September 27, 2021

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Gavin Newsom recall will end in a whimper, final polls in California say – SFGate

3 min read

For Gov. Gavin Newsom to get recalled on Sept. 14, it will require one of the largest polling misses of all time.

Two new polls released Thursday and Friday show Newsom easily surviving the recall ballot’s first question (Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled?) thanks to a newly motivated Democratic base.

The first poll, from Survey USA and the San Diego Union-Tribune, shows that 54% of likely voters plan to vote “no” on question one while 41% plan to vote “yes,” which continues Newsom’s momentum in Survey USA polls. A shock July poll from the firm showed “yes” winning by double digits, but an end-of-August Survey USA poll showed that momentum had flipped in Newsom’s favor, with “no” beating “yes” by eight percentage points.

The second poll, which was released Friday morning by the Berkeley Institute of Government Studies and Los Angeles Times, shows Newsom opening up an even bigger lead on question one. The poll found that a whopping 60% of likely voters plan to vote “no,” compared to just 39% who plan to vote “yes” — making it the first poll that has shown Newsom beating back the recall by more than 20 percentage points.

The previous Berkeley/Los Angeles Times poll from July had shown a tight race with 47% in favor of recalling Newsom and 50% opposed, as the firm adjusted the weighting of the poll to account for a partisan enthusiasm gap that would make the recall electorate more Republican than the broader electorate. At the time, 90% of Republicans said they were highly interested in the recall election, compared to only 58% of Democrats and 53% of independents.

Now, however, Democrats are much more motivated (the poll’s exact enthusiasm numbers were not immediately released) after Newsom, armed with a massive fundraising advantage, deployed his army of staffers in these final weeks to bombard previously apathetic Democratic voters with television ads, text messages, phone calls and door visits warning of conservative radio host Larry Elder. Elder has led on question two (If Newsom is recalled, which candidate should replace him?) by a double-digit margin in every single poll since August.

“In the early going it was probably more about whether they liked Newsom or not. It was personalized,” said Mark DiCamillo, the director of the poll. “By attacking his challenger, which is Elder, and framing it as ‘Look at what you’ll get if you vote for this guy’ … I think that really won the day.”

When averaging the results of five of the most recent recall polls (Berkeley, Survey USA, Suffolk University, YouGov, Public Policy Institute of California), “no” leads “yes” 57.2% to 40.8%.

Large, top-of-ticket races typically don’t see polling misses that large. However, down-ballot races such as ballot measures have seen polling misses larger than 16 percentage points, and because the Newsom recall is scheduled in an off-year and not in November, there’s a chance polls will perform closer to how they perform for down-ballot races than how they perform for top-of-ticket races.

In any case, Californians won’t have to wait much longer to find out the result as recall Election Day is just four days away.

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