Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the impact of social issues. It also discusses state elections. The biggest off-off-year election is the CA recall. Newsom won.
The exit polls conducted by Edison Research for a consortium of media organizations showed that a clear majority of voters backed Newsom’s approach to combatting the pandemic. More than three-fifths of voters said his policies for fighting the virus were about right or even not strict enough, and he won roughly 85 percent of them. Almost exactly the same share of voters said getting the vaccine was a public-health responsibility (as opposed to a personal choice) and Newsom likewise won nearly 85 percent of them. More than seven in 10 voters backed his mask mandate for public schools. The recall ran up huge margins among those who said his policies were too strict and that getting the vaccine was a personal choice, as well as those who opposed the mask mandate, but in each case they constituted only about one-third or less of voters (just one-fourth in the case of masks).
Those results suggest that both in California and nationally, Republicans who have centered their messaging on defending the “rights” and “choices” of the unvaccinated are playing to the short side of public opinion—and potentially alienating many among the roughly three-fourths of American adults who have gotten the shot. (A flurry of national polls released this week have found narrow majorities backing vaccine mandates for large employers, teachers, and health-care workers, and a bigger majority supporting mask mandates in schools—both of which almost all Republicans are opposing.) Although the exit poll did not ask voters about their vaccination status, two of the best-respected late California polls each showed Newsom winning about two-thirds of those who have received the shot (as did Newsom’s internal polling).