On the eve of a potentially historic midterm election for the Republican Party, there are wild celebrations in the Bay Area, as the San Francisco Giants have won their first World Series in 56 years. 24 hours from now, it looks like some of the only significant celebrations for Democrats across the country will also be in the Bay, as Jerry Brown is poised to become only the second governor in California history to serve more than 2 terms (he’ll eventually pass Earl Warren as longest-serving ever), and Barbara Boxer will be re-elected to a new Senate with a reduced number of Democratic colleagues.
In the governor’s race, despite spending $163 million of her own fortune to bombard California voters for 18 straight months, Meg Whitman will soon be miraculously silenced. After all of that spending (because of it?), her favorability rating winds up somewhere in the high-30s. Pretty pathetic. Sure, there’s a 13-point registration advantage for Democrats in California, but with all of that money and in a year which could surpass 1994 in terms of a nationwide Republican wave, it doesn’t look like she’ll be anywhere close to Governor Brown when the votes are counted tomorrow. In the final polls (taken in the past week), her deficit is anywhere from 4-11 points, with an average of -7. What went wrong? People can blame this all on the housekeeper scandal, but her numbers started heading south before that news broke. I’d say simply that the answer to that question is comfort. Voters are more comfortable with Jerry Brown and feel like he’d be more effective at leading the largest state in the Union. They look at Meg Whitman and in addition to the housekeeper thing, they think that she’s trying to buy the election, is out of touch with normal people, is inexperienced, doesn’t have a clear plan, hasn’t voted, etc. Even with all of the punditry, most of the time it’s simply about comfort.
The same goes (to a lesser degree) with the Senate race. It can be argued that Barbara Boxer is way too liberal, even for a blue state like California. It’s going to be a big year for Republicans, but one of the most liberal Senators will survive, if only by the lower single-digits. Unfortunately for state Republicans, their die was cast when they sent millionaire Carly Fiorina through in the June primary. Californians can barely tolerate Babs (her favorability ratings are poor as well), but they absolutely can’t tolerate a conservative. Fiorina is anti-choice, anti-environment, and that just won’t work in the Golden State. Barbara Boxer won this race back in June, because while she’s extremely left-of-center, that will still always be more comfortable for Californians than someone extremely right-of-center. Fiorina can compare herself to moderates like Dianne Feinstein all she wants, but voters haven’t been fooled. Fiorina won the primary by referring to her opponent as a RINO, a demon sheep, but that demon sheep (Tom Campbell) was the only one who could have unseated Barbara Boxer. Fiorina trails by 3-8. Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight gives her a 3% chance to win tomorrow. The Junior Senator will remain for 6 more years.
In other statewide races, it looks as if the one and only hope for Republicans is in the contest to succeed Jerry Brown as Attorney General. There, Steve Cooley has averaged the slightest of leads over Democrat Kamala Harris. The final verdict could have to wait on that one until well into Wednesday. I’d be surprised if any other Republican wins a statewide contest tomorrow, but the Lt. Governor race could also be fairly close.
Here in California, we’re of course known for our propositions, and the most publicized has been, of course, Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana possession and cultivation in the state. Leading for much of the way, the ballot measure has slipped in the final polling, and trails from anywhere between 2 and 8 points. It doesn’t look like voters are quite ready to add a green tint to California’s blue state reputation. The other big propositions are 20/27 (redistricting), 23 (to suspend AB32), and 25 (simple majority for budgets). The following are the Bright Coast’s foolproof predictions for the midterms which include these measures:
CA GOV: Brown 51, Whitman 43
CA SEN: Boxer 50, Fiorina 45
CA AG: Harris 46.8, Cooley 46.3
Prop 19: 53-47 NO
Props 20/27: Prop 20 passes and puts congressional redistricting in hands of commission
Prop 23: 58-42 NO
Prop 25: 59-41 YES
US HOUSE: GOP 240, DEMS 195 (61 seats)
US SENATE: DEMS 51, GOP 49