SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California gubernatorial recall race entered its last full day of campaigning with polls showing front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger's (search) support slipping after more women came forward to accuse the A-list actor of sexual harassment.
Gov. Gray Davis (search), fighting to prevent being kicked out of office, said Monday that Schwarzenegger owed voters an explanation of the charges before they went to the polls Tuesday.
Candidates frantically exhorted supporters to get out the vote in the finale of the chaotic race while also waiting to see whether sexual harassment allegations leveled against Schwarzenegger by 16 women, including one who came forward Monday, would upend the actor's campaign.
But a Democratic polling firm that conducts surveys for one of the state's most powerful unions has predicted Davis will be recalled despite the allegations and Schwarzenegger will win on the replacement ballot, Fox News has learned.
A top Democratic strategist who reviewed the latest polling data told Fox News the recall would likely pass by at least 56 percent. Davis would receive between 42 percent and 44 percent of the vote against the recall.
The data also indicated that Schwarzenegger would beat Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (search) by 41 percent to 34 percent, the strategist said.
Schwarzenegger released a statement Monday denying the latest accusation. He did not mention the allegations in appearances throughout the day but his campaign arranged symbolic shows of support from women.
In San Jose in the morning, scores of female supporters stood behind Schwarzenegger holding signs proclaiming "Remarkable Women Join Arnold." At his final stop of the day in San Bernardino a large banner read "Women Joining Arnold." In Huntington Beach, he was introduced to an eager crowd at an afternoon rally by his wife, Maria Shriver, who brought along her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (search).
The "Surf City" crowd waved signs that said "Surfers for Arnold" and "Arnold Rips." There were only scattered protesters, including one holding a sign that said "Pervert!"
In San Francisco, Davis was greeted by the largest crowd of his three-day campaign swing, as some 2,500 firefighters, mostly clad in blue "No Recall" T-shirts, marched to Union Square to rally opposition to the recall. Many in the crowd were out-of-state residents attending a safety conference.
"If you give me the chance to finish my term, I will do it with all the passion, all the humanity I can muster because my goal is to make your life better," Davis told the crowd raising signs and chanting "No recall! No Recall!"
Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters, roused the crowd with a throaty plea to keep California from electing "a musclebound knucklehead who doesn't know a thing about running a state."
"We send a message to the Terminator," Schaitberger said. "You can be the mayor of Muscle Beach, but stay the hell out of Sacramento!"
Davis sounded traditional labor themes including support for the eight-hour workday, and defended the recent tripling of the car tax. Schwarzenegger has pledged to repeal the tax upon taking office.
Davis reminded the crowd that the fee funded local governments and said repealing it would force half the police and firefighters to be laid off.
"I don't think Californians want that to happen!" Davis said.
The crowd booed.
Schwarzenegger continued to hammer away at Davis, telling supporters in San Jose that he falls among a class of politicians who only know how to "spend, spend, spend" and "tax, tax tax."
"Look what this administration has done this last five years to us ... they're chasing jobs and businesses out of the state and now it is time we chase Gray Davis out of Sacramento," Schwarzenegger said.
As he took the stage, the actor smiled broadly and said, "To all the incredible women, thank you."
Looming over all the day's events were the allegations of the 16 women who have come forward over the past week to say Schwarzenegger groped them and sometimes made crude comments during encounters dating from 1970 to 2000.
The "Terminator" star complained to Fox News' Sean Hannity that his opponents were "throwing everything at me plus the kitchen sink." He also accused Davis of sending "surrogate women" out onto the campaign trail to find other women who would lodge complaints against him.
Davis, who has repeatedly denied being involved in the allegations, said Schwarzenegger had only himself to blame, adding he believes the actor's accusers and praising them for their courage in coming forward.
"It's very hard for me to believe that all ... of these women were lying," he said "It's frankly hard for me to believe that any of them are lying."
About 300 people cheered Davis during an evening rally outside the Los Angeles Convention Center. His 80-year-old mother, who is sick with cancer, joined him on stage.
"There's a lot of talk about character in this election," his wife, Sharon, said as she introduced him. "My husband has never been accused of anything more than being dull. Right now dull looks pretty good to me."
More than 1,000 United Farm Workers members planned to spend the remaining hours knocking on doors throughout the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast telling Latinos that the union and Bustamante urge them to vote against the recall, said UFW Treasury Secretary Tanis Ybarra.
At a campaign appearance in East Los Angeles, Bustamante, the only major Democrat on the ballot to replace Davis, said his internal polls show him closing on Schwarzenegger.
"Frankly, there's a lot of people who feel he's not fit to be the governor," Bustamante said of Schwarzenegger.
State Sen. Tom McClintock (search), who has rejected GOP pressure to drop out of the race so he wouldn't split the vote with his fellow Republican, said he was skeptical of the complaints, particularly because they came during the campaign's 11th hour. McClintock, who only campaigned on the airwaves Monday, also indicated the allegations were boosting his standing among voters.
"People are saying 'Thank God you stayed in the race,"' McClintock said in a televised interview.
The latest woman to come forward, Rhonda Miller of Los Angeles, said Schwarzenegger lifted her shirt to photograph her breasts and groped her twice, the first time when she worked as a stunt double on the film "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" in 1991 and again in 1994 on the set of "True Lies."
In a statement, Schwarzenegger denied Miller's claims while admitting making crude comments "on numerous occasions" about photographs of staff members that were posted in the make-up trailer during the filming of "Terminator 2."
"If my crude comments offended anyone, I apologize. And as I have stated a number of times in this campaign, I have occasionally engaged in rowdy behavior. With regards to all of the other comments that were made by Ms. Miller, they did not occur," the statement said.
The campaign also released statements from two crew members that, while not specifically refuting Miller's accusations, said Miller allowed her breasts to be photographed and said Schwarzenegger did not take the picture.
A poll conducted by Elway-McGuire Research for Knight Ridder from Wednesday through Saturday found the percentage of people saying they would definitely vote to oust Davis dropped from 52 percent Wednesday to 44 percent Saturday. Pollsters surveyed 1,000 registered voters, including 284 people on Wednesday and 200 on Saturday. The poll had an overall margin of error of 3 percentage points, but the margin of error for individual days was not given.
Although those definitely planning to vote to oust Davis had slipped to 44 percent, among overall voters surveyed the number supporting the recall was still 54 percent.
Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Karen Hanretty told the CBS' "The Early Show" the campaign was not losing momentum.
Hanretty didn't answer directly when asked if any of the women had lied. Instead, she accused the Los Angeles Times, which first broke the story of the allegations, of not investigating the claims thoroughly.
Schwarzenegger hasn't discussed most of the specific allegations and said Sunday he wouldn't until the campaign is over. He said he can't recall some of the alleged incidents.
Along the campaign trail, Schwarzenegger supporters have dismissed the allegations as dirty politics and not important.
"If we're going to look for politicians who are perfect we aren't going to find one," said Beth Hobbs, 53, of Saratoga, who attended the San Jose rally with her husband, Bill, and daughter Julia.
But in San Francisco, Hiddo Horlings, a firefighter from Orange County, said the actor's own words give the accusations credibility.
"Schwarzenegger himself said, 'Where there's smoke there's fire.' There's a lot of smoke right now. We have a six-alarm coming up."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.