SAN FRANCISCO -- Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking office with a clear mandate from millions of people in Southern California's suburbs and the state's vast interior, where 70 percent of voters favored recalling Governor Gray Davis.
But liberals are mourning along the state's northern coast, particularly San Francisco, where 80 percent voted against the recall. In the city that nurtured beatniks in the 1950s and hippies in the '60s, Schwarzenegger came in a distant second to Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, a Democrat, among the replacement candidates.
Some residents joke about forming a separate state, with San Francisco as the capital. Others are surrendering to reality, accepting the Republican actor's impending move to Sacramento.
Oscar Grande, an environmental activist, said that he is "in shock" over the results of Tuesday's recall election but that he takes comfort knowing his friends and neighbors feel equally disturbed by Schwarzenegger's victory. "This is still San Francisco, and we're like our own little island," said the 30-year-old organizer at an environmental justice organization. "The folks in the suburbs and the Central Valley were so pumped about him -- it really blew me away."
Southern Californians voted overwhelmingly to oust Davis and replace him with Schwarzenegger. Nearly 3 out of 4 voters in Orange County supported the recall, and Schwarzenegger received 64 percent of the replacement vote, to Bustamante's 17 percent.
In San Diego County, 66 percent of voters favored getting rid of Davis. Fifty-nine percent selected Schwarzenegger.
Schwarzenegger won decisively not only in the Southern California suburbs that gave Richard Nixon his start in politics, but also across most of inland California. California's interior has been growing more conservative for at least a decade. But Schwarzenegger's support in sparsely populated farming areas provided a stunning example of the long-term geopolitical shift, said John J. Pitney Jr., a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.