Bill Clinton to Campaign for Gray Davis
LOS ANGELES – Former President Bill Clinton (search) will campaign for California Gov. Gray Davis (search) on Sunday at a predominantly African-American church, a move designed to further galvanize African-American opposition to the gubernatorial recall.
Clinton will appear with Davis at the First A.M.E. church in Los Angeles. It's the only scheduled Clinton-Davis event but the Davis camp said there might be one more.
The latest Field Poll (search) showed African-Americans are by far the most hostile to recalling Davis. The poll of 505 likely voters revealed African-Americans oppose the recall 66 percent to 26 percent.
No other ethnic group surveyed in the Field Poll opposed the recall. Latinos supported the recall 54 percent to 42 percent, whites supported it 57 percent to 38 percent and Asians supported it 57 percent to 37 percent. The margin of error in the poll was 4.5 percent.
Davis has regularly compared the recall to Republican efforts to impeach Clinton. Though he had backed away from an earlier assertion the recall is a GOP effort to "steal an election" they did not win, Davis still said he's done nothing offensive or illegal while in office that would warrant a recall.
Clinton has become a regular adviser on how Davis can beat the recall and his decision to campaign with the embattled governor was expected. Clinton has advised Davis to conduct numerous "town-hall" style meetings with voters to let them vent their frustration over the state's sagging economy, budget deficit, and high energy costs. Davis has done so and has also developed a low-level "I feel your pain" appeal to voters that promises more interaction with voters and less emphasis on cutting legislative deals in Sacramento.
Davis advisers believe implementing parts of the Clinton strategy has paid off. They are encouraged by the Field Poll, which showed support for the recall at 55 percent and opposition at 40 percent. Those numbers were down slightly from a Field Poll in mid-August.
That poll showed support for the recall at 58 percent and opposition at 37 percent. Davis pollster Paul Maslin said Davis has moved up 6 points between the polls, with support for the recall diminishing by three percentage points and opposition rising by the same amount.
Still, the new Field Poll numbers show a larger majority is in support of recalling Davis than a Los Angeles Times poll in late August revealed. The Times poll had support for the recall at 50 percent and opposition at 45 percent.
The Davis camp drew encouragement from that poll too. Strategists from both parties say the odds are still stacked against Davis in part because the polls cannot predict who will actually vote in the Oct. 7 recall. But all polls show the intensity level among voters who support the recall is higher than among those opposed.