- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 8, 2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eda Zahl said she had concerns about the accusations that Arnold Schwarzenegger groped women and made unwanted sexual advances and lewd comments toward them.

But on Election Day it didn’t matter. Miss Zahl voted to recall Democratic Gov. Gray Davis and replace him with the superstar actor.

“If he is elected, I would like him to talk about it and address it — if not to me, then to his wife,” Miss Zahl said after voting in Hollywood.

The last-minute accusations of sexual misconduct registered little with female voters in Tuesday’s historic election, according to results of an exit poll conducted for the Associated Press and other news organizations.

About half of female voters supported the recall of Mr. Davis and more than 40 percent of them voted for Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican.

Just five days before the election, the Los Angeles Times detailed accusations from six women who said Mr. Schwarzenegger groped or sexually harassed them between 1975 and 2000. By Election Day, the number had grown to 16.

The charges prompted a state assemblyman to introduce legislation he dubbed “Arnold’s Law,” which would increase penalties and extend the statute of limitations for sexual harassment in the workplace. The state’s Democratic attorney general asked Mr. Schwarzenegger to cooperate in an investigation even though the statute of limitations had expired.

The morning the story appeared in the Times, Mr. Schwarzenegger apologized and admitted that he had “behaved badly,” but he denied specific charges. As the days wore on, he and his campaign advisers attacked the newspaper and political opponents for “puke politics.”

The Times lost 1,000 subscribers, and media observers debated the propriety of publishing such blockbuster revelations just days before the election.

t didn’t have much effect.

About seven in 10 Election Day voters said they made up their minds more than a month ago on how to vote on the recall, and the roughly 10 percent who decided within the last three days voted for the recall in similar proportions as those who decided earlier.

The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points, found 49 percent of men and 43 percent of women voted for Mr. Schwarzenegger; 32 percent of men and 36 percent of women voted for Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante.

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