The California Secretary of State’s office released a final recall petition report on Wednesday, showing that a total of 1,719,943 valid signatures were verified out of 2,161,349 signatures submitted two months ago – just under an 80% validation rate, the Globe reported Thursday.
Knowing that the population of California’s rural counties is a fraction of the state’s population, this didn’t add up. The total population of Modoc County is 8,635. Plumas County population is 18,939. We aren’t talking numbers large enough to even total 1,719,943. The U.S. Census and state report that just under 1% of the total California population live in rural counties, which makes the KTLA headline dubious.
“Support for the petition to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom is highest in conservative, sparsely populated California counties in parts of the Sierra Nevada and the state’s rural, remote northeast, newly released data shows,” KTLA reported, focused on percentages of registered voters in rural counties.
This statement misconstrues the statistical data.
The article however, starts with noting total recall signatures in the state, as opposed to the percentage of registered voters who signed the recall petition, which is the entire basis of their headline and story:
“The California secretary of state’s office released its final report Wednesday, verifying more than 1.7 million signatures have been certified as valid in the effort to recall the Democratic governor.”
The top five counties with verified recall petition signatures are:
Orange County: 285,452 submitted, 215, 714 validated
Riverside County: 186,806 submitted, 146, 804 validated
San Bernardino County: 130,382 submitted, 106,475 validated
San Diego County: 238,095 submitted, 179,039 validated
Los Angeles County: 328,224 submitted, 264, 495 validated
The total of these five counties’ verified recall signatures is 912,526, out of the statewide 1,719,943 million – a little under 54% of the total validated recall signatures.
“The sparsely populated California counties in parts of the Sierra Nevada and the state’s rural, remote northeast” may have as a percentage of registered voters had the most support, but the total of those 15 counties is 135,558 verified signatures out of the 1.7 million submitted, as follows:
El Dorado County: 26,777 submitted, 22,103 validated
Amador County: 6,017 submitted, 4,966 validated
Placer County: 58,515 submitted, 45,868 validated
Yuba County: 7,947 submitted, 5,836 validated
Sutter County: 8,269 submitted, 6,544 validated
Butte County: 19,329 submitted, 15,942 validated
Sierra County: 493 submitted, 406 validated
Plumas County: 2,057 submitted, 1674 validated
Lassen County: 3,731 submitted, 2,855 validated
Shasta County: 24,534 submitted, 18,943 validated
Modoc County: 1,221 submitted, 908 validated
Siskiyou County: 6,019 submitted, 4,921 validated
Glenn County: 2,967 submitted, 2,523 validated
Colusa County: 1,821 submitted, 1,537 validated
Tehama County: 6,713 submitted, 5,207 validated
The total of those 15 rural counties is 135,558 verified signatures, of the 1.7 million total verified. This isn’t even 10% of the 1,719,943 million total validated signatures – it’s a little under 8% of the state’s recall petition signatures.
While percentage of registered voters is a valid measurement, is should be with context.
Could KTLA’s headline be in search of a story? “Highest support for Newsom recall comes from California’s rural, northeastern counties, final state numbers show.”
It isn’t until the 10th paragraph the KTLA article addressed the percentage of California’s registered voters who signed the recall petition: “In the end, more than 1.7 million valid signatures from registered voters were counted. That’s nearly 7.8% of the state’s more than 22 million voters.”
What’s the point of the article? The headline is supposed to tell the story, rather than the data. The rural counties provided a little less than 8% of the recall signatures (In line with the total registered voters who signed the recall), while the five southern California counties provided more than half – nearly 55% — of the valid recall signatures.
When the numbers do the talking, we see the bigger picture.RECALL newsom-heatlie-final