LOS ANGELES — Creating an aura of victory was the strategy Monday for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republican challenger Carly Fiorina, as the two sought to energize their campaigns for one last day before voters go to the polls.
With Fiorina trying to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the country, both candidates are treating the race as close. They said the outcome could depend on which side does the best job getting supporters to cast ballots.
"When you look at all the polls, we're doing well. Some we're winning by a little. Some we're winning by a lot," Boxer said outside a diner near Hollywood. "The truth is, the people have to vote. If we have a decent turnout, I'll be back in the Senate fighting for Californians."
Fiorina's campaign was hoping undecided voters would flock to her side Tuesday. She appealed to those upset with the direction of the state and nation, saying Boxer had her chance to fix things, and it was time to put someone else in charge.
"We can't make things right by doing the same things over and over again," Fiorina told the crowd of about 75 supporters at a campaign stop in Elk Grove near Sacramento.
Boxer was teaming up with gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown on Monday, while Fiorina had three scheduled stops around the state.
Boxer joined Brown in speaking to hundreds of potential voters in a courtyard outside the public library in downtown Los Angeles.
"Tomorrow, the future of our state is on the ballot, and if we work our hearts out over the next 32 hours, we will win and Californians will win," Boxer said.
Boxer also said Fiorina's political philosophy doesn't fit California.
"She's for Sarah Palin's values. Sarah Palin endorsed her. I'm for California values, and I've got news: Sarah Palin does not speak for California," Boxer said. "My opponent wants tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. I want tax breaks for hardworking middle-class families and small businesses."
Fiorina has pushed to retain the tax breaks of 2001 and 2003 for all taxpayers regardless of income. She has said that increasing taxes would punish the very people who are needed to revive the economy – small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Fiorina also stopped at the Pasadena Republican Club, where she greeted campaign volunteers. She said she will win Tuesday because Californians were dissatisfied with the status quo.
"When 70-plus percent of the people believe our nation is headed in the wrong direction, you don't vote for someone who has been in Washington, D.C., for 28 years," Fiorina said. "You vote for someone who has created jobs. You vote for someone who has cut spending."
The race also was playing out on the airwaves, where the two sides were hammering each other.
One Boxer ad saturating the Los Angeles market focused on Fiorina's tenure at Hewlett-Packard and portrays her as someone who laid off some 30,000 workers and outsourced many of those jobs overseas while receiving a huge financial windfall herself.
It's a theme Boxer has repeated for months, and one the Fiorina campaign calls hypocritical because the senator had accepted contributions from scores of companies using overseas work forces.
Fiorina and groups such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee were sending a message akin to "throw the bums out."
"If we re-elect Barbara Boxer, nothing will change," says the Republican committee's ad.
At Boxer's first campaign stop of the day near Hollywood, she talked with diners at Patys Restaurant, a spot popular with movie crews.
Bob Neches, an independent voter, said he supports Boxer because he's disturbed by what he views as an overreaction by tea partiers regarding steps taken by President Barack Obama to help the economy.
"I think it takes time," said Neches, a North Hills resident. "This was more than a recession. The country was in a mess and he did what he could to bring it back."
While Boxer has insisted that congressional measures helped avert a depression, Fiorina has pointed to the state's 12.4 percent unemployment rate as proof that the policies Democrats enacted during the past two years have failed.
Associated Press writer Robin Hindery contributed to this report from Elk Grove, Judy Lin contributed from Pasadena, and Juliet Williams contributed from Los Angeles.