California’s gubernatorial recall election is on September 14, and 46 candidates are vying to oust Governor Gavin Newsom. Mail-in ballots will be distributed in less than two weeks. Democrats had banked on the idea that an earlier election day would work in Newsom’s favor — that he’d ride to an easy win thanks to school reopenings, a booming economy, and ever-shrinking COVID cases.
While Newsom’s approval rating is still hovering around 50% according to recent polling, it’s not clear that the governor’s Democratic base is fired up to support him.
“Our recall election is not an election. It's a two-part dance,” says Republican strategist Sean T. Walsh. The first is you have to convince the public that they need to fire a sitting governor. Then second, they need to make the case that they are the alternative if they choose to fire the governor.”
Despite uncertain recall polling, Politico reporter Carla Marinucci says Democrats, including those in Newsom’s camp, are not concerned about the election.
“Just do the math. The Republicans in California lag behind Democrats by more than 20 points on voter registration,” she explains. “They are impassioned, and the polls are showing that. But no matter how many turnout, many Democrats think the math is just not there for them to get this recall over the line.”