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.
Of the nearly 10.6 million ballots counted as of Sept. 17, nearly 4.7 million, or 44%, did not include a choice for the replacement candidate. That’s compared to the 2.8 million votes, or 26%, that went for the flesh-and-blood frontrunner Larry Elder. If “nobody” were a candidate, he or she would be crushing the competition.
The two-question structure of California’s recall ballot was the subject of endless confusion among voters. Now it’s providing new ways to be perplexed by — or perhaps to purposefully misinterpret — the election results.
Elder has already touted his 47% showing among voters who picked a replacement candidate as evidence of his strength as a possible 2022 candidate and to suggest that polls understated his popularity. In a tweet today, he juxtaposed the reported election night results to an Emerson College poll that put the candidate at a mere 23%.
In fact, the number Elder highlighted was his share of the vote only among ballots marked with a replacement candidate. Missing from his calculation: The 4 million-plus ballots without a selected candidate at all.
A historical note: In the successful 2003 recall of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, only about 756,000 of 9 million voters, or 8%, left question two blank.