Sunday, September 26, 2010 – 10:00 p.m.

Over the last seven days we have been treated to a series of interesting poll numbers in the races for California Governor and U.S. Senate.

At times, polling results can generate public perception as to who the anointed-one will be. Sometimes they don’t. Never-the-less it’s a powerful suggestion.

Averages of various polls usually provide a better indicator of a particular race. A poll that is slanted to a particular party or candidate can influence such an average.

This week we were treated to such manipulation.

Two polls, one from Public Policy Polling (PPP) out of North Carolina and the other being the Times/USC poll, significantly impacted the numbers in the Meg Whitman-Jerry Brown contest and somewhat skewed the Carly Fiorina-Barbara Boxer showdown.

Today the Times/USC results appeared with much fanfare on the papers front page. The poll had Boxer up a commanding 8 points over Fiorina and Brown a respectable 5 points over Whitman, who just about ten days ago was up a similar margin on Brown.

The Times spent a paragraph explaining how they adjusted their turnout model to better reflect what they believe will happen in the vote by holding republican turnout consistent with statewide registration, and lowering democrat turnout and replacing it with decline-to-state voters.

In California, where decline-to-state tend to lean democrat, Brown picks up a huge margin.

In the PPP poll, the least reliable of the two, released last Tuesday, Brown was up 5 points and Boxer was up 8 points.

Without the two polls factored into averages, Brown and Whitman are even with Brown up 0.2 points, a variance of 1.2 points and the Boxer-Fiorina contest has Boxer up 5 points, a variance of 1.0 points.

Expect both races to remain tight up to election day with Whitman sporting the best chance of building a modest lead in the averages. Any miscues by either Brown or Whitman could cost them dearly.

Fiorina on the other hand has some serious work to do. While further economic pitfalls will impact Boxer.

To get a view of the various polls check out the website at RealClearPolitics.com