When I heard today that Gray Davis challenged Arnold Schwarzenegger to a debate, I thought Davis must have received some bad poll data. Sure enough: California Insider reports that two Democratic polls show a clear majority favoring the recall, by 54%-40% and 54%-41% respectively. It’s hard to see how Davis can make up that ground in the ten days he has left.
These Democratic polls show Bustamante and Schwarzenegger in a dead heat. It strikes me that in this race, McClintock is somewhat in the position of a third-party candidate. With rare exceptions, support for third-party candidates tends to dwindle as the election approaches. Many people who are happy to say they support a probable loser in response to a survey will vote for someone they think can win when they get into the polling booth. Notwithstanding the intensity of much of McClintock’s support, history suggests that a significant chunk of it will swing to Schwarzenegger at the last minute if it looks like he is the only viable Republican.
In short, barring last-minute surprises, Arnold is looking more and more like California’s next governor.
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