California: As we wait for the hour to peak and the count to begin in the Golden State, it is likely helpful to put the forthcoming results in perspective. Especially given that there are hordes of political reporters out there who are likely on their way to making an absurd analytical error (if what we’ve already seen and read is the prologue).
This callback choice should be tight with all rights. Recalls are another beast of partisan elections. The binary nature of a recall without clear bias tends to work to the detriment of the incumbent.
Check out the famous Gray Davis recall in 2003, the last time California Republicans used this weapon against a Democratic governor. In the 2002 gubernatorial elections, which were only 11 months prior to recall, Democrat Gray Davis won by 4.9%. But in the recall shortly thereafter, he lost the recall by a fraction over ten points. The overall marginal shift was 15.7%.
We recently saw a California state senator, Josh Newman of Orange County, be removed from office in 2018. After winning his first term in 2016 with a surprise of just under 0.8%, he lost dismissal by 16.2%. The total margin shift there was 17.0%.
Based on these metrics, one would expect the recall to be much closer than recent polls suggest. Given that Governor Gavin Newsom (D) won his first term in 2018 with a final margin of 23.9%, if a similar postponement occurs, Newsom would be expected to survive this recall, but by a very small margin. Think 52-48 or 53-47. If the recall fails by more than that, it should rightly be interpreted as a major defeat and no small embarrassment for the California GOP.