October 14, 2003


Voters like recall idea, but few want one: 72% of those outside California say they would not vote to recall their governor (Patrick McMahon, 10/14/03, USA TODAY)

Americans like the idea of being able to recall state officials, a new poll shows. But just days after Californians ousted their governor, 72% of those polled outside the Golden State aren't ready to recall their own chief executive.

"Whatever level of disaffection is out there, people have seen the circus in California, and they do not want it repeated in their state,'' says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. ''This includes states with unpopular governors.''

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 14, 2003 4:56 PM

Had they a choice, they'd rather keep their unpopular governor, who (more or less by definition) is not doing what they'd prefer being done.

I'll have to think about that one.

Posted by: old maltese at October 14, 2003 5:32 PM

It's probably true that a recall election is not likely to materialize in other states. How many other governors have pillaged a state to the extent that Davis has?

Posted by: Josh Silverman at October 14, 2003 5:59 PM

Josh is right.

Actually, this apparent contradiction is a good thing. Scheduled elections are the primary means for the electorate to select its leadership and to turn out incompetents. There should be a threshhold of pain (and unpopularity) below which the electorate will rationally wait to express its discontent at the next election. The difficulty of bringing about a recall election essentially sets that threshhold.

The recent California recall succeeded (where dozens before failed) because the level of pain exceeded the threshhold.

Posted by: Dave in LA at October 14, 2003 6:27 PM

Gov. "K" as he's known up here in Oregon could be a worthy candidate for recall. As a Democrat, he campaigned on the "we must live within our means" platform then passed an income tax increase because he didn't realize just "how bad the financial situation was." If the current attempt to repeal the increase fails, I wouldn't be surprised to see a genuine effort to oust him.

Posted by: John Resnick at October 14, 2003 11:44 PM

Assuming nearly all Americans believe themselves to be democrats, who would tell a pollster they are opposed in principle to recalling politicians?

Posted by: Peter B at October 15, 2003 5:57 AM


Posted by: David Cohen at October 15, 2003 4:00 PM