Un-Fantastic: Our hyper-competitive Gov. Schwarzenegger has bested top Gop President Bush in the competition to see who Californians loathe the most. The governor’s 36 percent approval makes him even more unpopular than President Bush, who has a 38 percent approval in the state.
Barely more than one in three Californian voters would re-elect Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger if he decides to run for a second term — and contests between him and his Democratic challengers, Treasurer Phil Angelides and Controller Steve Westly, would be too close to call if they were held now, a Field Poll released today shows.
The poll illustrates how the Republican governor’s once-diverse base of support — independents, Democrats and Republicans who gave him a victory in the unprecedented 2003 recall election — has now shrunk almost exclusively to his GOP base.
“Clearly, he’s in a vulnerable category,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll. “His core is sticking with him — and just about everyone else isn’t.”
In the 1994, former Gov. Pete Wilson came back very low numbers to win re-election over Kathleen Brown, the popular state Treasurer – and the sister and daughter of two of California’s most popular governors, Jerry and pat, respectively. But Brown proved to be a weak candidate – especially when Wilson used the cudgel of the anti-illegal immigrant Proposition 187 to change the topic from education and the economy. While Wilson won the State House with Prop 187, the Republicans ultimately lost California. The harsh, anti-Hispanic rhetoric from the Right during the campaign drove millions of Latinos to register as Democrats.
Wilson was pro-choice but his rightwing bona fides were in good order. Schwarzenegger is as liberal as Republicans come, so his first big threat will be from his right. It’s a dead cinch that a true believer like state Sen. Tom McClintock will go after him in the primaries, where hard right voters dominate. These voters will very likely vote for a real conservative over the Hollywood liberal, and could take the once mighty Terminator out in the first found.