With the election less than a week away, Sen. Barbara Boxer has opened an 8-point lead over Republican challenger Carly Fiorina in California’s U.S. Senate race. The latest Field Poll shows 49 percent of likely voters supporting the Democratic incumbent – up two percentage points from last month’s figures – and 41 percent supporting Fiorina, according to a Fresno Bee report
"With each poll, she gathers just a little bit more support, and she's certainly in the most comfortable position now than she's been in the past six months," Mark DiCamillo, the poll's director, told McClatchy Newspapers.
DiCamillo notes that given the Golden State’s Democratic advantage in numbers, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Fiorina needs to attract independent voters. But she does worse in that demographic, with 32 percent support, while Boxer holds steady at 49 percent.
The telephone poll surveyed 1,092 likely voters between Oct. 14 and 26, the day Fiorina was hospitalized overnight for an infection related to breast cancer surgery. She returned to the campaign trail Thursday.
Political experts disagreed on how the health issue would play into the race. Ange-Marie Hancock, associate professor of political science and gender studies at the University of Southern California, told the Associated Press the timing was “potentially harmful” for Fiorina and that “the seriousness of the hospitalization is something undecided voters will take into account.”
But Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, called it a complicating factor for Boxer given the “negative” nature of her campaign: “She doesn’t want to look as if she’s kicking someone when she’s down,” he told McClatchy.
"Given the character of the election, if Boxer is up by only a small margin on election eve, I think Fiorina could win."
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