Friday, September 24, 2010

Meg vs. Carly, Part 2

In July, I wrote about an interesting dynamic occurring in California with two Republican office seekers - Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. Both women are trying to win statewide office, but each has a different approach to immigration and the Arizona law. Whitman has publicly opposed the Arizona law, while Fiorina supports it. In a state where 22 percent of the electorate is Hispanic, it will be interesting to see which approach is successful. Can Whitman's more moderate viewpoint help her with the Latino vote?

The New York Times has carried the dynamic a bit farther, this time in regards to broader political ideology and temperament.
But beyond those surface similarities, the Republican candidates for California governor and United States senator, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, are charging into the general election with very different political personas and campaign strategies.
Ms. Whitman, a billionaire who has poured more than $100 million of her own fortune into her campaign, has defined herself as an on-message spokeswoman for what she calls a three-part plan to fix California. Ms. Fiorina, meanwhile, has emerged as a fiery, combative saleswoman for this year’s brand of anti-incumbent anger.
“They’re trying to ride the same wave, but they’re riding it a little bit different,” said Jack Citrin, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s like Fiorina is on a surfboard, and Whitman is on her yacht.”

Most telling is each candidate's respective understanding of it takes to be victorious.
“What we see in the Whitman campaign is that they’ve decided that the safest way to go is to be absolutely centrist,” Mr. Whalen said, describing her campaign as “a big tank rolling right down the middle of the street.”
Ms. Fiorina’s campaign, he said, seems “much more interested in how the national breezes are blowing, and those breezes are anti-incumbent and antipolitical,” two elements that fan the flames against Ms. Boxer, long a pariah to many conservative voters.

In essence, we have a laboratory in California for future discussion on Republican strategy. Pro-immigrant, moderate Republican or firebrand seeking to ride the national waves to victory?

2 comments:

Aron said...

Paul,

From today's Field poll:

Latinos, another traditionally Democratic-voting constituency who account for 15% of this year’s likely voters, are only slightly favoring Brown (43% to 40%).

Voters in Los Angeles County, another traditionally Democratic stronghold, are currently backing Whitman over Brown by three points, 41% to 38%. In the nine other Southern California counties combined, where about one-third of state’s likely voters reside, Whitman leads Brown 50% to 34%. The 17% of likely voters who live in the Central Valley also favor Whitman 47% to 33%.

Pablo said...

That is cheery news