Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

Is Boxer Weakest Where Jobs Are Hardest to Find?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In an early morning email, the campaign of GOP U.S. Sen. nominee Carly Fiorina notes that her opponent, the incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer, got less than 80 percent of the vote -- even while running unopposed -- in several Central Valley counties with some of the highest unemployment rates in California. Fiorina's campaign, which is going to try to blame Boxer for job losses in the state, is seeking to make a connection.

    But correlation is not causation and there's reason to doubt a connection between job losses and Boxer's support. First, drawing any broad statistical conclusions from an uncompetitive, low-turnout Democratic primary -- other than the fact of the low-turnout -- is a bit of a stretch.

    Second, there are plenty of other reasons why Boxer's support may be softer among Democrats in the Central Valley and inland California. The most obvious: Boxer is a liberal and Democrats and independents from inland California tend to be more conservative, for one thing.

    As any member of my mother's side of the family (all inland Californians descended from Okies who came here in the Dust Bowl) can tell you, California -- 50 miles inland -- is Arkansas.