RECALL UPDATE….AP is reporting that Bill Simon has dropped out of the recall race. That’s good news for Arnold, since Simon’s share of the vote will almost certainly go to him, and it will also put pressure on the other Republican candidates to drop out as well.
On the other hand, despite the waffly nature of this LA Times story, a poll showing only 50% in favor of the recall is bad news for Arnold. That’s down from previous polls I’ve seen, which placed recall support in 60+% territory, and Gray Davis hasn’t even begun to do any serious campaigning or advertising yet.
However, note this:
Republicans appear far more energized by the election than Democrats. Republicans make up 35% of registered voters in the state, while Democrats constitute 45%. However, the Times poll suggests that a disproportionate number of Republicans are likely to actually vote in the election, accounting for 43% of the turnout, with Democrats making up 45%.
“The recall seems to have mobilized the Republican Party base, while Democratic voters are not as enthused at this point,” said poll director Pinkus. “For Davis to beat the recall, he must do more to excite his own troops to come to his rescue.”
I think this is yet more evidence that anger is a very effective political tool, and one that Republicans use very effectively. It’s true that inchoate temper tantrums are self-defeating, but anger that’s well channeled and directed at a specific source can work very well. Sure, it takes the right kind of person and the right kind of issue to make electoral anger work, but I continue to think that Democrats shouldn’t be afraid of using it, no matter how many Republicans earnestly warn us away from the briar patch that they pretend has hurt their party so badly.
UPDATE: Robert Tagorda correctly points out that I overstated the benefit to Arnold from Bill Simon dropping out, since some (maybe most) of his vote will go to Tom McClintock, the other right winger in the Republican crowd.