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How powerful is Arnold’s endorsement?

Oh, sure, he’s the governator, an international superstar, a guy who made a mockery of Democrats’ voter registration edge twice. The Associated Press story says Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of John McCain tomorrow in Los Angeles is “giving a certain boost to the Republican presidential front-runner six days before California’s high-prize primary” and is “yet another setback for Mitt Romney.”

But consider a few things:

    (1.)Survey USA says the governor’s approval rating is at 47 percent, after having lingered in the 50s for all but one month since his November 2006 re-election. (The Field Poll put that number considerably higher in December, at 60 percent, so maybe this isn’t much of a consideration; on the other hand, that was before we were staring at a $14.5 billion deficit and 10 percent across-the-board budget cuts.)
    (2.)The California Republican primary is closed, meaning only registered Republicans can vote — no independents. And although this is a presidential year and turnout is expected to be high, closed party primaries tend to represent that party’s true believers, the ideological core, and less so the moderates. Yet both Schwarzenegger and McCain have made careers out of trying to secure not only their own party’s voters, but unaffiliated ones as well. (Of course, a closed primary didn’t seem to stop McCain from clinching Florida.)
    (3.)Some elements of the Republican Party are not so happy with Schwarzenegger right now. He has endorsed Proposition 93, the term-limits reform measure on next week’s ballot which his party staunchly opposes. He favors abortion rights, and although he has twice vetoed gay marriage, he has signed a slew of bills granting rights to domestic partners. Some have never been happy with his choice of advisers, including a Democratic chief of staff. Remember, Arnold Schwarzenegger has never had to win a Republican primary — he was elected in the raucous recall of 2003, and had no primary challenger in 2006.

Do I believe Schwarznegger will bring some votes McCain’s way? Yes. I’m quite sure any candidate would prefer to have this endorsement rather than see an opponent get it.

I also believe McCain will win in California; the latest polls show he has a substantial lead over Romney and Mike Huckabee, and most of the people who were planning on voting for Rudy Giuliani are more likely to migrate to McCain than to either of the others. California’s GOP primary isn’t winner-take-all — rather than the statewide popular vote winner getting all of the state’s delegates, the candidates are competing in each and every Congressional district; the winner in each district gets three delegates — that’s 159 — and then the statewide winner gets 11 more. I’m sure Romney and maybe even Huckabee might walk off with a few, but I’m betting McCain will get the lion’s share.

All I’m sayin’ is, maybe Arnold isn’t the powerful people-mover he once was — maybe his endorsement is far from making a big difference.

Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elections, General, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani | No Comments »

Campaigns heat up in California

One week to go… and here they all come!

Former U.S. Senator and 2000 Democratic presidential primary candidate Bill Bradley is stopping by Barack Obama‘s San Francisco campaign office this afternoon to rally the troops.

Hillary Clinton got an endorsement today from Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, a notable boost from someone with the credibility to blunt accusations of racial politics lingering from South Carolina. Clinton also is launching a new Spanish language television ad in markets up and down the state today. (UPDATE @ 2:54 P.M. TUESDAY: Obama has a new Spanish-language ad, too.)

John McCain today rolled out his California leadership team, headed up by former Secretary of State Bill Jones and including GOP VIPs such as Fresno Mayor Alan Autry; Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca; former state Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte; Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River; former Reps. Doug Ose and Steve Kuykendall; and others. McCain will be in California on Thursday raising funds: a $1,000-a-plate breakfast at the Omni Hotel in San Francisco, and a $2,300-a-head evening reception in Los Angeles.

Mike Huckabee will address the Commonwealth Club of California at noon Thursday in San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel.

John Edwards will be in Los Angeles on Friday, joining striking Writers Guild members on a picket line at midday before taking part (with Clinton and Obama, of course) in the CNN/LA Times/Politico.com Democratic candidates’ debate that evening. And at 9:45 a.m. Friday, he’ll hold a “special community event” at San Jose State University’s Barret Ballroom.

Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Elections, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain, Mike Huckabee | 14 Comments »

California GOP primary field in disarray

From the new Field Poll:

During the past month, there has been a complete reordering of candidate preferences among Republicans likely to vote in California’s February 5th primary election. Four weeks ago, Rudy Giuliani stood atop the field at 25%, followed by Mike Huckabee at 17%.

Now, John McCain, who was in fourth position in December, has vaulted to first place with 22%, just ahead of Mitt Romney, who is now in second place, with 18%.

Support for Giuliani has plummeted to 11% in the current poll, putting him in a tie with Huckabee for third place, just ahead of Fred Thompson (9%) and Ron Paul (7%).

The proportion of GOP voters who are undecided has grown to 21% and is nearly equivalent to that of frontrunner McCain.

These are the findings from the latest Field Poll of 377 likely voters in California’s February 5th Republican primary for President.

Read the whole shebang right here.

Posted on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008
Under: Elections, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani | No Comments »

Brace yourselves for the next four weeks…

…because you’re gonna be phone-banked, direct-mailed, door-knocked, robo-called and television-advertised like never before until our Feb. 5 presidential primary election.

Democrat Hillary Clinton‘s win over Barack Obama (39 percent to 36 percent, with John Edwards a distant third at 17 percent) in New Hampshire last night — unexpected by all the polls conducted in recent days — along with Republican John McCain‘s more predictable foreseeable victory means this race is wide open, with the Nevada caucuses coming Jan. 19, the South Carolina primary Jan. 26, the Florida primary Jan. 29 and the nearly two dozen states holding elections Feb. 5. And the spin is in full tilt-a-whirl mode now.

“Coming off an impressive win in Iowa and taking the once inevitable frontrunner down to the wire in her firewall state, it is clear that Obama is well-positioned to become the next President of the United States,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said this morning.

“Momentum is clearly in our side,” said Clinton national campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe. “Voters across the country are going to see what New Hampshire voters saw.”

How’s it stacking up? Nevada’s polls, now way out of date, showed Clinton way ahead, but Obama today picked up the endorsement of the state’s Service Employees International Union and later today might get the nod from the more politically powerful Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas — endorsements which could be key in getting voters out to the caucus sites. Those same outdated polls showed Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney — neither of whom did well in Iowa or New Hampshire — in a dead heat, but don’t bet on that being the case when the votes are counted.

In South Carolina, recent polls have shown Obama leading Clinton with Edwards a distant third — but so did New Hampshire’s. You’ve gotta wonder if the Bradley effect — the idea that white voters are quicker to say they’ll vote for a non-white candidate than to actually cast the ballot — will play an even more profound role in South Carolina than in New Hampshire. On the GOP side, polls show Mike Huckabee doing well there (perhaps on the strength of that state’s concentration of evangelical Christian voters) but watch for McCain, buoyed by New Hampshire, to stage a surge here.

Then comes Florida, where Clinton and Rudy Giuliani seem to rule their roosts. And after that: Feb. 5, when California, New York and Illinois will lead a slew of other states in effectively picking the nominees.

So we’re gonna get all that attention we craved, in spades. The Obama campaign will be holding a news conference outside San Francisco City Hall later today to announce a new list of endorsements, including House Education & Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez. Meanwhile, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will be out working the Mission District for Clinton. Game on!

Posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2008
Under: Barack Obama, Elections, General, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani | No Comments »

Presidential campaign Christmas ad roundup

Republican Mike Huckabee:

Democrat John Edwards:

Two from Republican Rudy Giuliani:

Democrat Barack Obama:

Republican Ron Paul:

Democrat Hillary Clinton:

Republican John McCain:

Posted on Monday, December 24th, 2007
Under: Barack Obama, Elections, General, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani | No Comments »

Mitt Romney is NOT here today, after all

I’d reported here last week on a pair of Mitt Romney fundraisers — also posted here and here — scheduled for today in Oakville and Napa, but it turns out he’s in Iowa today instead.

Campaign spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said the Bay Area events were cancelled, though she knows not why. “The governor will definitely look forward to coming back to California sometime soon, hopefully,” she said.

If I had to guess, I’d say Romney’s in Iowa instead of California today because of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s rocket-like rise in the Iowa polls, which has deposed Romney as the longtime Republican frontrunner there. If he gets his butt kicked in Iowa, there may not be any California for him.

Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2007
Under: Elections, General, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney | No Comments »

Today’s top political news

Trent Lott is calling it quits.

Oprah Winfrey will stump in Iowa and New Hampshire for Barack Obama.

Maria Shriver’s mom — Gov. Schwarzenegger’s mother-in-law — is ailing.

Chuck Norris. ‘Nuff said.

Posted on Monday, November 26th, 2007
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barack Obama, Mike Huckabee, U.S. Senate | No Comments »