How Big Is Newsom’s Lead in the California Recall Electoral Polls?
Gavin Newsom’s lead in the California recall election could prove as misleading as Hillary Clinton’s lead in Wisconsin or Joe Biden’s lead in Florida, following the 2016 and 2020 Democratic nominations.
it’s not impossible. But Mr Newsom’s leadership now dwarfs the usual voting error and is enough to counteract nearly every statewide voting lapse in recent memory.
The opposition to the recall of Mr Newsom has increased by 17 points, 58 to 41 per cent, according to the FiveThirtyEight average. The 2020 elections decimated Democrats by about five percentage points on average.
In the presidential elections of 2016 or 2020, there was no state where there was a decrease of 17 percentage points in the final elections. Perhaps the worst recent voting lapse – Senator Susan Collins’ comfortable nine-point victory, after trailing by three points – is in the ballpark, but still five points short of erasing Mr Newsom’s lead.
Many of the most embarrassing and high-profile misses for pollsters, such as seven-point voting errors in Wisconsin in 2016 and 2020, could still leave Mr Newsom with a double-digit victory.
It is difficult to find many precedents for such a huge polling error. According to CNN writer Harry Anten, there have been only four cases in the past 20 years where the voting average in the governor’s race was at least 15 percentage points lower.
Mr Newsom’s opponents might expect that the specificity of a recall election could make it more challenging for pollsters than a typical general election. Large voting errors often occur in special and primary elections.
But polls in previous California gubernatorial recalls were accurate enough and were dead in 2012 in a high-profile attempt to recall former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The high turnout in early voting in California so far tends to reduce the risk that abnormal turnout will contribute to a particularly large voting error.
And California isn’t a state where elections have been badly missed in recent election cycles. The largest voting errors have occurred in Wisconsin, Maine and other states with large numbers of white working-class voters. That’s not California. According to census data, only 22 percent of California voters in 2020 were white without a four-year college degree, the second lowest of any state.
Perhaps as a result of this, statewide polling in California has generally been fairly accurate.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Joe Biden took a 29.2-point lead in the final California polls.
He won by 29.2 points.
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