The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

October 27, 2010
Will California be 'ultimate firewall' for Dems in U.S. Senate?

Another day, another poll showing Jerry Brown in good shape in the governor's race, Barbara Boxer hanging on in the U.S. Senate contest and the marijuana legalization ballot measure headed to defeat next week.

This survey comes courtesy of Time magazine and CNN, which queried likely voters in California and four other battleground states.

CNN, which released the results this afternoon, says that California may turn out to be Democrats' "ultimate firewall" to keep control of the Senate.

Unlike Colorado, Kentucky, Nevada and Ohio, where strong support among independents has the Republican candidates in the lead, Boxer holds a 50 percent to 45 percent edge over Republican challenger Carly Fiorina.

Fiorina has closed Boxer's lead by 4 percentage points since CNN's poll last month. She leads among independents 49 percent to 41 percent, but will need to do better than that to beat Boxer. The Republicans in the other states have at least a 13-percentage-point lead among independents, and Rand Paul in Kentucky boasts a 37-point cushion.  

Fiorina is ahead in the Central Valley and most of Southern California, but that is offset by Boxer's edge in the Bay area and Los Angeles County.

Meanwhile, Brown leads Republican nominee Meg Whitman by 51 percent to 44 percent, down 2 percentage points from last month. It's the same geographic division as in the Senate race, with Whitman's strength in the Valley and Southern California and Brown leading in the Bay and Los Angeles.

Californians also appear likely to reject Proposition 19, the ballot initiative that would allow legalize recreational marijuana use and allow adults to grow a small amount, but leave it to local governments to tax and regulate pot. In the poll, 53 percent of respondents oppose the measure, while 45 percent support it.

The CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll, conducted Oct. 20-26 among about 1,500 likely voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Its findings are generally in line with a survey out last week from the Public Policy Institute of California and one this week from the Los Angeles Times and USC.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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