Gender Gap Gives Bustamente Edge in Recall Election

A significant gender gap favors California’s current lieutenant governor over leading Republican challenger Arnold Schwarzenegger in the upcoming recall election in California. Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, a Democrat, is ahead in a recent statewide poll by 5 points, but among women voters he is ahead of Schwarzenegger by 13 points. The recent withdrawal of Republican Peter Ueberroth did not impact the standing of the leading candidates in the California gubernatorial recall election, according to a Field Poll released today. Bustamante is also ahead of Schwarzenegger in most racial/ethnic categories, most significantly leading by 39 points among African-American voters.

Schwarzenegger has received much media attention recently over derogatory comments he’s made over the years about women. A recent Salon article detailed his history of misogynistic behavior, from a 1997 interview in Oui magazine in which he claims to have participated in group sex with an African-American (whether it was consensual or not he doesn’t say) to his recent comments in Entertainment Weekly that he enjoyed his role in the recent “Terminator” movie because “How many times do you get away with this – to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl?”

Sharing the ballot with Schwarzenegger and Bustamante in the special election on Oct. 7 is Proposition 54, an anti-affirmative action ballot initiative that would eliminate collection of racial data by most state and local agencies. Opponents of the proposal insist that without racial data, the progress of minority or disadvantaged groups in fields such as academics, law enforcement, and medicine is impossible to track. Bustamante recently announced that he would spend $4 million to defeat the ballot initiative with commercials depicting himself denouncing the proposition, according to the LA Times. Ward Connerly, the lead proponent of Prop. 54 as well as the driving force behind Prop. 209, which eliminated race- and gender-based affirmative action in state public works projects and college admissions, virtually conceded defeat upon hearing Bustamante’s plan. He told the Times that this money “probably dooms” the ballot initiative, adding, “I’m never throwing in the towel. But I’ve been around the block. There is no way we can match that.”

LEARN MORE Read Msmagazine.com web blog on Schwarzenegger’s gender gap problem

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Salon 8/30/03; Field Poll 9/10/03; LA Times 9/7/03

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