Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer holds a strong edge over possible Republican challengers seeking to unseat her in the 2010 election, according to a new Field Poll of registered voters.

The poll, conducted via telephone between Sept. 18 and Oct. 6, showed Boxer holding a double-digit lead over two GOP hopefuls, declared candidate Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, and former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina, who has not declared her candidacy but has formed an exploratory committee.

Boxer beat Fiorina 49 percent to 35 percent, and DeVore 50 percent to 33 percent.

The poll indicated that much of Boxer's lead could stem from low name recognition for both Fiorina and DeVore.

While 87 percent of those surveyed held an opinion about the Democratic senator (48 percent favorable, 39 percent unfavorable), 72 percent of voters have no opinion of Fiorina and 82 percent have no opinion of DeVore.

With eight months until the GOP primary election, the poll results put DeVore and Fiorina in a dead heat. DeVore, who trailed Fiorina by 12 points in a March Field Poll, came in with 20 percent support among Republican primary voters in the latest poll, just one point behind Fiorina's 21 percent.

Amy Chance has more on the poll and what it means in today's Bee. Click here to check out statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert.

Legislative leaders met with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last night to continue negotiations on a package of water bills, but no deal was met. They're scheduled to meet again at 10 a.m. today.

The governor, who has until Sunday to act on more than 700 bills sent to his desk, has threatened to veto a large chunk of the legislation unless leaders work out the complicated plan.

Also on the water front, Schwarzenegger is scheduled to attend a 2:30 p.m. rally staged by the Latino Water Coalition. The governor was instrumental in creating the coalition, according to a Capitol Weekly report.

Today's day two of the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee's hearings on the tax commission's proposals for overhauling the state's revenue structure. Click here to see the hearing agenda and a list of speakers.

Democratic Rep. Doris Matsui is holding her first in-person town hall forum on health care this weekend. As Rob Hotakainen reported in August, the lawmaker took heat for failing to talk face-to-face with constituents about the hot-button issue.

The forum is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the multipurpose room of Sutter Middle School in Sacramento.

And, just because it's Friday:

San Francisco Weekly has declared today "Comb Your Hair Like Gavin Newsom Day" in honor of the Democratic guv-hopeful's 42nd birthday (which falls tomorrow). Pics of participants' slick 'do's can be uploaded to the mag's Flickr feed.



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