According to data from CBS News’s early exit poll, coronavirus is the number one issue on voters’ minds in this election, around 30% of voters said it is the most important issue California is facing was faced, followed by about a quarter of the homeless. These problems take precedence over the economy, forest fires and crime.
There are differences between those who vote “no” on the recall and those who vote “yes” on what they see as the biggest problem California faces.
For those who voted “no” on the recall (keeping Gavin Newsom as governor), the coronavirus is the problem they see as the most important facing their state. For these voters, this question ranks far ahead of all other questions – by around 20 points. More than twice as many “no” voters than “yes” voters choose it as their main problem.
For those who vote ‘yes’ on the recall (removing Newsom as governor), the economy and homelessness are most important to them, ahead of the coronavirus. Nearly three times as many “yes” voters as “no” voters choose the economy as the most significant problem California faces. Crime is a bigger problem for “yes” voters than for “no” voters.
Those who vote “no” on the recall are more likely than those who vote “yes” to view climate change as a “very serious” problem in California.
COVID-19: Newsom’s policies
Supporters of Newsom’s recall effort criticized Newsom’s COVID policies, mainly arguing that they are too strict.
About a third of voters who voted in this election agree with this assessment, saying Newsom’s COVID policies have been too strict, but more voters – nearly half of voters – say its policies have been about correct.
COVID-19: Masks and vaccines
There has been a heated debate over children wearing masks in schools. More than two-thirds of voters support California’s requirement that students wear masks in schools. And amid the debate over the COVID vaccine mandates, a majority of voters in this election (around 6 out of 10) see getting the vaccine a public responsibility rather than a personal choice.
Most of those who voted “no” on the recall support California’s mandate to mask children in school and view obtaining the COVID vaccine as a public responsibility. Most “yes” votes on the voter recall oppose the mask’s mandate for students and see getting the COVID vaccine a personal choice rather than a public responsibility.
Voters’ opinions on the state of California’s economy are mixed – half think it’s in good shape, but almost as many say it’s bad.
But a majority of voters believe the cost of living in the region where they live is unmanageable.
Those who vote “yes” on the recall are much more negative on both the state’s economy and the cost of living. Voters who want Newsom recalled – who are three times more likely to say the economy is California’s biggest problem – overwhelmingly say the state’s economy is not so good or so bad, and three in four say the cost of living in their area is unmanageable. Most “no” votes on the recall have a much more positive rating.
Earlier in August, the CBS News pre-election poll showed Republicans were both more likely and more motivated to vote in this recall election.
But so far tonight, while most backing the recall are optimistic about the prospect of removing Gavin Newsom from office, just 37% of “yes” voters say they are “excited” by the prospect. On the other side of the equation, there seems to be more urgency: 44% of voters opposed to the recall attempt say they are “scared” by the possibility that Gavin Newsom will be removed from office.
President Biden campaigned for Newsom and the president remains a popular figure in California. More than half – about 56% – of California voters approve of the job he does as president.
– Jennifer De Pinto and Fred Backus