Sabatos Crystal Ball

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California

Outlook: Likely Republican


November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) won reelection over Phil Angelides (D) with 56% of the vote.

August 2, 2006 Update:

Democrat Phil Angelides is simply not catching on. His sole chance of victory is a massive Democratic wave in November that sweeps one of the most heavily-Democratic states. This eventuality cannot be ruled out, given the way election year 2006 is going, but Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appears to have come back from if not the dead, then at least the comatose.

June 7, 2006 Update:

Phil Angelides narrowly defeated Steve Westly for the Democratic nomination, 48 percent to 46 percent. The campaign turned nasty, and in the end the division was close, so this is all good news for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Crystal Ball also believes that Westly, as the more moderate candidate, would have been the stronger Democratic nominee. Score another one for Schwarzenegger. By no means will Arnold’s reelection be a given; California is so heavily Democratic that–in a Democratic year–he will have to scrape for every vote above 45 percent. Nonetheless, what could have been a Democratic rout may now be considered a race that favors him slightly.

June 1, 2006 Update:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has recovered a bit, and his popularity ratings are now in the mid-40s. However, he is still statistically tied with either of the potential Democratic nominees, Angelides and Westly. The polls have fluctuated about which Democrat will get the party nod, and in this very difficult year for Republicans, Schwarzenegger is certainly not out of the woods.

March 27, 2006 Update:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger still has a Matterhorn to climb and a ton to bench press before he can secure his second term, and we still wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Democratic nominee upsets him. So far neither possible Democratic candidate, Phil Angelides or Steve Westly, has had a thing to do with setting California afire. That’s Mother Nature. We remain to be convinced that either Democrat is going to run the kind of race needed to upset Schwarzenegger.

Update:

“Having a lot of money never hurts a candidate. In this case, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s campaign funds of $28.6 million to Phil Angelides‘ $14.6 million have prevented the challenger from, ironically, posing any real challenge. A mid-September poll has Schwarzenegger leading Angelides 54 percent to 31 percent, and without any drastic mishap on the part of the governor, it does not appear that those numbers will change dramatically between now and November. That is not stopping public employee unions from commencing statewide television ads portraying the governor as untrustworthy and dependent upon special interests, however. Similar ads succeeded in helping prevent Schwarzenegger’s initiatives in the special election last year, but the prospects for the current attempts remain questionable.”

Brenan Richards, Crystal Ball Pacific Regional Correspondent


Background

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has now formally declared his reelection intentions, used to be the GOP savior in the Golden State, but he has had a Gray Davis-like decline among Democrats and Independents. Schwarzenegger has simply not worn well with Californians, and he is increasingly viewed as celebrity-lite and inadequate to the task at hand. This may be unfair and a product of the fickleness of Golden State voters. Nonetheless, he is no better than a slight favorite for reelection in 2006 as he seeks a full four-year term after his abbreviated, recall-generated three-year term. Surprisingly, Schwarzenegger’s poll ratings are now almost as bad as ousted Governor Davis’ were before disgruntled Californians sent him packing from Sacramento.

But what really has Democrats licking their chops is the fact that California voters just said no to nearly all of Schwarzenegger’s ballot initiatives in 2005. Many experts contend this could spell termination for his tenure in Sacramento, though The Governator hopes that this analysis is just a “True Lie.”

Right now, it looks like Democratic state treasurer Phil Angelides or State Controller Steve Westly will be Schwarzenegger’s Democratic opponent. In spite of his frontrunner status, the charisma-free Angelides has a real chance to polarize the California electorate along party lines. Though he is the underdog, it is possible that Westly, who is more charismatic than Angelides, might be chosen by Democratic voters to face Schwarzenegger.

Candidates

Arnold Schwarzenegger (I) – Republican – current Governor and former Mr. Universe
Website

Phil Angelides – Democrat – current state treasurer and former California Democratic Party chair
Website

Peter Camejo – Independent – Green Party nominee and candidate during Gray Davis recall
Website