Some early numbers in the California recall of Governor Gavin Newsom have given Democrats a spark of optimism after a long summer of concern. A couple of late polls have been more positive and early ballot returns show a good Democratic start.
The Latest Polls
The political website, 538, tracks the latest polls and reports that Newsom now is up 4 points from just 2 points a couple of days ago. A YouGov poll of August 12 gave Newsom a 4 point advantage and a Change Research poll of August 25 claims he’s up 12 (after adjustment).
A debate among California election experts has been the projected ballot return with the assumption a lower return hurts Newsom. An off-year September special election with mostly low-key candidates, except for Newsom, could have a turnout as low as 30 percent. Twelve days into ballot returns with about 2 weeks left has attracted 16 percent, raising Democrats’ hope that their turnout efforts will work.
Democrats make up 45 percent of the California electorate (22.2 million), but have returned, as of August 28, 54 percent of the ballots (a 19% return).
Of course, Republican voters may mail their ballots later or vote in-person. Beyond their inclination to not trust or like mail-back voting, their motivation may be to see which, if any, of the Republican candidates emerge. Also, the later they vote, the more it may leave the Democrats overconfident.