Arnold Terminating The Opposition

The latest polls on the California recall show Davis is out and Arnold is in as Bustamante slides in the polls. The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows Schwarzenegger at 40%, Bustamante at 25% and McClintock at 18%. Support for the recall is at 63%. The margin of error is +/- 4%.

It appears as though even the divided Republican vote isn’t hurting Arnold – if anything, the Democratic vote is more divided as many Democrats will not vote for Bustamante but will vote to stop the recall – a strategy supported by Sen. Barbara Boxer. Bustamante’s slide is somewhat surprising, although his lackluster debate performance didn’t help him. Still, I wouldn’t write out Bustamante quite yet – his support among Hispanics may move him closer to Arnold than this poll indicates.

As I predicted from the beginning, Davis is toast. He’s massively unpopular among all of the California electorate, including Democrats, and he has all the personal magnetism of a bad high-school science teacher. His stump speeches sound like lectures, and Davis is the singularly worst campaigner I’ve seen since Bob Dole in 1996.

In the end, the Arnold media presence and his fiscal conservatism and social libertarianism are a winning combination. However, the election is the easiest part – the real question is "can Schwarzenegger govern?" Arnold will have to show real leadership early, and that will be a far greater challenge to Mr. Schwarzenegger than invisible aliens, killer cyborgs, or Hollywood critics.

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