One day away from the gubernatorial election in California, voter enthusiasm would not be as high as expected despite the huge amount of money poured into the race, authorities said on Monday.
Overall, turnout is expected to be modest with roughly 8.7 million - or 55 percent - of California's 15.8 million registered voters likely to cast ballots by the time polls close at 8 p.m., according to California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.
That would put turnout above the 51 percent of four years ago, when Governor Gray Davis won reelection, but below the 60 percent of October 2003, when voters recalled Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
McPherson projected that 44 percent of the votes cast in the Tuesday election will be by absentee ballot. By Friday afternoon, the ballots of at least 1.8 million voters had already reached county election offices.
This year, the governor's race and high-profile ballot measure contests have driven political spending to record heights. All told, California candidates and ballot measure campaigns have raised nearly 637 million dollars this year, according to the secretary of state's office, although some double-counting could mean the actual number is closer to 600 million dollars.
A large share of the money has poured into TV ad battles over Proposition 86, which would increase tobacco taxes to pay for health programs; and Proposition 87, which would tax oil companies to raise money for alternative energy.
A latest Field Poll showed that Governor Schwarzenegger led his rival, state Treasurer Phil Angelides, by a big margin, with the former getting the support of 49 percent of 795 likely voters surveyed, and the latter 33 percent.
The poll also showed that 12 percent of the likely voters surveyed were undecided and 6 percent were for other candidates. The poll has an margin of error of 3.5 percent.