UPDATE: I was beat to it. Please head over to nirbama's diary for a good discussion.
You'd think that after dumping over $140 million of her own money into the race for Governor of California, that Meg Whitman would have something more to show for it than these results from today's LA Times poll:
Brown, the Democratic attorney general and former governor, led Whitman 52% to 39% among likely voters, the poll found.
That's brutal. Brown has now claimed a 13 point lead in this race and has spent about an eighth of what Whitman has spent. And it seems like as time goes on, (and Meg spends more money), the results for her are getting even worse. Based on this type of behavior, we'd expect Meg to get the message that Californians are probably burned out on her blitz of the airwaves.
In fact, if this dynamic continues to hold, her best strategy is to hide in a hole and pull all her ads off the air, just in order to preserve what little support that she has left.
And there is even more good news for Democrats in California.
The abrupt movement in the race for governor came as Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer held onto her 8-point margin over Republican Carly Fiorina in the U.S. Senate contest. Boxer's 50% to 42% lead was statistically unchanged from September's 51% to 43% edge.
For both Democrats, the month between the two polls found the party's strongest supporters rallying to the candidates' sides: liberals, women and Latinos either solidified or expanded their backing for Brown and Boxer. Nonpartisan voters, whom Republicans had counted on to overcome the Democratic advantage in voter registration, moved away from the two Republican candidates, and moderate voters also tilted toward the Democrats.
We've known for a while that California Democrats were not suffering from the same purported 'enthusiasm gap' as in other parts of the country. The question has always been, was California an outlier or a leading indicator for the rest of the country.
Most of the nation has seen pronounced enthusiasm by Republican voters as the midterm elections approach. In California, however, Democrats have gained strength and GOP motivation has ebbed slightly in the last month, the poll showed. The current standings represent a reassertion of a more typical profile for the state after an election year convulsed by a foundering economy, widespread discontent about the future and record-breaking spending by Whitman, who has dropped more than $141 million of her own money into her campaign.
Based on what we've seen from early voting data, I don't think they're an outlier.
Nine days out from an election, California is making a bold statement to the rest of the nation. Let's hope we're all listening.