Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger claimed on CNN that he sees the same “anger” among Californians as he did in the historic recall election he won in 2003.
Californians voted by roughly an 11-point margin to recall then-Governor Gray Davis in 2003. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, handily defeated the Democrat in the election, receiving over half of the vote out of more than 100 candidates. On September 14, eighteen years later, Californians will vote on whether to recall incumbent Democratic Governor Gavin Newson.
In a video posted Sunday, Schwarzenegger told CNN’s Dana Bash that the state has the “same vibe” as when he won his election. People are concerned about the same things, he added, such as power outages, inequality, and education.
He agreed with Bash that the opposing side of the ballot has “no Arnold Schwarzenegger,” but that Newsom can “find out how to be Arnold Schwarzenegger for a minute, even as a Democrat.”
In March, the former governor weighed in on the race, dismissing Newsom’s accusations that the recall was a GOP power grab.
He compared Newsom’s appearance at the French Laundry restaurant during a COVID-19 surge, which sparked accusations that he was breaking his own state restrictions, to “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” similar to power disruptions in 2003. Recent polls, however, suggest that Newsom may fare better than Davis.
For months, Newsom’s advantage in most surveys was razor-thin, as Democrats in solid-blue California worried that leftist voters would take victory for granted. Recent polls indicate that things are looking up for him.
Per a study conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California in late August, 58 percent of voters want Newsom to continue in office, while 39 percent support the recall. According to a late-August study conducted by Change Research, 57 percent of voters intend to vote to keep Newsom in office, while 42 percent intend to vote against him.
Most surveys show conservative talk show host Larry Elder as the frontrunner to succeed Newsom if he is recalled. According to a Trafalgar poll conducted from September 2 to 4, 32 percent of people would vote for Elder. Kevin Paffrath, a Democrat, came in second. Even still, 29% of voters were unsure.
Newsom received 61.9 percent of the vote in 2018, compared to 38.1 percent for Republican John Cox. Cox is running for governor again, this time to succeed Newsom.