Monday, April 17, 2006

Stronger Candidate

To add a little to the discussion of who the "stronger candidate" is against Schwarzenegger, I've pulled up this column by Dan Weintraub, the political columnist for the Sacramento Bee.
In hypothetical matchups for the fall election, Schwarzenegger beat both Democrats, though his edge over Westly was smaller.

Among likely voters, 41 percent said they would vote for Schwarzenegger and 29 percent said they would choose Angelides, with 30 percent undecided. The governor had the support of 39 percent of likely voters against Westly, while the controller had 31 percent, and 30 percent were undecided.

The key difference in the matchups was that Schwarzenegger beat Angelides among independents by a margin of 32 percent to 24 percent but lost to Westly among that group by a margin of 29 percent to 26 percent. That matches the conventional wisdom among insiders who believe that Westly might be the stronger Democratic candidate against the governor.
These results dispute the idea that either Angelides or Westly will have a relatively easy time beating Arnold. In fact, both trail him in this poll. But Westly trails by less, is stronger with independents, and, as Weintraub notes, is the candidate perceived to be stronger by analysts.

And while you may attribute this to Westly's warchest, it's an inevitable fact of campaigns that money is part of the political system as of now. While having a lot of money doesn't make someone qualified to govern, it does allow a strong candidate to get his or her message out, which is what we need in this campaign.


At April 17, 2006 6:58 PM, Blogger Gilbert Martinez said...

The poll cited has a margin of error of +/-5 points so the difference is pretty meaningless. If it was 3 or less, maybe it would be real. Also, most generally well informed people I know have yet to hear about either candidate so the real margin of error is likely much bigger.

I think some perspective is also important. Schwarzenegger has high name recognition while the Dems don't. The article states explicitly: The general election race is likely to tighten once the Democrats choose their nominee, and other independent polls have shown the Democrats doing much better against Schwarzenegger. That's about right.

One thing will change the dynamic significantly. Labor (teachers, firefighters, police, etc.) is still really upset with Schwarzenegger. Unless he starts being friendlier and at least coming to the table, my sources say that he will be in for another treat like he received during the special election--maybe even more extreme.

The primary winner for the Dems will get a lot of money. Independent expenditures and PACs against schwarzenegger will be pretty big as well so money isn't that important.


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