California Governor in Big Trouble With Latinos

Latest news from our ongoing work on Hispanic issues, this Press Release was sent out earlier today.



New Poll Shows Governor trailing 64% - 21% with key group

Washington DC -- A new poll of California Latinos shows a deep dislike of Governor Schwarzenegger.  In this poll of 600 Spanish-dominant likely voters, the governor has higher disapproval ratings than President Bush, and is losing to his opponent Phil Angelides by 64% - 21%.  Spanish-dominant Latino voters make up about 10% of the California electorate, with all Latinos now making up about 18% of the electorate as a whole. 

Download a power point presentation of the poll. 

These new results are consistent with national polls showing a dramatic erosion of support for Republicans in the Hispanic community.  In a recent NDN political fund survey, for example, Republicans trailed Democrats 59% - 23% with Spanish-speaking Latino voters, a dramatic drop for a group that gave at least 40% of their vote to President Bush in 2004.  (Visit to view the survey.)  

These results also confirm a recent Field Poll's finding that the California governor is not only struggling to put together an electoral majority, but also confirms that the Governor is in trouble with the overall Latino community.  In the just released Field Poll the governor topped out at 44% with all voters, and trailed his opponent 42% - 30% with all Latinos.  (Visit  to view the Field Poll).

"Despite being an immigrant himself, Governor Schwarzenegger has completely lost the faith of Latino immigrant voters," said Steve Phillips, President of PowerPAC.  "The depth of dislike for the governor in this increasingly influential community will not be easily reversed and spells trouble for the Republican Party in California for a long time to come."

"The immigration debate this year has turned Latinos across the nation against Republicans," said Joe Garcia, Director of NDN’s Hispanic Strategy Center.  "But here in California, if there is a close election, this deep and intense dislike of the current governor – if tapped into - could be the key to electing a new governor.”

This poll, conducted by Bendixen & Associates on behalf of PowerPAC and the NDN Political Fund, was of likely Hispanic voters in three counties in Southern California – Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego – that are more Republican than other parts of the state.

Some of the key findings include: 

  • Among this audience, Phil Angelides is leading Schwarzenegger 64% to 21%, despite more than half of these voters having no positive or negative opinion of Angelides (54% say he is unknown to them).
  • Schwarzenegger is not only deeply unpopular in these communities, with 69% holding a negative view of him, but he is also seen as untrustworthy. 73% of these voters said they do not trust Schwarzenegger to represent the interests of the Latino community.
  • These voters are concerned about their growing inability to afford a middle-class life in California, listing high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, and high natural gas and electricity bills among their top concerns facing the state. The national debate over immigration is also deeply important to these voters, with nearly 60% saying growing anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment in the country has affected them and their family.
  • Fully 68% of these voters said the recent comments by Gov. Schwarzenegger, in which he referenced a Latina Assemblywoman as being “very hot” due to her “black blood mixed with Latino blood” were insensitive or racist, with only 26% agreeing the comments were “mostly harmless,” as was the primary reaction portrayed in the media.

NDN is a 21st Century Progressive advocacy and political organization. PowerPAC is a California-based political action committee working to get people of color engaged in politics and into political office at the local and state level.