TV & Radio
［ロサンゼルス １１日 ロイター］ 俳優から政治家に転身した米カリフォルニア州のアーノルド・シュワルツェネッガー知事（共和党）は１１日、ＮＢＣテレビの人気トーク番組「The Tonight Show with Jay Leno」に出演し、自身とブッシュ大統領の違いを強調してみせた。
Angelides finding it tough to win over voters in his party
- Tom Chorneau, San Francisco Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Saturday, October 14, 2006
(10-14) 04:00 PDT Sacramento -- Mary Canavan, a 62-year-old real estate agent from Berkeley, stands as one of the biggest barriers to Democrat Phil Angelides becoming governor.
After weeks of putting off a decision, the lifelong Democrat said she is almost certain to cast her vote for Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- a choice lots of Democrats up and down the state are considering, including many living in the liberal strongholds of the Bay Area.
"It depresses me to say it, but I've got no compelling reason to vote for Angelides," she said. "I've never supported anyone but Democrats -- I think I might have voted once for a Republican. But I just think the Democrats in this state are having a real hard time communicating a message -- and that's appalling."
Democrats are the state's majority party with almost 6.7 million members -- 1.3 million more than Republicans -- and thus play a defining role in the outcome of virtually every election.
Polls show that only about 60 percent of Democrats support Angelides -- well below the 70 percent benchmark considered necessary for his success.
Schwarzenegger is attracting up to 21 percent of Democrats, according to a September poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. Meanwhile, the governor has almost 80 percent of GOP voters and nearly 50 percent of independents.
Most polls also show Schwarzenegger enjoying surprising strength in Los Angeles County and in the Bay Area -- both places that typically vote heavily Democratic and that the state treasurer needs to win.
The governor's showing is a big turnaround from only a year ago. On the eve of the unpopular 2005 special election, 81 percent of Democrats told the Field Poll they were not inclined to support Schwarzenegger for re-election.
Voters explained that their change of heart is the result of both actions by the governor that they favor and failure so far by Angelides to rally voters to his side.
Many voters said they simply don't have a sense of what kind of leader Angelides would be.
"I don't know what he supports -- does he support universal health care or the minimum wage? I don't know," said Oakland resident Doug Latimer, 50, an independent voter who remains undecided in the governor's race.
"I don't know what his particular stands are on environmental issues," he said. "That's a failure that falls on him and falls on the strategy of the Democratic Party -- the press as well. We should know all this by now."
Michael Feeley, 53, of Berkeley, is a registered Democrat but said he will be voting for Schwarzenegger.
"The biggest thing the governor has done, since making some horrible mistakes last year, is that he's been working with the Democrats," Feeley said. "I like that. I think he's done a good job bringing the two sides together."
Feeley noted as examples compromise agreements that the governor worked out with the Legislature's Democratic leaders on restricting greenhouse gases and on raising the minimum wage.
Bill Carrick, senior strategist for Angelides, said he is not surprised to hear voters complain that they do not know enough about his candidate -- even with less than a month to go before the election. He said Angelides has suffered from not having as much campaign cash as he would have liked.
"The reality is that we went through a primary with a lot of negative back-and-forth, and then to a general election with a depleted treasury and very limited ability to go on the air," he said.
The Democratic Party, not encumbered by the same contribution limits, has spent $14 million trying to fill the void. But Carrick noted that the party ads could not be used to promote Angelides himself, because of new campaign rules.
"We ended up with the situation in which we had to decide whether to spend the money trying to ID Phil in August or in October," he said. "We made the decision -- and, in my judgment, the proper one -- to spend the money in October."
A new biographical ad began running statewide on Tuesday. Carrick said that as the campaign rolls out, voters will learn more about Angelides and, he believes, many will chose to vote for him over Schwarzenegger -- especially Democrats.
"There are two sets of voters that we want to talk to: the Democrats, of course, and the 'decline-to-state,' " Carrick said. "The more information voters have about Phil, the more likely they are to vote for him."
Still, Angelides' mission is complicated by the fact that another big group of voters have formed an opinion about the state treasurer -- a negative one.
A Field Poll conducted in September found 22 percent of voters have yet to form an opinion about Angelides, but 43 percent said they already had formed an unfavorable view of him.
Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, said those unfavorable views are likely the result of voters getting their first impression of Angelides from millions of dollars of worth of TV ads put on by the Schwarzenegger campaign that criticized the Democratic candidate's plans to raise taxes.
"That's really a problem," DiCamillo said. "A large chunk of voters have formed an opinion based on an issue that not you but your opponent has framed."
DiCamillo said it is critical for Angelides to get Democrats back. He noted that the last Democrat who lost a gubernatorial race -- Kathleen Brown, who was defeated in 1994 -- had 65 percent of Democrats heading into the final month. Her opponent, incumbent Pete Wilson, had corralled 80 percent of GOP voters.
Dianne Feinstein, who lost to Wilson in 1990, also never attracted more than 65 percent of Democrats in pre-election polls, DiCamillo said.
"We're seeing Angelides is in the same boat," DiCamillo said. "He's got to turn this around."
Some voters said they still think there's time.
"Right now, if the election were tomorrow and I had to choose between the two of them, I'd either abstain on that office or even, maybe, vote for Arnold -- as much as that makes me cringe," said Ryan Kelling, 27, of Walnut Creek, who is registered as a decline-to-state but described himself as a left-leaning voter.
Kelling said Angelides seems to have spent all his time on the "anti-Arnold" platform. "I relish the opportunity to hear from Angelides about who he is and why I should vote for him," he said.
E-mail Tom Chorneau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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