Tough nuts to crack in California and Washington

Less than a week ago, I predicted that Carly Fiorina, who then trailed Barbara Boxer by about 5 points, would “surge” in the polls. I based this prediction based on intuition, informed by Boxer’s weak approval rating and the fact that Dino Rossi had surged from about 5 points behind in his race to unseat Patty Murray. The two races seemed comparable to me, and I saw no reason why Fiorina couldn’t match Rossi’s spike in the polls.
Since then, Fiorina’s poll performance has improved, though not to the point where you can say she’s surging. A Reuters poll has Fiorina within one point of Boxer, 45-46, while a Rasmussen poll (using a larger sample) has it Fiorina 46, Boxer 49.
Unfortunately, however, recent polling from Washington shows Murray surging ahead of Rossi. I discount an Elway poll (whatever that is) that has Murray up by 15 points. But attention should be paid to a new Survey USA poll that has her up by 3 points, and to a Time/CNN poll that has her up by 8. This is particularly true because in Washington most voting is done by mail, and people are voting right now. Thus, current poll results should reflect actual, not projected, voting.
It’s possible that California and Washington may prove too “blue” to defeat a Democratic incumbent this year. Of all the other states where Republicans are considered to have a good chance for a pick-up – North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada, Illinois, and West Virginia – only Wisconsin (a) has an entrenched Democratic incumbent and (b) might be considered truly blue. And even if Wisconsin is truly blue, it’s not as blue as Washington and California.
Still, I’m hardly giving up on either California or Washington. Both Boxer and Murray have “upside-down” approval ratings, so despite their leads in the polls, I consider both races to be toss-ups
SCOTT adds: MIckey Kaus spots a harbinger of doom for Boxer.

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