Where Gavin Newsom and Larry Elder stand in polls on eve of California recall election

On the eve of the California recall election, Democratic leaders including President Joe Biden continue offering their support for Gov. Gavin Newsom as polls remain in his favor.

Tuesday’s ballot asks voters to decide if they want to keep or remove Newsom from office in the state’s second-ever gubernatorial recall election. Though the polls suggest the Democrat is well-positioned to defeat Republican challengers, registered voters who want the governor removed have 46 other choices.

The New York Times reported that as of Tuesday evening, Newsom’s lead is now large enough to withstand major polling errors. According to data by FiveThirtyEight, Newsom leads opposition to recall by 17 points or 58 to 41 percent. In 2020, polls overestimated the Democrats by about 5 percentage points.

If voters opt to remove Newsom from office, it only takes a simple plurality to win, which means there is no runoff.

Newsom’s lead rival is conservative radio host Larry Elder who’s earned nearly 30 percent of the vote compared to the other Republican candidates. Republican real estate broker Kevin Paffrath is second to Elder with 6 percent.

Elder, who’s become a frontrunner by speaking out against mask and vaccine mandates, has spent the days before the election campaigning hard.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaks during election night event on November 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. On September 14, 2021, California voters will decide whether to keep Newsom in office or recall him.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty

Two days before the recall, Elder appeared with actor Rose McGowan, who accused Newsom’s wife of attempting to prevent her from discussing her sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

“She wanted to meet me, she reached out to me,” McGowan told libertarian YouTuber, Dave Rubin, in a video posted Thursday. “This woman I don’t know, some blonde lady with the last name of Newsom, cold calls me and is like ‘Davis Boies wants to know what it would take to make you happy.'”

The Newsom campaign responded that the charge was “a complete fabrication.”

A poll released Friday by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies and the Los Angeles Times found that 60 percent of likely voters in California would keep Newsom in office while 39 percent would recall him. In July, the race was much closer with 50 percent of voters keeping the governor and 47 percent recalling him.

Friday’s poll also estimates that mail-in ballots will account for approximately half of the electorate, according to CNBC. Democratic consultant Michael Soneff told the news network that Republicans are expected to outperform Democrats when it comes to in-person voting.

According to daily data from Political Data Intelligence, Democratic voters have made up 52 percent of the nearly 7.8 million ballots returned so far. Republicans account for 25 percent. There are still 15 million ballots to be returned.

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