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California Governor Hopefuls Take to the Airwaves - 2003-08-27


Candidates in California's recall race are promoting their messages over the airwaves. Two Republican candidates have launched media campaigns, joining Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in urging the state's voters to oust Democratic governor Gray Davis.

With California's economy at its lowest point in years and state government facing a massive budget shortfall, conservative state senator Tom McClintock says he'll turn back the clock to a time when things were better.

Former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth lived there too. The man who organized the 1984 Los Angeles summer Olympics reminds voters of his accomplishments in a radio ad.

The ads of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the leading Republican candidate, are becoming ubiquitous on California television.

In the six weeks before the October 7 election, the media campaign will only intensify, especially when the Democrats get into the picture.

Public opinion pollster Mark DiCamillo says the theme of the early ads is one Californians may respond to. Mr. DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, says voters have a gloomy view of the state's economy and want to see improvements.

"The predominant view of Californians is that the state is in bad economic times, and that the state is seriously off in the wrong direction. Three in four voters also say the financial condition of the state government has worsened in the past year, and most are dissatisfied with the state budget that was passed last month," he says.

That budget relied on cuts in services, borrowing and transfers, pushing billions of dollars of debt into the future.

The pollster says some voters see the recall of the governor as being the first step toward solving the state's problems.

"Voters who are intending to vote "yes" to recall the governor, and especially voters who are intending to support Republican candidates, they're more likely to be optimistic that things will change for the better in coming years," he says.

Governor Davis says things are changing for the better already, but that an unexpected change in political leadership could derail that.

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