The California Secretary of State’s office reported on Thursday that 21% of all registered voters in California have turned in a Gubernatorial recall election ballot so far, with ballots being returned by mail currently being the majority favorite method of returning votes.
According to the report, ballots from 4,685,974 of the 22,333,595 total number of eligible voters of the recall election have had ballots accepted so far. Of these, roughly 3.9 million have been returned via the mail with another 800,000 being returned via voter drop boxes. The rest of the votes have been returned by other methods like leaving at a drop off location and fax.
Overall, the ballot acceptance rate has been found to be at 98.5% statewide, largely due to questionable ballots still being reviewed by election figures. Very few have been outright rejected so far.
The SOS results show that many voters will likely be voting either close to election day or in-person on election day, a wait of which that may benefit Governor Gavin Newsom. While earlier surveys showed Newsom barely beating back the recall effort against him, including narrow splits of 48%-46%, 50%-47%, 52%-48%, and 50.2%-49.8% being unveiled in late July and early-mid August, more recent polls have shown a different story.
Since late August, Newsom has climbed to around an 8 point lead. The recently released September Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) survey showed a 58%-39% split in favor of Newsom, with concerns over the new delta variant of COVID-19 being the largest reported reason for Newsom’s upswing of support.
Many election analysts noted on Thursday that the SOS voter percentage and the recent surge in favor of keeping Newsom point to Newsom likely keeping his job past September 14th, although by with many also noting that it is not a foregone conclusion just yet.
Signs point to Newsom defeating recall, experts note that election is still too close to call at this point
“A lot of these surveys being conducted are using survey methods that tend to skew towards Democratic voters,” explained former lobbyist Harry Schultz to the Globe on Thursday. “First of all you need to get the person wanted on the phone to actually do the survey, which is no small feat today. Many of these surveys also tend to focus on the San Francisco area or around Los Angeles and San Diego due to needing to be more centralized. While they do have more of a population, it often doesn’t fit exactly were everyone is proportionally.”
“So while these surveys are a good indicator, especially aggregate scores of multiple surveys, it’s also not accurate. These same methods predicted Hillary Clinton beating both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump in the 2016 Democratic primary and presidential election in Michigan respectively, but she lost both times . It was a shock both times too, but it was because those polling methods failed. They failed to account for many variables. And there are so many more, including many in California last year that had Democrats winning again in House seats in Orange County when they really lost 3 out of the 4 contested ones, as well as the infamous 1936 Literary Digest poll that had Alf Landon beating FDR for the presidency because of, again, outdated and skewed methods being used.”
“Newsom is surging once again right now. Those Democratic attack ads are working, but a returning COVID threat also have more people returning to Newsom, who has been big on more drastic measures to try and reduce spread, rather than another candidate, many of whom are against mandates and closing California again.”
“The big takeaway is that 21% of registered voters have already voted. In 2018, 12.4 million out of 19.6 registered voters voted in the Gubernatorial, which, very roughly, is 63% of all voters. Assuming that we get about that amount again, we’re already a third of the way there, and we may hit as much as half by election day. Usually Republicans do better with in-person voting, but with Newsom gaining right now, it may hurt those in favor of a recall. There’s just so much to consider in this race.”
The California recall election is due to be held on September 14th.
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