Arnold Gets Momentum

Two prominent Republicans are going to endorse Arnold Schwarzenegger for government. Both Bill Simon and Darrell Issa are expected to endorse Arnold next week. At the same time another Stanford study finds Schwarzenegger winning against Bustamante by a comfortable margin and support for the recall high.

Some are saying that McClintock will act as a spoiler that will draw the conservative vote from Arnold. However, like many third-party candidates, support for outsider candidates tends to wane as supporters realize that their candidate cannot win. Many conservatives may bow to pragmatism and switch their support to Arnold as the momentum behind McClintock continues to dissapate.

However, where Arnold wins is with the undecided voters. In such a compressed timeframe, voters don’t have a lot of chances to make up their minds on candidates. That gives a natural advantage to the candidate with the highest name recognition – and Arnold has the highest name recognition of any of the candidates.

It is this "Jesse factor" that will take Schwarzenegger over the top on October 7th. Peering into my crystal ball, I’m ready to make some predictions.

The recall will pass by a margin of 55%-60%. Davis is toast, even the Democrats can’t stand him.

Schwarzenegger will narrowly beat Bustamante. I doubt Arnold will pull more than 45%, and I’m thinking that he’ll end up in the low 40% to high 30% range. He’ll get a good boost from last-minute undecided voters and defectors from McClintock – just enough to put him over the edge.

Bustamante will get somewhere around the high 30% range, just a few percentage points shy of Arnold. He’ll get a boost from Hispanics, but it won’t be enough to catch up to the Terminator.

McClintock is more of an X factor. I predict his support won’t be much over 10% and likely less than that. McClintock has a conservative base, but it’s not anywhere near as large as some polls have indicated. I’d be shocked to see McClintock top 15%, and if he does Arnold may be in trouble. However, I’m predicting that this election will treat McClintock like a third-party candidate and there will be significant defections from McClintock to Schwarzenegger in the next two weeks.

The other 133. Arianna was so grating at the debate that she won’t top 2 or 3%. Camejo might take some loony liberal votes from Bustamante, but he’s also a non factor.

The other candidates won’t have much of an effect – they’ll pull no more than 1-2% from the major candidates.

One prediction I will stand by no matter what – the next two weeks are going to be very interesting for California voters and the nation at large.

7 thoughts on “Arnold Gets Momentum

  1. This race is far too unpredictable for me to stick my neck out with predictions. I didn’t see Schwarzenegger’s singular debate performance last night, but read some reports earlier today that weren’t too revealing. Even if Schwarzenegger was positively glowing last night, his disappearing act from more conventional debate formats before and after do not make him look fit for the job. Such a cowardly move by the muscle-bound would-be savior of California makes it hard to justify voting for him.

    That’s the difference between the “Jesse factor” and the “Arnold factor.” Jesse went to as many debates as possible and did well in them. Even though he was more style than substance, it hit a nerve among voters that I don’t think will be seen with Schwarzenegger. Newspaper endorsements usually don’t win or lose elections, but in this case they may. I can see the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle (?) writing scathing anti-Arnold editorials pointing out in no uncertain terms what a one-dimensional novelty act he is….and the “swing voters” taking that to heart when they enter the polls.

    If McClintock drops out of the race, and I’m thinking he’ll be effectively bullied out of it in the next few days, Schwarzenegger’s chances go up….but perhaps not enough. Conservatives do not like Arnold for a number of reasons, and if their man McClintock is pistol-whipped into submission and walks out of the race with his tail between his legs, that will give them all the less incentive to go to the polls.

    Given the less than attractive array of candidates and a last-minute reminder by sensible people that Gray should stay, I’m expecting that’s the most likely scenario. Of course, those driven to go to the polls are more likely to be Davis critics while Davis supporters will be more likely to be unmotivated to cross the street and vote. It’s too much a question mark for me to call.

  2. Do you really think it’s fair that if 45% vote for Davis by opposing the recall, 35% vote for Arnold, and 20% vote for Bustamante, that Arnold will win?

    How can you argue that that’s a fair system?

  3. Most elections in this country aren’t decided on by a majority but by a plurality. Clinton never topped 50% of the vote in 1992 and 1996, but I wouldn’t say his election was unfair (unwise, yes, unfair, no).

    The recall was done in accordance with California law (a law enacted by the Progressives in the early 20th Century no less). I think there are parts of the law that need to be changed (like the requirements to get on the recall ballot).

    Things like Instant Runoff Voting and others have been suggested as ways to “fix” the electoral system, but even those have a number of problems. (I could spend days on why IRV is just a bad idea, but that’s another topic for another time.)

  4. I realize that most elections are decided by plurality, that’s not the point. The point is that Arnold could easily beat Davis despite having neither a majority or a plurality, because of the two-tiered structure of the recall election. Davis basically has to beat everybody else while each recall candidate only has to carry a majority of the people who didn’t vote for Davis. How fair is that? Not very.

  5. The election has two parts: the recall and the replacement. Davis only has to win part 1 by a simple majority to avoid being recalled.

    Even if you vote for the recall, under California law you can also vote for a replacement.

    I see where you’re getting confused, but there are actually two different questions on the ballot.

  6. Your ability to miss my point is truly astounding, Jay.

    I know that the recall is two separate questions. The point is, it’s not fair unless Davis is also listed as a recall candidate, because otherwise he needs a simple majority to stay in office, while any other candidate needs only a plurality to replace him.

    If you can’t both vote against the recall and vote for Davis as his own replacement, then the election isn’t fair. What’s hard to understand about this, Jay?

    Stop missing my point and explain to me how it’s fair that Davis needs a majority of all votes to be governor but Arnold and all the rest only need a plurality of the votes of people who voted for the recall.

  7. Stop missing my point and explain to me how it’s fair that Davis needs a majority of all votes to be governor but Arnold and all the rest only need a plurality of the votes of people who voted for the recall.

    Under California law, you can’t have Davis be on the replacement ballot. If Davis is recalled, he cannot legally continue his term after the vote – you can’t be recalled than run as your own replacement. That would be massively unfair – to have the majority of California voters want you out, but have a minority overrule the majority and keep you in.

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