The factor separating California from a Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown-like surprise is the minority vote, and it's a factor that's not a sure thing. Low voter turnout among the state's minority voters could hand the next election to Republican U.S. Senate and gubernatorial challengers, according to the Daily News.

A Daily News look at recent Field Poll data shows, for example, that Tom Campbell would beat Barbara Boxer for her Senate seat 46 to 43 percent if only the white vote was counted. Attorney General Jerry Brown is only one percentage point ahead of Republican challenger Meg Whitman among white voters: Factor in African-Americans and Latinos, and his lead goes up by 10 percentage points.

If Boxer and Brown face low voter turnout, it could be bad news for them — and good news for a return to red-state status in California. “In a low-turnout election, the impact of ethnic minority voters becomes less, and (Republicans) have to hope for a low-turnout election – the lower the better,” Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo told the Daily News.

With the Field Poll describing California as “home to the largest collections of peoples from different racial/ethnic backgrounds than any other place in the Western Hemisphere,” a flip from blue to red seems like a far-fetched scenario. But as Scott Brown's takeover of arguably the nation's bluest senate seat (one that belonged for decades to Ted Kennedy) proved, anything can happen.

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