Alex's Outlook

Saturday, August 09, 2003

As of today, the California recall contenders' support is: (via Drudge)

Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) - 25%
Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) - 15%
State Sen. Tom McClintock (R) - 9%
Bill Simon (R) - 7%
Porn king Larry Flynt (D) - 4%
Arianna Huffington (D) - 4%
Peter Ueberroth (R) - 4%

Had Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) entered the race, she would be leading with 22% (Schwarzenegger would have had 20%). Democrat Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi has dropped out of the race under intense Democratic pressure.

Conservatives like George Neumayr will no doubt be quick to point out that if conservative Republicans rally around one of the three conservative candidates (McClintock, Simon or Ueberroth), they will get 20% of the vote, which is higher than Bustamante's total. So, he will argue, why settle for a moderate like Arnie when we can get a bona-fide conservative like McClintock?

I suspect that Schwarzenegger is drawing a lot of center-left votes. Besides, if an avowed conservative manages to win, the Democrats (who own the Legislature) can justifiably dig in and fight the inevitable budget cuts ithout much risk to their popularity. Arnold is an outsider, which gives him a lot more legislative leverage, which is exactly what the California GOP needs right now.

I wouldn't be surprised if all this is for naught, though. Gray Davis knows that he is roadkill at this point. He could just resign and get some plum Democratic patronage job, handing over control to Bustamante and voiding the entire recall. (Or is the recall impossible to stop now that the deadline has passed?)

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