Written by Brett Wilkins
On Thursday, July 27th, the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) released a poll that found 47% of California voters support the Recall effort while 50% oppose the Recall, leaving the poll within the margin of error. These numbers come less than three weeks before the Recall election begins, as mail-in ballots will be sent to every voter in the state beginning August 16th.
The Recall Election process as explained by the LA Times will go like this: “Californians voting in the Sept. 14 election will receive a ballot with two questions: Should Newsom be recalled from office and, if he is ousted, which replacement candidate should take his place. If Newsom is recalled, the candidate on the ballot who receives the most votes wins — no matter how many votes he or she receives.
The same poll released by IGS puts conservative news host Larry Elder in first place with 18% of the vote, followed by John Cox and Kevin Faulconer receiving 10% of the vote, respectively. Caitlyn Jenner, by far the most well-known candidate, has only received 3% of the electoral support. While Larry Elder leads the pack of decided voters, 40% of the California electorate is still undecided, leaving a lot of wiggle room for other candidates to garner support. If elected, Elder would be California’s first black governor.
As gubernatorial hopefuls seek to gain more votes, they won’t have a chance at the governor’s mansion unless 51% of voters decide to vote YES on the Recall. Carl DeMaio, chair of Reform California, has been working tirelessly with volunteers state-wide in order to make sure that the recall effort is successful.
“Being in a dead heat in both of these polls is huge for us… Both polls reflect a huge shift against Newsom’s positions from just two months ago – and comes after his statewide tour giving away bribes and free stuff to voters,” stated DeMaio. The bribes referred to by DeMaio include $15 million in cash prizes and six dream vacations in exchange for vaccinations, as reported by the Associated Press. 36% of the Golden State’s population still has not received a single dose of the vaccine; with Hispanic, Black, and Native American populations being the most hesitant to receive the shot.
Besides his recent vaccine tour, the governor has raised over $32.5 million compared to pro-recall groups, which have only gathered $16.8 million in funding. In mid-July, Vice President Kamala Harris, former Senator for California, announced that she would be helping the Newsom administration in fighting the recall effort. Prominent Democrats, such as failed presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, have been fighting hard against the recall. But their efforts have been unsuccessful as they failed to stop the recall from going through in the first place. In response to the recent polls, Carl DeMaio stated, “Newsom may have a ton of special interest money to spend on misleading ads, but we have a growing and diverse movement of grassroots activists working hard to win a majority for YES on Recall.” Voter grievances include the high cost of living, skyrocketing crime rates, failing schools, ever-increasing homelessness, and special privileges for politicians.
A study by RamseySolutions, a group focused on helping to connect people in need with opportunities, found that the average cost of living in a California city is 38% higher than the cost of living in an average American city. The Public Policy Institute of California highlights “a troubling increase of about 30% in homicides.” As well as a 20% increase among “both motor vehicle theft and commercial burglaries increased markedly.” The statistics are compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels. According to a study conducted by WalletHub, California is rated 41st out of the 50 states when statistics such as quality and safety are compared. According to the Guardian, California schools fall 38% short of California’s own funding standards. California is home to the country’s third-highest homelessness rate, following New York and Hawaii, with 38.8 homeless people for every 10,000 residents. Newsom did not gain any favor with voters after being caught on camera, maskless, and in close proximity with others while dining out with lobbyists in November at the French Laundry following his own statewide lockdown. Kevin Kiley, Representative of California’s 6th Assembly district and gubernatorial hopeful, mentioned ending handouts and special privileges politicians receive at a recent rally while mentioning in particular ending the private DMV set aside for state officials that are paid for by state taxpayers.
As the new polls break headlines, grassroots organizations and organizers such as Carl DeMaio’s Reform California, and other supporters of the Gavin Newsom recall have a fighting chance to take the Governor’s mansion, which has not been in Republican control since Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election in 2006.