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Schwarzenegger for president? Not so fast, poll finds

Constitutional limits for U.S. citizens born abroad

Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor in California.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor in California.

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Governor Schwarzenegger? Maybe. President Schwarzenegger? Not so fast.

Those are the results from a new CNN/USA TODAY/ Gallup poll on the possible political future of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the leading Republican candidate in California's gubernatorial recall race.

The national poll found that 42 percent of all Americans -- not just Californians -- would vote for Schwarzenegger as governor in their state -- not enough to win but a hefty chunk of votes for a political newcomer. (In California, however, if voters decide to oust Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, his successor does not have to win a majority of votes, just a plurality.)

But when it comes to leading the country, seven in 10 oppose amending the Constitution to allow U.S. citizens born in another country to become president. That's bad news for the Austrian-born action hero, who under the Constitution would be barred from serving as president even if he wins in California on October 7.

For the record, Schwarzenegger hasn't said he has his eyes on the White House, but California's wild recall race has sparked all sorts of political speculation, and the actor's marriage to Kennedy niece Maria Shriver only adds to the hype.

The poll was based on interviews with 1,009 adult Americans conducted by telephone on August 25 and August 26. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The poll results come as Schwarzenegger is calling on other Republicans in the crowded field of would-be California governors to drop out of the race. Businessman Bill Simon, the GOP nominee against Davis last year, did just that, but other Republicans remain, including former Olympics chairman Peter Ueberroth and state Sen. Tom McClintock.

A recent Los Angeles Time poll found Schwarzenegger trailing Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante 35 percent to 22 percent. Many Republicans believe the competition among the GOP candidates is hurting their chances to grab the governor's mansion.

California voters will decide October 7 whether to recall Davis. The ballot consists of two parts: the recall question and a list of 135 candidates to choose from if Davis is ousted.

While Simon said he is no longer a candidate, officials with the California secretary of state's office said his name will remain on the ballot as the list of candidates was certified and will not change for election purposes.

--CNN Polling Director Keating Holland contributed to this report.

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