The General Public Speaks out About the California Recall
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Schwarzenegger Takes the Spot Light Away From the Democratic Presidential Candidates
Report by Ann Stewart
August 19,2003

A new twist has taken place in the media. All the attention has been shifted in the political world from the race for the Whitehouse to the California Recall. The media's main focus has been on Arnold Schwarzenegger. Last week Howard Dean was on the front cover of Time and Newsweek Magazines. This week it's all Arnold's show. Read a few comments given by the people at the 2004 Election debate on this subject.

Not long ago I predicted Schwarzenegger would win the recall election. I am hedging on that now. I think its about a 50% chance Arnold wins, maybe about a 30% chance Cruz Bustamante wins and a 20% chance that Gray Davis actually doesn't get recalled. There are three possible scenarios that could play out, but Arnold is vulnerable if the Democrats turn out and vote in large numbers (many will vote no on recall, then vote Bustamante as backup---35%-40% would probably win for Bustamante, though 50% would be needed for Davis not to be recalled). Arnold is also vulnerable to losing votes to Republicans who shift to a more conservative candidate (Simon, McClintock, Issa). Arnold has an advantage if lots of independents, Republicans and young voters turn out but Democrats stay home. However Gray Davis' last speech about Republicans "stealing elctions they can't win" could mobilize the Democratic base in California, which is very large. Democrats aren't numerous enough to save Davis (he will need some independents to get to 50%) but they are enough to swing the recall from Arnold to Bustamante (If Bustamante hits around 38% that would probably be sufficient). It should be very interesting, to say the least.
Comment by Keith Brekhus

I would be a better GOV than Arnold, and I don't know ditto-lee about politics. Arnold needs to stick to acting.
Comment by Lee P.

just as California is having the recall race to oust gray Davis, we are having our gubernatorial race here in Louisiana. i have just seen a few of the ads that were run by a republican and a democrat. just because we are talking about the happenings in the nation and around the world, lets not forget about our local politicians.
Comment by Sindhu Kumar

I think the press is important. I think they have the power to sway or change public opinions. I do watch the news. I watch CNN every chance I get, and sometimes what they report on gives me an opinion. I think Dean and Kerry need all the good media coverage they can get, because there are still a lot of people out there who don’t know who they are. You take that guy Ali that lives in Buffalo, who posted on the debate once. He has no idea who Dean and Kerry are, but he knew about Arnold running for Governor. That’s the kind of people I wish we could reach. He’s able to vote and still undecided on who to vote for like you and Lee are. Even Will Parker at work said the same thing to me. A lot of people don’t know the Democratic Candidates yet. I believe that there are still a lot of people out there that need to be reached and the media is the best chance the candidates have at doing that and like Jimmy said I think Arnold is stealing their press.
Comment by Ann Stewart

Ann you are right about the California thing. That stole the spotlight from everything going on in the world, not just the Presidential Election. I just heard about all the bombing in overseas.That don't seem to be as talked about as California election right now.
Comment by Jimmy

I just saw CNN's Inside politics with John King right now. They showed Arnold Schwarzenegger's new commercial where Arnold stated he wanted to be the People's Governor. The Pressman that analyzed Arnold's commercial stated that Arnold is going to have to be much more specific than that. I think the press is dogg'in down on Arnold a little bit, but yet still giving him all the attention. Arnold is going to have to work harder at proving he can tackle the issues that California faces more than any other candidate in the recall race, just because he is superstar Arnold. I still think the recall is hurting the democratic Candidates for President like Kerry and Dean. The entire Media circus is focus on what Arnold is doing. They are not publicizing where Kerry and Dean are standing on the issues and what their plans are if they get to be elected President. I think that is important for them to have a chance against a popular President like Bush and people aren't going to vote for Kerry and Dean if they don't know who they are and what they plan on doing if they get elected. Having Media support is very important in my opinion. It has the power to sway public opinion and get votes. I wish the press would focus more on the democratic Candidates instead of the Terminator for Governor.
Comment by Ann Stewart

Why should Arnold Schwarzenegger committ to any issues one way or the other? He's running off of popularity, which seems to be the most important attribute for the American people. His campaign strategy is obvious. He's going to reveal as little as possible and only tread in safe waters. He's not going to even attempt to win on the issues. I don't know if there will even be a debate. In fact, this recall election may have given him the best venue to run such a campaign.
Comment by Michael Bohannon

I wouldn't vote for Schwarzenegger myself if I was in CA, since I think he is evasive on lot of issues and I am not sure what his qualifications to govern are. He is running as a celebrity, a novelty candidate, more than anything. He is a bright enough guy and he has been active enough in politics so I doubt he is totally ignorant of the challenges he will face if elected. My guess is Bustamante would be a better Governor however. Whoever wins will have a big mess dealing with the California budget...its amazing so many people are eager to take on what will likely be a very thankless job. I suppose Gray Davis has set a pretty low bar though. Schwarzeneggar could be a lousy Governor and still be an improvement, at least in terms of public opinion. Davis 22% approval rating is about as low as it gets.
Comment by Keith Brekhus

The press has stated before Arnold avoids issues. Arnold as gov. would be kind of scary for me to vote for if I lived in Cal. Do you really think he would make a good governor? Did any of you ever think Jesse Ventura was a good politician? I really don't know what kind of a gov. Arnold would be, but I don't think I would vote for him until he got strong on the issues I believe in. I hear all kinds of jokes coming for his campaign like The Govenator T-shirts and campaign slogans like "vote for me if you want to live" or "asta la veista Davis" and I think people are eating that stuff up. It's just sad to see he will probably win this election on being the most famous and not really the most qualified or the best person for the job and to help the people of California or to work on the issues that California has right now, like the debt California is in right now. You know you ran for Congress Keith. Even if you aren't famous I would vote for you first, cause at least I believe you know something about politics. I'm not sure Arnold does though. Does he really know anything about the job he is trying to get? I think he has a great chance of becoming gov. , but I have family in Cal. So for their sake I hope if he wins he does a decent job for them. My family that lives in Cal. says gas prices are ridicules. It is so expensive to live out there and make a decent living. I wonder if Arnold knows how to help the high cost of living out there? For some reason I really don't think he does. I guess I really don't think he has earned my faith in him as a politician yet. I agree with Michael Bohannon that California seems to be Nuts. I heard a lot of people say Jesse Ventura was the worst politician they ever saw. Maybe that's why he got out. I hope Arnold does better than him if he gets elected.
Comment by Ann Stewart

Updated poll on California Governor's race. Take a look at the numbers and keep an eye on Cruz Bustamante's numbers. While Arnold Schwarzeneggar still leads in every poll but this one as far as I know, His support may be plateauing as voters learn more about him. With several other prominent Republicans in the race (Simon, Issa,and McLintock), as Arnold loses support from the right-wing of his party and they split the Republican vote, Bustamante becomes the beneficiary as the lone prominent Democrat in the race in a heavily Democratic state. I'm still guessing Schwarzeneggar wins in a squeaker (because I'm guessing high turnout among independents and Republicans, and low turnout among Democrats), but Bustamante certainly has a good shot as well, and I wouldn't rule out Gray Davis barely surviving the recall effort. There are 135 names on the ballot, but if Davis is recalled either Schwarzeneggar or Bustamante will suceed him in all likelihood.
Comment by Keith Brekhus

The Democrats will almost certainly carry California in 2004 in the presidential race. In fact, the White House has been lukewarm about the CA recall, simply because they like having Gray Davis (whose approval is hovering around 20%) in office as a Democratic archetype. He gets the boot, they lose a good villain. Arnie winning is double-edged because his liberal positions on gay rights and abortion are at odds with the Republican party's core supporters and if the right-wingers like Mclintock, Issa and Simon start inter-party fighting with Arnie it helps the Democrats. In addition, with 135 candidates on the recall ballot, voters may choose the "devil they know" over the 135 devil-lottery they don't know and kill the recall. Or they may choose Cruz Bustamante (the Democratic Lt. Governor) over Arnold. Personally, I think Davis gets recalled and Arnold becomes the new Governor. I also think Bush will probably be reelected, but I think it is a pipe dream for Republicans to think that Bush carries California. California will go for the Democrat in 2004...I'd bet money on it.
Comment by Keith Brekhus

What do you think will happen if a republican like say Arnold S. wins California? Do you think that will affect the chance of the democratic side losing Cal. in the main election race? California is the most electorial votes of any state.
Comment by Ann Stewart

I am not too worried about the California Governor's race taking too much attention from the presidential race. It will, but the recall will be said and done one way or the other before the first presidential primaries. With any luck the California situation will awaken people to politics in general, and when it is over with, more people might turn their focus to the presidential race rather than being apathetic.
Comment by Keith Brekhus

I am not really sure what is going on politically these days since I am very tied up with my own things. Altho, I have heard of the hoopla going on in Cali. If I lived in choice would be Arnold. Quite simply...he is a take charge kind of person. Since he is also an immigrant...I think he'll better understand the needs of immigrant communities and provide equal treatment of all ppl.
Comment by Ali

California has gone nuts!!! Gary Coleman vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger. I sure hope we get to see that debate. "What'cha talking about Arnold?" Is it really fair to have a recall of this nature with only a simple majority needed? Besides, if the people of California elected him in the first place then they should suffer the consequences. It would serve as a valuable lesson for Californians. I bet a lot of the people who voted for the recall are the same people who didn't make it to the original vote- the one that should matter. I'm tired of hearing apathetic people complain about the government and elected officials. P.S. Does Gary Coleman advocate legalizing marijuana for medicinal uses?
Comment by Michael Bohannon

It's probably true that the media in California would be talking more about Dean if not for the recall, but I'm sure the other candidates are suffering equally from lack of media coverage there. This might even be a good thing for Dean, because it gives lets him get out HIS message before the media has a chance to misrepresent him as being too liberal or not being electable. I know that a lot of the meetups in California on Wednesday were very well attended, and that Dean has a great base of supporters there - I've seen some of them on the blog talk about their plans to flyer and spread the word about him at events related to the recall, where there will be a lot of politically active people. That said, if Schwarzenegger or another Republican is actually elected governor, it raises concerns about the handling of the general election. California has a huge number of electoral votes, and coupled with its new voting technology, which some people think is vulnerable to fraud, it is absolutely essential that the election be handled fairly. The governor is very influential on how such proceedings are handled, as we saw in Florida in 2000. I am reluctant to suggest than any California Republicans would stoop to that level, but it's something to keep in mind. A Democrat would also be able to help the nominee's campaign. I don't think this is an issue just for Dean, I think it is relevant to al lthe Democratic campaigns.
Comment by Alison Brown