Campus: San Francisco State University -- August 11, 2003

San Francisco State Experts on the Gov. Gray Davis Recall Campaign

As the California recall campaign continues to shape up with daily developments, several San Francisco State University faculty political experts are available to provide background and analysis. They will be available Saturday, Aug. 9, the deadline for candidates to file papers to run for California governor.

For additional assistance in reaching faculty experts in other areas, call the SFSU Office of Public Affairs at (415) 338-1665 or (415) 609-1666 or visit: www.sfsu.edu/~news/expert.htm

Corey Cook, assistant professor of political science, is an authority on state and urban regional politics. He can be reached at (510) 336-0978 (home).

Cook believes the chances of Gov. Gray Davis keeping his job are next to none, now that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante have announced their candidacies. "The front runners now are Schwarzenegger and Bustamante," Cook said. "Bustamante must be considered a front runner because he is the only candidate who can get Democrats to vote in the recall election. If either gets 20 percent of the vote, he will win."

Joe Tuman, professor of speech and communication studies, is an expert on political communication and public opinion. He can be reached at (510) 834-2294 (home), (510) 326-5254 (cell) or JTuman7643@aol.com.

Tuman said the recall election is becoming more like a general election, now that Democrats have entered the race. He believes this does not bode well for Gov. Davis. "The irony is that this election is structured in such an archaic and ridiculous way, he could lose and still get more votes than the person who would replace him," Tuman said. "There is nothing democratic about that."

David Tabb, professor of political science, is an expert on politics and elections. He can be reached at (510) 525-0890 (home) or dtabb@sfsu.edu.

Tabb said that Scharzenegger will attempt to target Independent voters who support the recall. He added that the recall effort, which delivered 1.6 million signatures from across the state, may also give Republicans a head start with voters going into the 2004 campaign. "The most important factor of the recall election is that it will provide voter lists for the Republican Party for 2004," he said. "You will have a 'likely voter' list ready to go with lots of non-partisans, Independents, and even some Democrats who signed recall petitions and who are ripe for Republican pickings."

Francis Neely, assistant professor of political science, is an authority on national politics, including media influence of political attitudes. He can be reached at (415) 386-3748 or fneely@sfsu.edu.

Neely said that it is possible that a recall election, regardless of the outcome, will cause Californians to think carefully about the power of direct democracy. If a Republican replaces Davis, the new governor faces Democratic majorities in Sacramento. If Davis stays, much public money will be spent to hold the election that doesn't change things. "But even if the outcome does turn out to be unsatisfying to many people, the allure of direct democracy in its various forms, especially the ballot initiative, will likely remain alive and well in the hearts and minds of most Californians," Neely said.

Contact: Office of Public Affairs (415) 338-1665; pubnews@sfsu.edu


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