Alex's Outlook

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Recall Update

A LA Times poll shows Bustamante trailing a collection of Republicans.

As predicted, the recall is rapidly turning into a Schwarzenegger-Bustamante fight. The poll breakdown is as follows:

Bustamante - 35
Schw. - 22
McClintock - 12
Ueberroth - 7
Simon - 6

Bill Simon, however, just dropped out today. He ran as a conservative in the 2002 governorship race, and his supporters are probably hardline conservatives. That means that their support will go to state Sen. Tom McClintock. McClintock just became a major contender in this race, but the GOP hasn't got a prayer if it runs three candidates.

Schwarzenegger has bolstered his conservative credentials by making a no-new-taxes pledge. He has also promised to keep education spending shored up. His support will probably increase if he endorses Prop. 187, the conservative proposition that denied services to illegal immigrants but which was struck down by the courts.

The Republicans, despite being severely outnumbered, collectively lead Bustamante 47-35. If Larry Flynt, Peter Camejo (Green Party) and Huffington (a liberal independent) drop out, it becomes 47-40, which is still pretty wide considering what a liberal bastion California is.

Schwarzenegger is playing to win. He will probably stay in the race no matter what. McClintock may get 25% of the vote if Ueberroth wins, but he will still lose badly to Bustamante, and he doesn't have much of a chance of winning the general election. Even if McClintock wins, which I don't think is possible, he will be easy to malign as a right-wing freak and, as such, will not be able to ram any solutions through the Democrat legislature. Schwarzenegger is seen as a moderate outsider, and if the Democrats fight him they will pay a price.

What needs to happen, then, is for McClintock to pull Schwarzenegger as far to the right as possible, and then drop out about a week before the election and endorse Schwarzenegger, unless Arnold screws up badly in the campaign and loses enough of his support to McClintock.

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