analysts, is that more voters now have an unfavorable than favorable view of the incumbent Ms. Boxer, and she is essentially tied when matched against Campbell (44 to 43 percent) or Ms. Fiorina (44 to 45 percent).

Poll director Mark DiCamillo told the Sacramento Bee that "the tenor of political discourse" has clearly changed in California since Republican Scott Brown registered an upset victory in the Massachusetts Senate race in January. Others agree.

"The fact that three-term Barbara Boxer is in such deep trouble early in an election year is a warning signal to both Democrats and long-time incumbents," says Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "The voters are restless and in a surly mood. Wherever the country is going this year, California could get there first."

Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield Minn., agrees that the state poll's implications are national.

"The unpopularity of the current Congress is affecting races all over the nation. This has given the GOP a major boost in California and other states as the November elections approach. …

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