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Poll: Schwarzenegger has wide support

Four recall candidates list millions in financial holdings

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Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, right, meet independent candidate Arianna Huffington at the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger's financial statement, released for California's gubernatorial recall race, reveals millions in holdings. CNN's Kelly Wallace reports. (August 11)
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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger has the attention of Californians, who, according to a poll released Sunday, think he should be taken seriously as a candidate for governor.

He leads the long list of hopefuls, with 42 percent of poll respondents saying there is a good chance they would vote for him. To win -- if voters agree to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis -- a candidate needs only a plurality of votes.

Seventy-three percent of those polled said they regard Schwarzenegger's candidacy seriously, and 23 percent said they did not.

Sunday's poll was conducted by CNN, USA Today and Gallup, and included interviews with 801 registered voters from August 7-10. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.

Because of the nature of the unprecedented recall election, the poll does not project a winner or predict how people might vote. (Gallery: The recall and candidates)

Nearly 200 wannabe California governors were waiting Monday to learn where names will appear on the October 7 ballot -- and whether the secretary of state found their nomination papers in order.

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley is expected to draw a randomized alphabet Monday that will determine the order that as many as 193 candidates will be placed on the ballot, and on Wednesday he must hand over to county election officials a certified list of candidates.

Sunday's poll questioned respondents on about a dozen of the best known candidates.

Schwarzenegger, however, has a commanding lead among the small group.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante is second, with 22 percent of respondents saying there is a good chance they would vote for him. Republican Bill Simon is third with 13 percent.

Also in Schwarzenegger's favor is that 72 percent of respondents think his campaign should be taken seriously. More than half -- 52 percent -- say he would do a better job than a career politician.

The poll was released late Sunday, a day on which four well-known candidates revealed financial holdings valued at millions of dollars.

Schwarzenegger, whose filing was 63 pages long, listed millions of dollars in stocks, companies and real estate along with gifts as unusual as a $250 box of cigars from motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

Schwarzenegger listed other gifts -- also received during the past year -- including a talking robot skull from "Terminator 3" valued at $1,000. The skull, according to the filing, was a gift from film producers of the actor's latest movie.

In a later news conference, Schwarzenegger's advisers revealed how much he earned, gave to charity and paid in taxes during the past few years.

Schwarzenegger's tax returns for 2002 were not available because the actor received an extension, said his financial adviser, Paul Wachter.

In 2000, his total income was $31,104,000. Schwarzenegger paid $8.5 million in federal income taxes and $2.6 million in state taxes.

That year, Schwarzenegger donated $742,000 to charity. The top five recipients were Special Olympics; the Simon Wiesenthal Center; St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California; United Friends of the Children, which creates programs for foster children; and the Inner-City Games.

In 2001, Schwarzenegger's income was $26,138,000. He paid $7,395,000 in federal income taxes and $1,923,000 in state taxes.

His charitable donations that year totaled $4.1 million, which included cash contributions to the Twin Towers Fund; Arnold's All-Stars, which creates after-school programs; the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund; Best Buddies, a foundation for those with intellectual disabilities; and United Community Appeal for India, an earthquake-relief organization.

Schwarzenegger also donated a piece of residential real estate property, worth more than $2 million, to the Catholic Church.

Schwarzenegger was not required, by law, to reveal the details of his finances. Candidates were required only to check ranges of their holdings -- not exact amounts. (Full Story).

The filing by independent candidate and columnist Arianna Huffington was the shortest among the prominent candidates, at just four pages. She placed a value of at least $1 million on her company, Christabella Inc., where she listed her role as a writer, speaker and commentator. Her home in Los Angeles was valued at more than $1 million.

In his filing, Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt listed himself as chairman of LFP Inc., a magazine and Internet publishing company he valued at more than $1 million. The self-described "smut peddler" also listed large real estate holdings and named himself as chairman of Majestic Properties in Gardenia, California, which was valued at more than $1 million.

Simon's filing was the longest, at 184 pages. His diversified holdings include at least 50 stocks and funds, among them Cisco, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, Microsoft, Pfizer, Raytheon, Viacom, Waste Management, and AOL Time Warner, the parent company of CNN. Simon also is a partner in an umbrella group called Alham Inc., a position that earned him at least $1 million last year. (More on candidates' finances)

The recall effort -- pushed by Republicans -- sprang from widespread dissatisfaction with Davis' tenure amid a weak state economy and the growing budget deficit.

Davis, in an interview Saturday with CNN, asked former President Clinton to help him retain his position by visiting the state and speaking against the recall. Describing himself as a "a fighter, not a quitter," Davis said he expects to be in the governor's office October 8. (Full story)

CNN correspondents Dana Bash, Miguel Marquez, Bob Franken, Candy Crowley, Deborah Feyerick, Kelly Wallace and Thelma Gutierrez, senior political analyst Bill Schneider, Producer Eric Fiegel, and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield contributed to this report.


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