Polls show California governor likely to survive recall attempt

US politics and policy updates

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s chances of staying in office improved ahead of Tuesday’s recall election, with a surge in early-voting Democrats and polls showing most voters opposed an attempt to remove him from office.

Newsom will get another boost on Monday when President Joe Biden appears alongside him at an event in Long Beach, demonstrating how important it is to the White House that America’s largest state remains under control. of the Democratic Party. Vice President Kamala Harris and Senator Elizabeth Warren have also campaigned for him.

Tuesday’s vote will introduce an unusual election between a wealthy, ambitious first-term governor against 46 challengers – a diverse group that includes Republican politicians, a YouTube star, a reality show character, a billboard model, and several law enforcement officers. It has cost the state more than $275 million, and even if Newsom wins, he will have to run for re-election next year.

Recent polls show Newsom is gaining momentum, with about 60% of likely voters saying they oppose his removal, an improvement from 50% in July. He tried for most of the summer out of concern about an “enthusiasm gap” that could reduce voter turnout among Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in the state with ratio of two to one.

Strong voting efforts by public sector unions and community groups in recent weeks have helped close the gap. Steve Philips, co-founder of political organization group PowerPAC+, says Newsom’s shift is due to outreach efforts targeting Latinos, Asian Americans and other people of color in recent weeks this.

“The risk is that people won’t notice and turn around,” he said. “I feel better than I did six weeks ago” about Newsom’s chances.

Larry Elder speaks to supporters during the Asia Rally for Recall at the Asian Garden Mall in Little Saigon, Westminster, California

Larry Elder speaks to supporters during the Asia Rally for Recall at the Asian Garden Mall in Little Saigon, Westminster, California © AFP via Getty Images

But the arrival of Larry Elder as the frontrunner to replace Newsom seems to have given the governor’s campaign much-needed clarity. Elder, a conservative “shock jock” radio station, opposes abortion rights, supports the abolition of the minimum wage, and opposes mask and vaccine regulations.

Newsom said last week that Elder, a Republican, “is a glorification” of Texas’ recent restrictions on abortion, an issue that spurred California Democrats. According to the Berkeley IGS Poll, 65% of voters said electing a Republican governor would “threaten” state policies on issues like climate change, immigration, health care and abortion.

Newsom has raised concerns among Democrats that the recall could affect their limited control of the US Senate. Elder has pledged to do just that, saying he will appoint a Republican to replace Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, 88, if she cannot fulfill her term.

“They were afraid that I would replace her with a Republican, which I certainly would and it would be an earthquake in Washington, DC,” Elder said in a recent radio interview. this.

Such issues have roiled the Democratic base in the state even as Newsom and California face a host of problems, including drought, wildfires, homelessness and the impact of climate change. continuity of Covid-19. Newsom may have helped himself on a second issue in late August when the state began issuing new $600 stimulus checks to residents making less than $75,000 a year.

Elected in 2018 by a 62% margin of Republican businessman John Cox – who was also on the recall ballot – Newsom has positioned himself as a leader of the “resistance” against Trump. His standing in the state was solid a year ago, when he received an approval rate of 64%. But since then, many have been frustrated by the state’s Covid restrictions.

Republicans began seeking to recall Newsom almost immediately after he took office. They succeeded in raising enough signatures to revoke on their sixth attempt, marking the second time in California history that a governor has faced a recall election. Democrat Gray Davis lost to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a 2003 recall vote, who himself faced seven recall attempts during his two terms.

Despite the improved poll numbers, risks remain for Newsom. The California vote required Newsom to defeat the recall by majority, but if he failed the candidate with the most votes would serve the rest of the term. This means that his potential successor could beat him by a much smaller margin.

If he prevails, Democrats are expected to launch an effort to reform California’s 110-year-old recall system.

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