Today is the day. After months of anticipation, the Sept. 14 recall election is here.


Heading into Election Day, the media narrative has shifted from expectations of a close, competitive election to a potential landslide for the governor. Public opinion polling has shifted significantly in favor of rejecting the effort to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.

A Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll released last week indicates 60% of likely voters opppose the recall. A Public Policy Institute of California poll likewise indicates 58% oppose the recall.


This is in stark contrast to public opinion polling from IGS just over a month ago that suggested a much closer race, with 47% of likely voters expected to vote in favor of removing Newsom, versus 50% to retain the governor. One outlier poll around that time conducted by SurveyUSA indicated that 51% of likely voters supported the recall, while just 40% opposed the recall.


Also in contrast to expectations from just a month ago, it appears that turnout may be higher than expected. The conventional narrative a month ago was that recall supporters were the most engaged and most likely to vote, while registered Democrats in particular were less engaged with the recall, and, thus, might not turn out in numbers sufficient to defeat it.


Tracking of returned ballots by registered political party indicate that large numbers of Democratic voters have in fact been returning their ballots. Given the party registration advantage of Democrats over Republicans, basic arithmetic indicates it would take relatively low turnout among Democrats and very high turnout among Republicans to give the recall the best chance to prevail.

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Of course, people have reasons to vote for or against the recall independent of partisanship.

Plenty of Democratic parents have been rightly frustrated at how school closures were handled throughout the pandemic, while certainly many Democratic independent contractors were hard hit by Assembly Bill 5. On the flipside, some Republicans may simply find themselves unpersuaded by the idea of removing Newsom from office just over a year until the next election, or may not be thrilled by the choice of replacement candidates.


How independents will break down will certainly influence whether the recall is close but successful or whether the recall is decisively defeated.

A defeat of the recall would, obviously, be a win for Newsom. The extent of the victory will likely influence the extent to which Newsom resumes his aggressively progressive policy agenda, which for the most part has been halted due to the threat of the recall.


A successful recall would be the biggest blow to the political status quo since … the 2003 recall. The replacement, whoever it is, will most certainly be a Republican, who will promptly be met with a wall of opposition from the Legislature and fellow statewide electeds. It would also be up to the replacement to make the most of the political capital from the successful recall, and particularly the bully pulpit, to advance policies in the best interests of Californians.

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Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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