With 62 percent of ballots counted and more than two-thirds of them saying “no” to the recall.
- Preliminary exit polls suggested that the very issue that recall proponents had hoped would unseat Newsom the pandemic was the one that helped propel him to victory. Not only did COVID-19 rank as the No. 1 issue on voters’ minds, ahead of homelessness, wildfires, crime and the economy, but just 3 in 10 California voters said Newsom’s pandemic policies were too strict, the main argument behind the recall.
- More than two-thirds (69 percent) said they supported the state’s mask mandates for students; just 24 percent said the pandemic was getting worse in the state.
- In one sense, Newsom’s victory wasn’t much of a shock. In 2018, the former San Francisco mayor was elected governor with 62 percent of the vote — the largest Democratic landslide in state history. Nearly three years later, 57 percent of Californians still approve of his performance in office, according to a recent CBS News poll. And Democratic voters outnumber Republican voters statewide by nearly 2 to 1.
- But both the pandemic and California’s bizarre recall rules, which set the bar much higher for governors who want to remain in office than for challengers who want to replace them, gave anti-Newsom conservatives a glimmer of hope.