Cruz and Arnold are tied in the new Field Poll (yes, Bustamante is ahead 25%-22%, but it's within the 5% margin of error (PDF file)). Turns out that it's pretty much only moderate Republicans so wowed by Arnold they are taking him on faith (or celebrity worship, if one is more cynical). Everybody else seems to require convincing and I'm happy to see that. So it looks like there is a race yet, and what Arnold does now will be telling. Based on these early numbers, if one of the conservative Republicans (say, Simon) drops, and the other (McClintock) gets his votes, he splits the GOP vote evenly with Schwarzenegger. If Karl Rove et al can get both conservatives to drop out, Arnold looks a lot better. But if Arnold keeps surrounding himself with Dems like Buffett and Rob Lowe, and buys into the Prop 13 reforms, he could lose most Republicans. And if he turns hard right to win back the conservatives hammering him, can he win the state? Not without truly impressing or getting some breaks in his favor, I think -- like Cruz performing so poorly in the campaign spotlight that many Democrats just can't vote for him. There's a long way to go, but it's getting more interesting. [And don't forget Ueberroth.]
Are Field Polls somehow biased toward Democrats? Dan Weintraub points out that Field has correctly called every governor election back to 1982, when every poll got snookered by white voters who bailed on Tom Bradley. Can any poll be accurate in this unique race? Let's just say, I'm glad it's not my problem. (Weintraub posted at 12:01 a.m., so I'm guessing he had the Field numbers today -- they usually get out -- and sat on them until the embargo lapsed. But he scooped the morning papers, including his own.)
Friedman to media: No free pass for Arnold
Edited 2:50 p.m.