Can Schwarzenegger Swing California to Bush?

Judy Keen has a piece in USA Today called “The Arnold factor” which argues that it is possible.

Although Kerry has double-digit leads in recent polls, Bush allies still think Schwarzenegger’s clout could turn things around. He’s the state’s most popular governor in almost 30 years with an approval rating of 65%, according to a Field Poll released Tuesday. “Nothing is more important to us in the Bush campaign than Arnold Schwarzenegger’s success. Nothing,” says Gerry Parsky, chairman of Bush’s California campaign.

The article, itself, though gives rather little evidence that the implausible could happen. It’s not so much that Schwarzenegger and Bush aren’t the best of buddies but that their brands of Republicanism are starkly different. Bush is a social conservative; Schwarzenegger isn’t. It is virtually inconceivable to me that Bush could carry the state. Indeed, if it gets to that point where Bush has a shot in California, it’ll be because the wheels have fallen off the Kerry campaign and we’ll see another 1984 or 1988-style blowout, with Bush winning everything but Massachussets and DC.

Somehow, I don’t see that happening.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. BigFire says:

    Not a chance in hell. Schwarzenegger’s election to governorship has a lot to do with his own charisma and the absolute hell that was Gray Davis’ reign in California. However, California is host to so many “anyone but Bush” that not even Schwarzenegger can help.

  2. Nick says:

    I don’t care what the polls say- the financial markets are still clearly indicating that Bush is ahead. (I’m speaking of Tradesports and Iowa Futures).

    Polling is silly, as it doesn’t take into account the electoral breakdown. And this is before we even begin to discuss some of the wordings of the questions.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Practically speaking Kerry can’t become president without California’s 55 electoral votes. I honestly don’t believe that even Ah-nold can swing Cah-lee-for-ni-a to Bush but it’s at least possible that he can make Kerry defend California. This could cause Kerry to devote fewer resources to Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida. Retaining (or picking up as the case may be) these states gives Bush the win.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Nick: Polling has flaws but is much more accurate than the futures markets.

    Dave: Sure. But it works both ways. Resources Bush devotes to losing California could be devoted to the swing states.

  5. I concur wholeheartedly with James.

  6. DC Loser says:

    Prop 187 guaranteed a Dem lock on the California vote. Biggest GOP mistake ever, and it’s all Pete Wilson’s fault.

  7. McGehee says:

    Prop 187 guaranteed a Dem lock on the California vote.

    Forever and ever? Are you suggesting Prop. 187 is California’s answer to the Civil War?

  8. DC Loser says:

    For our purposes might as well be forever….what’s your scenario for the GOP recapturing the Latino vote?

  9. McGehee says:

    what’s your scenario for the GOP recapturing the Latino vote?

    How about reminding the ones who are eligible to vote that, since they’re legal and all, it doesn’t really make sense for them to be offended by a proposition that was aimed at discouraging illegal immigration.

    But I suppose you’re right — try that in California and the La Raza types would accuse you of racism, which is why Prop. 187 offended legal Latinos.

    Latinos in California have bought into the same lie that keeps African-Americans voting for the party of Sheets Byrd.

  10. DC Loser says:

    So what’s the difference between voting for Byrd and voting for Strom Thurmond?