Governor Gavin Newsom on his way to victory

Governor Gavin Newsom on his way to victory

Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, chats with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris during the No on the Recall campaign event at the IBEW-NECA Joint Apprenticeship Training Center on September 8, 2021 in San Leandro, Calif. .

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Gavin Newsom is the second California governor to face a recall election and will likely be the first to survive.

All eyes are on the Golden State, as the September 14 election is just one day away, a fast approaching deadline for registered California voters to vote by mail or in person.

The Democratic governor has spent months campaigning vigorously against the recall effort, which he describes as a sweeping GOP takeover that put his career and California’s future on the line.

With its war chest worth over $ 70 million, Newsom has blanketed the airwaves and digital space with anti-recall ads featuring prominent Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the former President Barack Obama. The governor halted several campaigns across the state to reach Democratic voters directly and is even expected to campaign with President Joe Biden in Long Beach on Monday night.

As Newsom faced a tight election race just a month ago, his massive campaign efforts appear to have paid off. Experts, recent polls, and early ballot return rates all indicate Newsom is now on track to defeat the easy recall effort.

“It would be a huge ballot omission for the recall effort to be successful at this point,” Democratic Councilor Michael Sonff said. “Newsom’s chances are great, I would love to be Gavin Newsom more than anyone in this race.”

Newsom’s Newly Inspired Democratic Base

Complacency among Newsom’s Democratic supporters posed a potential threat to its recall prospects, although Democrats outnumber Republican voters in the state at around 2 to 1.

However, a poll released Friday by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies and the Los Angeles Times indicates that Democratic voters have become more engaged in the upcoming recall elections. Sixty percent of potential voters in California said they would vote to keep Newsom in power, while only 39 percent would vote to recall him.

This is the first poll to show Newsom beats memory by more than 20 percentage points, a jump from a previous poll conducted by the same institutions six weeks ago. The July poll showed a very close race, with 50% of potential voters supporting Newsom’s retention and 47% supporting its recall.

A September poll from the Public Policy Institute of California showed that 58% of potential voters were in favor of Newsom, while 39% wanted to withdraw it. SurveyUSA and The San Diego Union Tribune found that 54% of potential voters were in favor of keeping Newsom, a major change from their August poll in which 51% supported its removal.

“It appears that the enthusiasm gap between Republicans and Democrats, which quickly gave so much life to remember, seems to have faded,” said Dan Schnoor, a professor of politics at three California universities who previously headed the California Fair Political Practice Commission. .

Newsom has spent most of the summer trying to convince the Democratic base that [the recall] Worth their time and attention. And it is clear from the polls that he has been successful in these efforts, ”said Schnoor.

This increased commitment from Democrats is also reflected in the early return rates of mail-in ballots.

Polls conducted by the Berkeley Institute of Government Studies and the Los Angeles Times estimate that mail-in ballots will make up about half of voters.

On Saturday, registered Democratic voters made up about 52% of the nearly 7,800,000 returned ballots so far, according to daily data from Political Data Intelligence. Republicans are far behind, with just 25% of them.

According to Sonf, Republicans were expected to return the ballot faster than Democrats because of their greater interest in the recall election months earlier. Now they are scrambling to catch up.

“Democrats have far surpassed Republicans in returning the ballots so far and have opened up a huge lead. The Republicans are trying to close the gap and are certainly making progress, but in the end, they are not going, ”continued Sonaf.

While more than 14,470,000 ballots have yet to be returned, Sonoff said the most recent return rates are “definitely a good start for Newsom.”

Sonoff noted that Republicans’ low rates of return so far following the 2020 presidential election were not entirely surprising.

Former President Donald Trump spoke out against postal voting last year, mistakenly claiming that it is full of voter fraud and damaging Republicans.

Sonoff has alleged that Trump has convinced much of his Republican base that postal voting is “corrupt,” which may explain the Republicans’ dismal rate of return votes in recall elections so far.

“Postal voting has existed in the United States since the late 1700s and has always been an integral part of elections, but Donald Trump’s view that postal voting is inherently bad has had a lasting impact on the Republican Party. , said Sonaf.

According to Sonf, on Election Day Republicans are expected to outperform Democrats when it comes to in-person voting.

This is also reflected in a survey conducted by the Berkeley Institute of Government Studies and the Los Angeles Times. Among potential voters who said they would vote in person on polling day, 77% said they would vote to remove the governor.

However, given the Democrats’ substantial lead in mail-order ballots so far, this should not have a significant impact on the outcome of the election, according to Sonoff.

Newsom’s campaign strategy against the coronavirus

Allegations that Newsom distorted the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic fueled a Republican-led recall effort in 2020.

However, in the weeks leading up to the recall election, Newsom’s campaign captured fears of the pandemic to help secure its potential victory.

GOP adviser Rob Stutzman said: “The biggest irony of this election is that the recall effort nine months ago has now helped Newsom stop it.”

Californians have ranked the coronavirus as the number one problem facing the state, according to a September investigation by the Public Policy Institute of California, or PPIC. Several of Newsom’s anti-recall ads and campaigns have taken off in recent weeks, warning voters of what could happen to the state’s coronavirus conditions if a Republican rival replaced him in power.

“Republicans try to remember [Newsom] Reverse common sense COVID safeguards to and from office and health workers and school workers, ”former President Barack Obama said in the latest anti-recall announcement.

Every voter ‘s vote “can be the difference between protecting our children and putting them at risk, helping Californians recover or taking us back,” Obama said.

Another anti-recall ad slammed conservative talk show host Larry Elder, the Republican frontrunner in the election.

A narrator said in the ad: “The best Republican candidate, he pushed deadly conspiracy theories and ended the vaccination mandate on day one.”

Elder promised at a rally in Fresno at the end of August to cancel all mandates for vaccines and masks. “When I become governor, assuming there are still warrants for vaccines and warrants for face masks, they will be removed before I drink my first cup of tea,” he said at the rally. , applauding the crowd. Inspired to scold.

Governor Candidate Larry Elder speaks during a press conference at the Lux Hotel Sunset Boulevard on Sunday, September 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Francine Orr | Los Angeles Weather | Getty Images

Elder, who has been a widely known figure in California for decades, has a significant advantage over the other 45 candidates vying to replace Newsom. Thirty-eight percent of potential voters said they would support his candidacy if Newsom was replaced, up from 18% at the end of July, according to a poll conducted by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies and the Los Angeles Times.

Elder has openly rejected the coronavirus health measures, even saying in an Aug.31 interview with CNN that science does not suggest that young people should be given vaccines and masks in schools. Must wear

Newsom’s latest strategy aims to capitalize on Elder’s opposition to coronavirus health measures, which have urged Democrats to act and vote on the recall, Schnoor said.

“One of the campaign ways to motivate voters is to tell them very scary and dangerous things about the opposition,” Schnoor said. “And Larry Elder is perfect for that. If it didn’t exist, Gavin Newsom might have wanted to invent it.

In addition to warning voters of his Republican challengers, the governor has spent the last few weeks of his campaign raving about his efforts to fight the coronavirus in recent months.

“California has the lowest [Covid] The case rate in the United States, and among the highest vaccination rates in the United States, is due to the fact that we believe in science, we believe in public health. We are not ideological, we are open to discussion and interested in evidence, ”the governor said Wednesday at a rally in San Leandro with Vice President Kamala Harris.

PPIC President Mark Baldassare suggests Newsom’s response to the coronavirus could be another of his strengths in the recall election, which could further boost the Democratic vote.

Nearly six in 10 Californians and potential voters approve of Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a September PPIC poll. And more than three in four Californians believe the state government is doing a “great or good job” in distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

“The message around Covid, and the importance of having the governor to continue these efforts around Covid, which is considered the number one problem in California, is something that has been motivating Democratic voters in recent days. has been, ”Baldassare said.

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