| As Robert just mentioned, the latest Field Poll (PDF) is showing a dead heat between Whitman and Brown. (Though a Reuters poll yesterday showed Brown up by 6, 45-39.)
In terms of favorability, well, these folks seem less popular when the whole affair started. Brown is at +2 (42-40) and Whitman at
2 (4042). The big difference is in how the two got there. Since Brown has been in (and sometimes not so in) the campaign, his favorable numbers have hovered around the lower forties, with his unfavorable gradually growing from 25 in March 2009 to 40 today. A slow but steady rise that is the indicator of a Republican electorate now viewing him as the enemy. No real shock there. The bigger movement has been in Whitman's numbers. While she was a relative unknown in March 09, the big change came from March of this year to now. Back then she was at +13 (40-27), so a net 15 point swing in that unfavorable number. Thank the IEs and Steve Poizner for that one, I suppose.
In terms of the demographic numbers to the right, the one that gives me the most optimism and the most pessimism is the 18-39 year old numbers. This is a lean-Democratic voting bloc, generally very socially progressive, but Whitman has a statistically small lead.
There are a slew of reasons for this. Of course, Brown is new to us in that age bracket. We don't remember his last terms in office and he has been hoarding his resources in an attempt to go all out in the fall. That has meant that Whitman has been dominating the airwaves, even with the IEs throwing out some anti-Meg commercials. This is a demographic that knows eBay and knows Whitman, at least with some notion of her public persona.
Brown clearly needs to do better here. That's done partially through social media, which has been mentioned around these parts, but also through on the ground organizing that the Obama campaign specialized in. As of now, there hasn't been an effort to do a real field campaign from either candidate, but expect that to change fairly soon.
But as CalBuzz points out, there is grounds for optimism for Dems here. Take the numbers on independents. Whitman needs to at least tie if not win there. She's heading in the wrong way right now:
Whitman has not done as well as might have been expected with independents. She leads Brown marginally now, 42-39% among non-partisans compared to 50-36% in March. That's a 3-point lead, down from 14 points. Both candidates are holding their party bases, although Whitman is doing better among Republicans (80-9%) than Brown is doing among Democrats (74-16%).
It's going to be an interesting four months as we head into Nov. 2.