Reading the Tea Leaves

From the Los Angeles Times:

DeVore, Fiorina actively court ‘tea party’ vote

Chuck DeVore says he’s created a ‘huge reservoir’ of volunteers, but he’s stuck at 16% in polls. Carly Fiorina, who’s rising in polls, says she does not intend to cede conservative activists.


In a year when the imprimatur of the tea party swept Scott Brown to a Senate victory in Massachusetts and helped Rand Paul knock off the establishment Senate candidate in Kentucky — both DeVore and Fiorina are actively courting tea party support.

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DeVore, an assemblyman from Irvine, has spoken to more than 60 tea party groups since April 2009 — creating what he calls a “huge reservoir” of volunteers. His screeds against federal spending and his emphasis on steering leaders back to constitutional principles have aligned seamlessly with many tea partyers’ concerns.

The energy for his campaign is apparent, particularly at tea party meetings in Southern California. But with his numbers stuck at 16% in a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll, there is little evidence of the kind of groundswell that made the difference for Brown and Paul.

Fiorina, on the other hand, is rising in the polls and making it clear, with two tea party appearances last week, that she does not intend to cede those voters to a candidate whom she has derided as “dog-paddling” in the polls.

Her speeches and ads have emphasized her outsider credentials and her endorsement by tea party hero Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor. Even the slogan in her television ads – “Had enough?” – seems to zero in on the disaffected voters who have flocked to tea party meetings.

And that was just the pitch that the former Hewlett-Packard chief made in El Dorado Hills, east of Sacramento, telling more than 500 tea partyers that the government is “out of touch,” “distant,” “arrogant” and “elite.”


Although DeVore has long been cast as the tea party favorite, Fiorina is making the case that she must have corralled many of those voters to be ahead by double digits.

“You can’t be 20 points up in the polls unless you’ve got a lot of tea party folks behind you,” she said after an appearance Saturday at the Central Valley Tea Party meeting in Clovis.

DeVore, however, insists that the intensity of his support is not being properly measured in this three-way race and that the tea partyers could be “the huge ‘X’ factor” in the June 8 primary.

“I look at what happened in Kentucky, where Rand Paul ran eight points ahead of the poll average on the day that he won,” he said. “And I think you’re going to see some similar surprises here in California.”

But his campaign acknowledges that it is difficult to gauge the political weight of these loosely organized groups, particularly when their attention is splintered among many different races.

The Sacramento-based Tea Party Express political action committee, for example, endorsed DeVore and donated $5,000 to his campaign. But many of the group’s recent e-mails have solicited contributions for Sharron Angle, who is competing in the Republican primary for Democratic Sen. Harry Reid’s seat in Nevada.

Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams said DeVore’s race is important, but he acknowledged that the Reid race is the “No. 1 priority right now.”

From Mercury News:

A new poll that has shaken up the GOP race for U.S. Senate is triggering some soul-searching in the California Republican Party. The question: Should Republicans in the June 8 primary vote their hearts or their minds?

Or, put another way: Should they elect the candidate they feel most passionate about — or the person who can kick the Democrat they cannot stand out of office come November?

The poll by the Los Angeles Times and University of Southern California clearly shows that Sen. Barbara Boxer is unpopular with voters, but in a theoretical matchup; only one of the three GOP primary candidates can beat her: former Silicon Valley congressman Tom Campbell.

But the poll also indicates that Campbell might not have the chance to face Boxer: Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has a huge lead in the three-way primary contest to decide which Republican will run against Boxer in the fall.


Fiorina’s poll surge comes shortly after she launched a statewide TV ad campaign. The Los Angeles Times/USC poll, released late Saturday, shows Fiorina beating Campbell handily — 38 percent to 23 percent. Conservative Southern California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore trails with 16 percent. Until recently, Campbell had been running either ahead or dead-even with Fiorina in other statewide polls.


Dan Schnur, a former Republican strategist who now directs USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, said the passion of the right is on display throughout the country.

Charlie Crist, the moderate Republican governor of Florida, recently was forced to drop out of the Republican Party in his race for U.S. Senate and run as an independent. He cleared the way for Marco Rubio, a tea party favorite.

In Kentucky’s GOP primary, Rand Paul, a libertarian and tea party hero, whomped Trey Grayson, considered the establishment GOP candidate for the U.S Senate.

“The party bases seem to have reasserted themselves,” Schnur said.

But “bases” do not swing general elections in California. Moderates do.

Thirty-nine percent of the 1,506 California registered voters surveyed in the L.A. Times/USC poll identified themselves as moderates. Twenty-four percent called themselves liberals, and 31 percent said they are conservatives.

Among the moderates, Campbell, a fiscal conservative who supports abortion rights and gay marriage, beats Boxer 46 percent to 33 percent. However, Boxer beats Fiorina among moderates, 48 percent to 30 percent.

“Nobody will be happier than Barbara Boxer if Fiorina wins this race,” Gerston said. “Then Boxer can own the middle.”

Boxer is hardly a shoo-in. Only 34 percent of those surveyed picked Boxer over “someone else.” But when real names were inserted into the equation, that view seemed to be tossed out the window.


In recent weeks, Fiorina has touted endorsements from Sarah Palin, the National Rifle Association and anti-abortion groups, while coming out in favor of oil drilling off the California coast.

Fiorina rejects the notion that she cannot beat Boxer. In a statement Sunday, Fiorina framed a potential matchup between her and Boxer as a choice between “extreme partisanship” and “massive government expansion.”

Fiorina also has received a boost from outside groups that have spent more than $2 million attacking Campbell, whose moderate social views and willingness at times to make exceptions to his low-tax philosophy have raised the anger of conservative activists. That has freed Fiorina to run mostly positive ads touting her business career and conservative stands on issues.

Fiorina so far has not had aspects of her own background — including her controversial reign at HP and her failure to vote throughout much of her adult life — challenged in ads by her opponents or independent groups.


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21 responses to “Reading the Tea Leaves

  1. MNLatteLiberal

    I love the first sentence so much, I can’t seem to get past it: “… has spoken to more than 60 tea party groups since April 2009 — creating what he calls a “huge reservoir” of volunteers”. Trying to organize tea baggers into something coherent is like herding cats. But is DeVore actually trying to go beyond that, and is counting on these nattering nabobs of negativity to a) stand FOR something, and b) volunteer for him?

    His campaign is counting on these chronic complainers to evangelize something positive to the masses? Door to door? No wonder he is stuck in the middle teens.

    I am so very grateful for the tea baggers. In addition to the sick pleasure of watching them implode the GOP from within, in addition to the spectacle, how can you not love the results?

    ~ Latte

    • i did a double-take, too, latte. 60 teabaggers groups? i wonder how many had 4 or 5 people in them. in a state as big as california, they probably comprise a very small percentage of the population. notice that a lot of money is coming from out of state, and the candidates are having to use their personal fortunes. i want to know who all these californians are who want offshore drilling off their beaches. seriously? they’re really that stupid?

  2. writechic

    If I was a teabagger, I’d vote for Chuck’s red pants. I don’t care what Bible Spice says. And Fiorina only recently took an interest in voting so she could vote for herself…the whore.

    • maybe when chuck loses, he can run in the independent red pants party. i think he should hike ’em up a few more inches. then, if he doesn’t win, at least he can get a job as night manager at denny’s.

  3. Ha ha ha The Lipton tea guy!!!!
    Fun to see him in the line up.

    I’d vote for him over Carly (demon sheep) Fiorina.

    • 😆 you like my little joke? i was going to put nekkid scotty brown there, but i’m sick of seeing his face.

      p.s. i don’t think anyone found my little joke yesterday. at least, nobody mentioned it. 😉

  4. Well….. if you have to explain it…….

  5. Joanaroo

    Oh geez. Had to laugh at Schnur’s remark “passion of the right is on display throughout the country”. Really? Is that what all the screaming epithets, misspelled signs, racist speeches, tea bags hanging from hats and ‘we want our country back’ ad nauseum was? Passion? Oh lord. Isn’t Deepwater Horizon enough for one year? It’s gonna be a long summer.

    • i saw a commercial for a show that tweety is going to do about the new right trying to take over. seriously? some asswipes with signs (half of whom are paid by dick armey and his minions) are going to take over? the only reason they have any pull at all is that every time more than 3 of them are together, there’s a tv camera recording them and someone jackass tv anchor oohing and aahing over every word they speak.

  6. That MSNBC ‘bagger special should be a good one. A movement with no leader and no particular issue. How could that go wrong? Just a bunch of middle-to-old frustrated, pissed off folks that think the Wally & Beav world got away from them. Even in the golden era we only watched the Nelson family because Ricky was going to do a song. So many of these people have never enjoyed life and now they are old and wondering “what happened?” To late bozos, you had your chance and you blew it. No do-overs. If Carly keeps up the demon sheep angle in her campaign, I would advise Chuck to get a HypnoToad. That’d fix her ass.

    • i wonder who the guests are going to be. teabaggers? i doubt it, because it’s not compelling tv to listen to some dumbass who bitches about people who can’t speak english while s/he’s butchering the language. instead, we’ll get a lot of talking heads telling us how important this small percentage of the population really is. 🙄

  7. A movement w Sarah Palin as their leader!
    Movements like that require toilet paper!

    Plus one of Sarah’s key points she makes in her $75-$100,000 speeches is that she is a “victim of the media”.

    A movement with a leader who refuses to answer questions. A one way communication, based on her freedom to say whatever she wants, leading the battle cry of Drill Baby Drill.

    Kind of more like the Lemmings party?

  8. “In a statement Sunday, Fiorina framed a potential matchup between her and Boxer as a choice between “extreme partisanship” and “massive government expansion.””

    Put that way, I’ll take Boxer’s government expansion over Fiorina’s extreme partisanship.

    • i’d take rocky, my sister’s boxer, over carly fiorina. i hope she wins the primary, because i’d love to see her record at hp being dissected.

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