I always hesitate to analyze the California Senate polling because I have strong feelings about it. I live here. I was engaged in the primary. But this is key to determining how big of a wave, if any, Republicans see in the Senate, so I must try.
I've given enough time for both parties to settle down after the primaries, so here's Rasmussen's latest. Boxer leads Fiorina, but this is close.
It took the longest time before I was even ready to accept that California was going to have a close Senate race this year. I would not be convinced. But now it's just routine to see polls like this one with Barbara Boxer at 48 to Carly Fiorina's 43 (MoE 4.5). For a Republican to have even the 28% chance of a lead that Fiorina has in this poll is something I would never have expected when this race began with Chuck DeVore's announcement in late 2008.
Like we saw in Illinois, California tilts far enough to the left that there is a slim majority in favor of the PPACA, with repeal opposed 50-46. But even so, if that issue, and not one like abortion, dominates the debate this year, Republicans will be on stronger ground than usual. If high unemployment also is key with voters, then Boxer will be more vulnerable still.
Boxer won in 2004 58-38 and in 1998 53-43. While a 5 point deficit would be bad news for a Republican in some states, I think it's great news for Carly Fiorina in California.