Boxer Maintains Lead in California

Boxer Maintains Lead in California

By Erin McPike - September 20, 2010

Despite facing a challenging electoral environment for Democrats, Sen. Barbara Boxer continues to hold a lead over Republican opponent Carly Fiorina, according to the latest poll from Public Policy Polling (D).

PPP surveyed 630 likely voters from September 14 to 16 and found Boxer leading Fiorina 50 percent to 42 percent. The survey sample is comprised of 49 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans and 18 percent independents. In the 2008 election, Democrats made up 42 percent of the California electorate. Republicans comprised 30 percent, and 28 percent of voters were independents.

PPP last surveyed registered California voters in July and found Boxer leading by a similar margin (49 percent to Fiorina's 40 percent). "What has changed is that Boxer now trails among independents, 38-50, after winning them 48-38 last time," PPP writes in its analysis of the poll.

Still, Dean Debnam, PPP's president, pointed out that Boxer has shored up enough of her base to keep her on top in the left-leaning state. While the poll reveals that Boxer has shed independents, Fiorina has not picked enough disaffected Democrats to put her in a position to topple the incumbent.

The poll also shows that Democrats are doing better in California than they are nationally. President Obama's job approval rating is 53 percent in the PPP survey. Forty-two percent of respondents said they disapprove. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they support the health care law, and 42 percent said they oppose it.

This poll comes on the heels of several polls that showed Boxer with slightly smaller leads. A FOX News/Public Opinion Research-Rasmussen poll conducted September 11 showed Boxer leading by two, while a CNN/Time poll taken September 2-7 showed Boxer up by four. Fiorina led by two in a SurveyUSA poll taken August 31-September 1. Boxer leads by 3 percent in the RCP Average.

The PPP (D) poll has a margin of error of 3.9 percent.

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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