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Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina Lose Traction in Final Days Of Campaign

Meredith Vivian |
October 31, 2010 | 11:44 a.m. PDT

Contributor

It's great that Carly Fiorina is running, but she isn't right for California.
It's great that Carly Fiorina is running, but she isn't right for California.

Recent elections nationwide have featured an unusually high number of high-profile women, including those in California. The Golden State’s 2010 election cycle has three women running in the gubernatorial and senate races - successful, high-profile women at that. Barbara Boxer is a powerful member of the Senate, whereas Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina made millions (or billions) running large companies.

In a progressive state like California, it’s not surprising there are several female candidates, and given the economy, anti-incumbent mood, and candidate war chests, it’s not been a surprise that newcomers Whitman and Fiorina have done as well as they have.

But in the last few weeks, positive opinions of the two candidates have decreased, and their favorable ratings in the polls are down.

Nannygate appears to have been the beginning of the end for Whitman. The story received national media attention, Whitman lost much of the ground she had gained with Latinos, it opened the door for people to wonder about her integrity and, perhaps more importantly, her ability to be compassionate. In addition to the nanny scandal, many find her bottomless campaign wallet unappealing, and she never succeeded at connecting with voters in speeches and TV commercials. Her most recent appearance at Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference  in Long Beach earned boos from the audience when she refused to agree to end all negative campaign ads.

Polls this week show Brown leading by 10 points.

Fiorina’s decline in the polls has been less dramatic than Whitman’s, but the five most recent polls show Fiorina anywhere from two to ten points behind Boxer, leaving experts to conclude that Boxer will almost certainly keep her Senate seat. Fiorina is much more personable than Whitman, which resulted in a greater connection with voters in debates and ads and perhaps helped keep the race so close for so long.

Fiorina's defeat on November 2, however, would not be a surprise. Unlike Whitman, Fiorina takes a hard-line, conservative approach to social issues that is out of sync with the majority of Californians. For example, Fiorina does not support abortion under any circumstances, even if the life of the mother is in danger. She also admitted to personally voting for Proposition 8, the controversial ballot measure that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Sarah Palin, the torchbearer for the Tea Party movement, also came out in support of Fiorina, but whereas this might provide an advantage in some regions of the state, it likely scares the you-know-what out of even most moderates.

California is a unique state facing a lot of challenges today and in the future. Our education system ranks near the bottom in high school graduation rates, the state is billions of dollars in debt, the legislature is polarized, there is a ballooning prison population, a continuous water crisis and much more.

Women are extremely capable of tackling California’s problems and moving us in the right direction. That there are two women running against one another for one of California’s senate seats, and another running for governor, is fantastic.

Unfortunately for Whitman and Fiorina, neither is the type of woman that California wants or needs.

California has a history of electing intelligent, thoughtful and strong-willed women with a passion for improving the state.  Californians have elected them to Congress, the state legislature, city councils and school boards. And I hope that one day in the near future, we will elect one as governor of California.

In each case, let’s be sure we are supporting women who truly represent California.

Reach writer Meredith Vivian here.



 

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Comments

Albert (not verified) on November 2, 2010 6:16 PM

You said that California has a history of electing intelligent, thoughtful and strong-willed women with a passion for improving the state. However, in general, California is deteriorating. Both state and legislature need to be refreshed. The coming back of Jerry Brown will bring California back to the start of deterioration.

Your rating: None
Albert (not verified) on November 2, 2010 6:15 PM

You said that California has a history of electing intelligent, thoughtful and strong-willed women with a passion for improving the state. However, in general, California is deteriorating. Both state and legislature need to be refreshed. The coming back of Jerry Brown will bring California back to the start of deterioration.

Your rating: None
Michael (not verified) on November 1, 2010 1:05 PM

Glad CA is coming to their senses. Both Whitman and Fiorina would be a disaster. Too bad we are saddled with the idiots in the middle of the country who keep putting Repubs back in power.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)
c (not verified) on November 1, 2010 4:56 AM

Meg Whitman seems like an Arnold on steroids-- better businessperson, much worse @ personable traits. Her judgment comes into question, too, as she stayed away from the people for so long, that now, with no time left, she seems unable to break thru, as she complained, "the people need to see Me, not just me in the ads.."
Carly Fiorina is an attractive, intelligent, and also successful businessperson, much more personable than Whitman, but she ascribes conditions to California due to Boxer that Boxer has no control over, and if she was elected, would not be able to address. As far as clean energy, green energy, corporate responsibility, these would take a backseat under her watch, and that also is not what we need. Boxer has been a champion for the environment and has moved the Senate (ever so slowly, but that's the Senate's fault) forward along the scientific path we need to be on if we are going to tackle the crud that's coming. Her predecessor was a real nutjob who thinks global warming is a "liberal plot."

Your rating: None Average: 1.8 (5 votes)
Anonymous (not verified) on November 1, 2010 4:23 AM

Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman are exactly what California needs. Anyone who allows the the weak arguments against these innovative women to cloud their judgements should not be allowed to comment and scew the discussion away from the issues and these talented candidates.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)
Anonymous (not verified) on October 31, 2010 9:12 PM

Are you joking. You and the people who have left comments must be sitting in a room in a circle and sending comments to this site. What a joke.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)
Ariana (not verified) on October 31, 2010 7:38 PM

"It's great that Carly Fiorina is running, but she isn't right for California".Glad that Barbara Boxer is. Her state is close to bottom.Californians have only one chance to save their state from bankruptcy on Nov 2, by electing business people (for solving problems) over career politicians (for causing problems.)

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (5 votes)
Ariana (not verified) on October 31, 2010 7:28 PM

"...let’s be sure we are supporting women who truly represent California."... such as Barbara Boxer....California will not get any time soon women smarter than Fiorina & Whitman and TIME will prove that!Hope Californians are smart too and choose Business People over Career Politicians to get out of the MESS!... maybe later prayers will not be enough! They can prove the rest of us how smart they are on Nov 2, it is their ONLY chance! A Texas resident.

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)
Carly (not verified) on October 31, 2010 7:22 PM

Is this a surprise? The majority of Americans do not want Tea Party endorsed candidates. Fiorina's comment that Palin is qualified to be President probably sealed it for Boxer. This makes the case why Americans don't want another Bachmann http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4leO4b1xgMQ

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

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