Recapping the Recall: The issues, the stunts, latest polling

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Republican challengers in the recall election made a final push before Election Day on Tuesday. But new polling shows Newsom in a comfortable lead.

A new poll conducted by Nexstar Media and Emerson College found 60 percent of voters in California will vote against the recall compared to 40% who will vote to recall the governor. 

The poll also found conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder in the lead among replacement candidates with 30% of the vote. The poll also found 34% of recall voters will vote to leave the second question blank on who should replace Newsom, reinforcing the governor’s chances of staying in office.

Throughout the summer, the governor has been highlighting his $100 billion California Comeback Plan and focusing on pegging Elder as too far right to lead California.

“Larry Elder is running away with this on the other side,” Newsom said at a previous rally in San Francisco “I can go down a list: he’s to the right of Donald Trump.”

Last week, Elder made a campaign stop at a gas station in Clovis saying he’ll work to reduce gas prices and taxes if elected governor.  

“When I get to Sacramento, small business will have a friend in Sacramento,” Elder said.

Elder along with other top Republican replacement candidates John Cox and Kevin Faulconer, brought Newsom’s COVID-19 mandates, homelessness, and water infrastructure to the forefront of the campaign. Elder and his fellow Republicans say they will expedite the process of building new dams and reservoirs.

“One of the many things I intend to do when I become governor is to declare a public emergency on water, so some of these projects can be unleased,” Elder said at a second campaign stop in the Fresno area last week.

Earlier on in the campaign, businessman John Cox turned heads with bizarre publicity stunts, such as bringing a ball of trash to Fresno to symbolize what he said were problems created by homelessness in California, and featuring a live bear at a campaign stop to bill himself as “beast” California needs to make changes as opposed to Newsom’s “beauty.”

“We’ve got a choice: it’s the beauty or the beast,” Cox said at a Fresno rally over the summer.

But despite the attacks, Gov. Newsom has been campaigning on what his administration has accomplished so far, such as making a $12 billion investment in combatting homelessness this year, along with billions going to drought resiliency, and a high COVID-19 vaccination rate among Californians.

According to the secretary of state’s office, nearly 89% of eligible Californians are registered to vote in the recall election. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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