Thursday, July 11, 2002
The latest poll is not good news for Gray Davis
I've been very skeptical in the past about Simon's prospects, about the competence of his campaign advisors, and about Simon's failure to aggressively define himself after his upset primary victory. And I keep pointing out that Gray Davis should not be underestimated -- campaigning and raising money for campaigning is his life. But his manifestly-obvious incompetence and corruption as governor may ultimately trump everything else.
As someone who has lived in California for over 30 years, it's been my personal observation that the Field Poll has a heavy liberal slant (both ideologically and methodologically), and that it is routinely off by 5 to 10 points in that direction as compared to actual election results. When the previous Field Poll showed Davis with a 14 point lead, I had to conclude that Davis was really ahead (albeit by a much slimmer margin). This latest Field Poll tells me that Davis and Simon are in a dead heat, or possibly that Simon has an extremely narrow lead. More importantly, this Field Poll shows a definite, substantial shift in Simon's favor, which has to be extremely bad news for Davis. If Davis' campaign strategy was working, he'd have successfully demonized Simon by now, and Simon would be fading away as a viable challenger. Instead Simon is gaining credibility, and the media is focussing on Davis' problems.
The proof of the pudding will be when the Davis camp starts to actively attack Green candidate Peter Camejo for his "devisiveness", and begins comparing the situation to the 2000 election in which Nader cost Gore the Presidency. That will be the tip-off that Davis' internal polls and focus groups show him headed to likely defeat. The thing is, none of the Democrats in California are truly going to care! A lot of them did care about Gore, and hated Bush, and were extremely upset that Nader split the liberal vote. But the most that Democrat voters will do this year is to hold their noses while they vote for Davis, because they don't want a Republican in office.
Those liberals who can't stand the stench even with nose plugs will vote for Camejo or not vote at all. And if that costs Davis the Governorship? Oh well.