Barbara Boxer,  Carly Fiorina

CA-Sen: Is Barbara Boxer Surging in the Polls?

Unlikely, when you look at the sampling methods of the recent polls in a very large state as is California.

If you follow California Senate polling closely, you have to be feeling a little bit nauseated from the roller coaster ride you’ve been on.  Some polls are showing Senator Barbara Boxer with a comfortable 9-point lead and above 50 percent, while others are showing a much closer race.  One Republican pollster even shows Fiorina ahead.

What is going on here?  The answer is something I’ve discussed before:  Pollsters are having a devil of a time agreeing on what the electorate is going to look like

This chart above has changed a bit with the latest Survey USA poll having been released overnight. It is here. Their current breakdown is D:42%, R:34%, I:21%.

As you can see, the ratio of Democrats to Republican in the sample goes hand-in-glove with the size of Boxer’s edge.  More Democrats equals more Boxer votes.  In fact, the adjusted r-square is pretty nice — about .74.  These polls’ internals actually don’t disagree that much — most of them have both candidates losing about 10 percent of their respective bases, while Fiorina has a double-digit edge among independents.

So who is right?  Well, that’s the frustrating thing — we can’t definitively say.  But we can get some sense of history here.  The following table shows the exit poll results for 2008, 2006 and 2004, as well as the present early voting numbers:

As you can see, the pollsters showing a comfortable Boxer lead are showing electorates that are similar to 2008.  On the other hand, the pollsters who are showing a tight race see an electorate more like 2004 or 2006.

So, what does the race and polling come down to with less than a week to go?

As, I have said before, it comes down to turn out – who actually shows up to vote on election day. If the Republicans are motivated and all come out to vote for Carly Fiorina, Fiorina wins the independent minded voter who shows up and/or the Democratic base of ethnic voters and Labor fail to show, even a little – Fiorina wins.

If the Democrats all show up to vote, Boxer wins. After all, it is a numbers game and the Democrats far and away out number the Republicans.

The GOTV (Get Out the Vote) ground operations of the California GOP may very well decide this race.