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Arnold Gives the Truth a Try

October 3rd, 2003

What the heck, right? Nip it in the bud, act like you’re an honest, up-front guy, and admit to “playfully” groping half a dozen women, at least. Take advantage of the opportunity to claim they weren’t serious incidents, while your aides smear the women and blame the opposition for dirty tricks.

The fact is, the women spoke to others about the incidents long before the campaign. None of them were directed by the Davis team, affirmed by the newspaper that broke the story. And this has just come out, we have yet to hear the gory details, as we likely will in the next few days. Admitting the charges have merit may be a workable strategy, but it’s also risky: if the women’s stories are graphic and sympathetic enough, and if this brings back to the surface the stories of gang-banging a woman, talking about “getting away with” dumping one head-first into a toilet, and making statements often about female anatomy–there might start to be enough of a tarnish to take the energy out of the right-wing get-out-the-vote drive.

The CNN poll that put Schwarzenegger in the lead and the recall at 63% went uncontested for several days, enough to create an impression of winnability, and even help influence the outcome of later polls; but it did not match the private tracking polls of either the Democrats or the GOP. A later poll by the L.A. Times was widely reported to confirm Schwarzenegger’s lock on the race, but in fact, it only showed 56% in favor of the recall, a 3% variance with pre-debate polls, a statistical lack of change when you count the margin of error. The CNN poll was flat-out wrong. The L.A. TImes poll also showed Schwarzenegger and Bustamante within 5 points of each other, close to previous polls; the CNN poll had Schwarzenegger leading by 15%.

Clearly, the media is giving a huge advantage to Schwarzenegger–including a lenient handling of the most recent sex scandal, with few news organizations carrying much of it until the candidate started his spin cycle. And the nonsense with the polls–there is some major media spin going on here, folks. But don’t buy into it; it ain’t over till it’s over.

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