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2022 Worst Nightmare Could Preview In September

Could Gavin Newsom be recalled? Yes.
2022 Worst Nightmare Could Preview In September
Image from: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Yes, Gavin Newsom might be recalled.

Californians who say they expect to vote in the September recall election are almost evenly divided over whether to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, evidence of how pivotal voter turnout will be in deciding the governor’s political fate, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times....

The poll found that 47% of likely California voters supported recalling the Democratic governor, compared with 50% who opposed removing Newsom from office — a difference just shy of the survey’s margin of error.

The recall is failing badly -- 36% to 51% -- among registered voters. But a disproportionate share of likely voters are just who you think they'd be: members of the always-engaged party of permanent grievance, the GOP.

Though Republicans account for only about a quarter of all registered voters in California, the poll found that they account for 33% of those most likely to cast ballots in the recall election. Democrats make up 46% of the state’s 22 million voters and “no party preference” voters 24%, but their share of the likely recall voters drops to 42% and 18% respectively, DiCamillo said.

This poll could be an outlier -- most polls show the recall failing by double digits. However, it's not the only recent poll showing a tight contest -- an Emerson College poll for Inside California Politics has the recall trailing by only 5.

I suspect that Newsom will survive by a single-digit margin. But this shouldn't be close. Newsom won the 2018 ele3ction 62%-38%. Joe Biden won the state last year by 29 points.

But Democrats really might take their eye off the ball, partly because it's an off-cycle election, and partly because, to many non-Republican voters, electoral politics just doesn't seem to be an emergency anymore.

Republicans rarely feel that way. They'll turn out. And they'll turn out in the midterms. I'm not sure Democrats will. Trump's gone, right? So what's the big deal?

For decades, the right-wing media has found a way to keep conservative-leaning voters permanently engaged, by turning every political story in America into a wrestling match with a hero and a heel. Democrats energized their base against Trump and, before that, against George W. Bush. But the engagement lags when there isn't a high-profile villain.

What do we do to reverse this tendency? I'm stumped.

Published with permission of No More Mr. Nice Blog

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