Nearly Half Say California Recall Is Silly

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Less than a third of Americans say they would vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) to be governor of their state, and almost half say the recall election in California is silly.

In the latest FOX News poll, a 47-percent plurality thinks the decision by Californians to hold a recall election is silly while just over a quarter (28 percent) think it is a “smart” thing to do. Those living in the Northeast are more likely than those in other regions of the country to call it silly, but not surprisingly Democrats — at 62 percent — are the most inclined to do so. Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national poll of registered voters on August 12-13. The California election to decide whether Democratic Gov. Gray Davis (search) should be recalled is scheduled for October 7.

"People are seeing the stories about the hundreds of bizarre candidates and naturally they are concluding this is a silly election," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "While the reality for California is serious, the rest of the nation can view the recall as a kind Hollywood comedy starring familiar actors."

Much media attention has been given to actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is running as a Republican to replace current Gov. Davis. The poll finds that while 31 percent of Americans would vote for Schwarzenegger to be their governor, 43 percent would not and 26 percent are unsure. No significant gender gap exists, and even though Republicans are almost twice as likely as Democrats to say they would support Schwarzenegger, only 41 percent say they would vote for him in their state.

And what about Schwarzenegger’s wife — how will she vote? A 68 percent majority thinks Maria Shriver (search), a known Democrat and member of the Kennedy family, will vote for her husband with only 15 percent thinking she will vote for her political party instead. In addition, of those thinking Shriver will vote for her husband, almost half (48 percent) think her vote will be out of loyalty to Shwarzenegger compared to a third (35 percent) who think she’ll vote for him because he is the best candidate.

Nationally, Schwarzenegger has a personal rating of 55 percent favorable and 23 percent unfavorable, which is considerably higher than the favorable rating of every 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and only six points lower than that of President Bush.

Polling was conducted by telephone August 12-13, 2003 in the evenings. The sample is 900 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of ±3 percentage points.

1. I'm going to read the names of some people. Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of each. If you've never heard of one, please just say so. (RANDOMIZE)
SCALE: 1. Favorable 2. Unfavorable 3. (Can't say) 4. Never heard of

2. Do you think the decision to hold a recall election in California was smart or silly?

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger is running as a Republican candidate to replace California’s Democratic Governor Gray Davis. Maria Shriver, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife, is a member of the Kennedy family and a Democrat. Do you think it is more likely that Ms. Shriver will vote for her party or vote for her husband?

4. (If “vote for her husband,” n=610) Do you think she will vote for him more out of loyalty to her husband, or because she thinks he's the best candidate for governor?

5. If Arnold Schwarzenegger were to run for governor in your state, do you think you would vote for him?