The illegal immigration issue is driving this primary election; the tax and spend concern not so much. How else to interpret the results of the Survey USA poll this week?
Steve Poizner has pounded on the illegal immigration issue relentlessly and has seen his polls numbers close on Meg Whitman.
Meanwhile, Whitman has tried to push the tax and spend issue. While Whitman has battered Poizner on Proposition 13 and corralled the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association endorsement, Poizner has countered with Representative Tom McClintock’s endorsement and a tax cut message of his own confounding many Republican voters.
The tax issue is certainly not dominating the Republican U.S. Senate primary. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, with his solid fiscal conservative record on tax and spend matters, trails the field. Tom Campbell who has been hit hard as the "Tax Man," both by his opponents and Independent Expenditure campaigns, is doing quite well according to the Survey USA poll.
So does the tax issue lack its usual punch? Has the illegal immigration issue, which has been given a national platform by Arizona’s new law, boosted illegal immigration over the tax issue even though many, like Poizner, point out there is a connection between the two issues?
There is more to the current poll results than just the playing out of two issues, of course. Goldman Sachs was an unwelcome story for the Whitman campaign. And the curse of a Wall Street/corporate connection in this period of our history probably has taken a bite out of both Whitman and Carly Fiorina.
Poll numbers and momentum can be reversed in a short time. Recall in January, Scott Brown rushed past his opponent in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race in the final 10 days of the campaign. There are still four weeks to go before the June primary, plenty of time to watch the leads in the governor and senate race trade back and forth like a high-energy basketball contest.
Still, my guess is if the tax and spend issue takes a back seat to the immigration issue in June, tax and spend will have a big presence in the November election.