* Fiorina leads Boxer, 47 percent to 42 percent
* Results show Boxer losing support among independents
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES, Aug 12 Republican Carly Fiorina
has built a five-point lead over incumbent Democrat Barbara
Boxer in their race for the U.S. Senate in November, a poll
released on Thursday shows.
Fiorina, a Republican former Hewlett-Packard CEO making her
first run for political office in a state considered reliably
Democratic, is beating Boxer by a margin of 47 percent to 42
percent, according to the SurveyUSA poll.
Republicans would love to knock off Boxer, a powerful
liberal voice in the Senate, in a year when voter discontent
over joblessness and the economy has left Democrats and
incumbents vulnerable, and the campaign in California is being
closely watched by both parties.
Political analysts believe Fiorina, 55, may pose the
toughest challenge yet for Boxer, 69, who was first elected to
the Senate in 1992 after five terms in the House of
Representatives and has since been unbeatable.
SurveyUSA, which sampled 602 likely California voters
between Aug. 9 and Aug. 11, found Fiorina had increased her
lead by several percentage points in the last month.
The SurveyUSA poll conducted in July showed Fiorina edging
Boxer by a slim margin of 47 percent to 45 percent.
Poll directors said their survey indicated Fiorina's
support was largely unchanged among most voting segments, while
Boxer had lost support among men, younger voters and critical
Fiorina had also gained significant ground among voters in
the Central Valley agricultural hub, a conservative stronghold
in an otherwise blue state.
The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus
4.1 percent, found Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg
Whitman essentially in a dead heat in their race for California
Proposition 19, which would legalize possession of small
amounts of marijuana in California, was passing 50 percent to
40 percent -- unchanged since the July survey.
(Editing by Jerry Norton)