Bustamante Leads Schwarzenegger in Polls

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New statewide poll numbers show Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (search) holds a slight lead over GOP front-runner Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) in California's recall election, GOP and Democratic strategists tell Fox.

The new Field Poll (search) numbers will be released Tuesday in newspapers across the state.

According to Republican and Democratic sources, the poll shows Bustamante leading Schwarzenegger 30 percent to 25 percent with state Sen. Tom McClintock (search) at 13 percent and Peter Ueberroth (search) at 5 percent.

The poll also shows 55 percent of Californians support recalling Democratic Gov. Gray Davis (search) with 40 percent opposing it.

Strategists with both parties say the Field Poll numbers closely track internal polling done for the last week.

Republican strategist Kevin Spillane said the cumulative GOP numbers total 45 percent which he said indicated widespread discontent with Davis and the Democrats.

Nearly 45 percent of the state's 15 million registered voters are Democrats, compared to 35 percent registered Republicans.

Even so, Bustamante polled only 30 percent, suggesting the Lieutenant Governor is having a hard time consolidating the Democratic base.

The Field Poll suggests Republicans are over-performing, with cumulative GOP support at 45 percent compared to 35 percent registered GOP voters. Democrats are under-performing, with Bustamante's 30 percent standing at 14 percent below party registration numbers.

The Field Poll asked voters whom they would support if McClintock dropped out of the race and found that Schwarzenegger was ahead of Bustamante 33 percent to 31 percent.

Bustamante's lead in the Field Poll is smaller than that found in the widely publicized Los Angeles Times poll, which showed him with 35 percent compared to Schwarzenegger's 22 percent. That poll also said only 50 percent of Californians supported recalling Davis while 45 percent opposed it.

The last Field Poll, taken in mid August, showed Bustamante leading Schwarzenegger 25 percent to 22 percent. It also showed 58 percent of Californians supported recalling Davis with 37 opposed to it.

"The poll shows we're making progress," Davis spokesman Gabriel Sanchez told Fox. "We're just beginning with our campaign and we're already making progress."

Sanchez said the governor gained six points from the last Field Poll, pointing to a three-point drop in support for the recall and a three-point gain in opposition to it. He said the governor's anti-recall TV campaign wasn't even a week old and had only run spots in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Monterey.

"Some people foolishly wrote us off," Sanchez said.