Home / Reuters: “California Race Too Close to Call as Polls Open”

Reuters: “California Race Too Close to Call as Polls Open”

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As expected, the race has become too close to call as Californians go to the polls to decide whether to make a joke out of their state by electing a Kindergarten Cop as governor.


California’s recall election looked too close to call as voters packed polling stations on Tuesday to decide a race for governor in which Republican actor Arnold Schwarzenegger seeks to unseat unpopular incumbent Democrat Gray Davis.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT) for Californians to first decide whether to oust Davis, famous for his lack of charisma and dedication to fund-raising, then pick from an assortment of 135 candidates, including the magnetic bodybuilder turned actor.

In Pacific Palisades, an exclusive suburb of Los Angeles where actress Goldie Hawn and director Steven Spielberg also vote, Schwarzenegger was expected to cast his vote early on Tuesday in the garage of a sprawling, gated suburban home.

The words “polling place” were written in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish and English, near a basketball hoop under tall trees, with a garden sprawling alongside.

“I’ve only seen Arnold here twice and I’ve been working here for five years,” said a poll worker who gave her name only as Sara. “That’s pretty bad if you’re running for public office,” she said, adding that the actor had not cast absentee ballots in the years he hadn’t voted.

Although preliminary results were expected Tuesday night after polls close at 8 p.m. (11 p.m. EDT), it could be weeks until the state certifies the official result and some observers held out the prospect of a recount or a court challenge if the vote proves especially close.

Last minute polls showed the race tightening although Schwarzenegger’s camp said the actor retained a healthy lead among replacement candidates and that voters appeared ready to boot Davis.

What began as a Republican-led protest vote over Davis’ handling of the state’s economy and recent energy crisis has become a referendum on Schwarzenegger, especially his alleged groping and sexual harassment of women.

Davis’ wife Sharon campaigned for her husband at the last minute, once again bringing up claims of impropriety against Schwarzenegger, who in turn has accused the Davis campaign of dirty tricks in the crucial final days before the recall.


Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, Mrs. Davis said as a former flight attendant she was harassed and understood why women had not come forward before with complaints against Schwarzenegger, a “powerful” man in the film industry.

Speaking from Schwarzenegger’s camp, former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan praised the actor for not being “blindsided” by the allegations and said he was the right man to sort out California’s financial woes.

“This state is literally bankrupt. … People are desperate to have new leadership in Sacramento,” he said, charging Davis had sold out the state to special interest groups.

Davis’ campaign said its new tracking survey of 1,200 likely voters found a 50 percent to 48 percent split between those favoring a “yes” vote on the recall and those planning to vote “no,” in a poll of 1,200 people over three days.

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About Brian Flemming

  • mike

    I think you’re fooling yourself, Brian. As much as I hate to contemplate it, Arnold’s a shoe-in. He may even get a majority of the vote. Turnout is huge, and I’ll bet an enormous number of these voters are white and Hispanic males enraged by what they see as the liberal assault against him. Totally depressing.

  • I choose not to get depreseed yet. I choose to believe in hope. I choose to believe people are intelligent. Odds are I may be proven wrong tonight, but it won’t be for the first time.

    At anyn rate, until then, HOPE.

  • Both Arnold and Davis agree, god, not 10 million California voters, will decide their fate. If there were a personal, all powerful god, she’d probably smite them both.

  • mike
  • Perhaps for you, sweet mike. I’m still holding on to hope.

  • “I choose to believe people are intelligent”

    so long as they agree.

    You said you disapproved of this sort of rhetoric when you posted Modrak using it.


  • Sorry, really. Only human, and I hate it. I can’t rid myself of the thought that voting for that man is just plain stupid. Not that people are unintelligent, just that they would be doing what is in my mind an unintelligent thing. Is that less offensive? I really do not wish to offend.

  • I have a lot of hope.

    Mainly, I hope that Brian Flemming will finally shut up and go back into his cave after the election is over and Davis is booted from the corner office. I also hope that Flemming will then actually study California politics, and I hope that from this study he will learn, among other things, that California doesn’t have a governor’s mansion. I hope that all the holier-than-thou types who’ve been clucking and barking over Arnie’s grab-ass episodes will finally find a person of the appropriate persuasion and get laid. I also hope that Reuters will learn that double-digit polling spreads aren’t “neck-and-neck” and that a terrorist is not a “freedom fighter”.

    But I’d be happy if the only thing that happened was for Flemming to shut up. Stupid people annoy me.

  • Based on the link Mike provided, the poll numbers have been moving over time, all right – in Arnold’s favor. The difference between Arnold and Cruz from Sep 25 to Oct 5 has gone like this: 4%, 15%, 8%, 10%, 13%, 8%, 12%. Hardly negligible, and not moving in the hoped-for (by Brian and others) direction.

    On the recall issue, the difference is even more pronounced: 12%, 28%, 14%, 18%, 18%, 13%, 14%.

    In both cases, when two polls last surveyed on the same date, I listed the smaller difference as more recent. That would seem to have bolstered Brian’s case, but not much.

    Unofficial polls are often wrong, so for now the only thing that really matters is what the voters say. I’ve called all of my family in California to see what they were doing, and I have to say that some of them surprised me, so it could be an interesting election yet.

    And mark my words, two months from now Arnold is going to be sitting in that office with his hands in his hair, asking, “What on earth was I thinking?”

  • Unofficial polls are often wrong

    Ain’t that the truth! Remember Florida?

  • I also hope that Flemming will then actually study California politics, and I hope that from this study he will learn, among other things, that California doesn’t have a governor’s mansion.

    Shut up!

  • They’re not doing any official intercept polls on the air until the polls close, but Gabala and Carlson (of Crossfire) did intercept four individuals who had just voted:

    -2 voted for the recall and Arnold (one a friend of Arnold’s, one a mother with child)
    -1 voted for the recall and McClintock
    -1 voted against the recall and for McClintock

    A big factor is going to be the 25% of the votes which were cast before last week and thus not influenced by all the Arnold assault revelations.

    Those using absentee ballots tend to be Republican (Arnold ot Tom) and to vote conservatively (Tom).

    So that’s still up in the air, but Davis is probably, deservedly toast.

  • The Governor doesn’t live in the historic Governor’s mansion, Flemming, he lives in a little suburban house.

  • First off, Shut up!

    Secondly, who said he does live in the governor’s mansion? I don’t know where you’re getting that.

    An old Post story, maybe?

  • Some self-appointed expert on California politics wrote on this blog: “Arnold Schwarzenegger might belong on the sex offender registry, but not in the governor’s mansion.”

    Has name was Brian Flemming.

  • Joe

    Uh oh! Drudge has the flashing light out!

  • Uh oh! Drudge is again being irresponsbile and breaking the embargo to post early exit poll results.

  • Joe

    Indeed, he’s a menace and should be stopped!

  • NC

    That goddamned menace is using the “L” word now!

  • The tide is shifting in California. It is no longer a Democratic state. It is beyond that. The noble concepts that the Democratic party has can not be practiced because Davis and the like have raped her from her ability to grow and blossom. The state is in retreat! It’s almost destroyed. The problem is that the people of California have not suffered enough. They don’t feel it because of the cushion. Imagine that! But they sure are mad as hell and something new is due to happen within the next 4 or 5 years and it’s beginning with this recall. Only a conservative movement can move it in a positive direction. Like it or not it will work. Cut! Cut! Cut! here it comes!

  • I do not use profanity lightly.

    If Drudge’s unethically released figures are correct, oh, fuck, fuck, fuck, shit, fuck. Poor, poor California. Pobrecitos Estados Unidos. NOW I can be depressed — and cancel my trip to San Francisco.

    Re: #20 — Talk about an unnatural disaster. IF Drudge is correct.

  • Laurie K.

    >>The tide is shifting in California. It is no longer a Democratic state. << I guess I'm in the minority here that sees this recall election as something of a bipartisan expression of disgust for Davis. I think he's taken the office to new depths of base corruption, avarice, and power-lust, and, after last year's election, did little to hide his contempt for the electorate. He is now paying the price. If Drudge's numbers are correct, a goodly number of Democrats and left-wingers have crossed over to send him packing. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Gray. I think part of the reason Schwartzenegger did well was first, the obvious "outsider" role that served Ventura well in Minnesota, and also, the sheer lack of connection of the other voters to the electorate. This was really, I thought, Bustamante's race to lose. He stood to cash in on the Democrats' desire to keep the Governorship in their grasp, and, as a Latino, he stood to connect with the state's large, more politically active Latino population. And yet, he is shown at the moment to be doing rather poorly. Why is that? Ever seen him try to articulate an idea? He's been a lawmaker for years and he doesn't seem to understand the basics. McClintock is ideologically too extreme for most people. I live in Orange County, California's conservative stronghold. I don't know a single McClintock supporter. He's considered, apparently, way too extreme. In addition, a lot of what I hear is that both Bustamante and McClintock, as current office holders, are "part of the problem." If Schwartzenegger wins, it will be because he didn't make any major blunders, has taken a politically moderate stance, hasn't actively alienated any large segment of the voting public, and isn't yet part of the problem. For many political moderates, he was the choice by default simply because of who he wasn't. Laurie K.

  • mike

    Don’t kid yourself. This is a huge victory for the political right. It puts California back in play for the 2004 Presidential election.

  • NBC projects the mysogynist Austrian movie star as the new governor. And it appears Prop 54 lost.

  • JR

    “This is a huge victory for the political right. It puts California back in play for the 2004 Presidential election.”

    I keep hearing that, but I don’t get the logic. Californians just demonstrated they were willing to cross political lines to get rid of an incompetent leader. How does a precedent like that help Bush?

  • Bush is better off with Arnold in office than without. He’ll probably still lose California, but it will probably be closer than in 2000. Which will force some people who would have voted green to vote for the Democrat.

    And here is the details on the mansion from USA Today:

    California is one of six states without an official residence for the governor. The last official governor’s mansion in Sacramento, a Victorian extravaganza built in 1877 (30 rooms, nine bathrooms, 14-foot ceilings, Italian marble fireplaces, French mirrors) was home to 13 governors, until Nancy Reagan moved in with Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1967.

    She hated it, and the fire department considered it a firetrap, so they moved out. The mansion is now a museum. A group of wealthy Reagan friends paid for a new house in suburban Carmichael. But Reagan left office before it was finished, and no governor lived in it. The next governor, Jerry Brown, slept on a mattress in a downtown Sacramento apartment.

    The Carmichael house eventually was sold, and later governors lived in a house in another suburb. That house was donated to the state.