What the exit polling tells us about the California electorate, and why it might be wrong.

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The lone exit poll from California’s recall election showed Mr Newsom winning with an unusual coalition. The long-standing racial and ethnic divide between white voters and voters of color seemed to be disappearing, aside from almost every recent election.

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According to Exit, 63 percent of people of color and 60 percent of Latino voters chose “no” on the question of removing the governor, compared to 59 percent of white voters. Generally speaking, Democrats in California perform somewhat poorly among white voters, but much better among other voters. The 63 percent and 60 percent performance of people of color and Latinos would be the weakest in memory for the California Democrats.

If true, the exit poll results will be a turning point in California’s political development. This would suggest that growing Democratic strength among college graduates – and weakness among those without degrees – has begun to significantly narrow the gap between white voters and others, and eliminate it almost entirely in the state. Have given.


But the actual results of the recall election tell a different story. They don’t show anything unusual at all. The results show Mr Newsom won in recent years with a coalition fairly typical for California Democrats, not much different from the one that elected him in 2018 and the one that elected President Biden in 2020.

The governor may have performed somewhat worse among non-White voters than Democrats a decade ago, but in the end, California voted for Democrats—and that seems to have been the case in recent cycles. , which includes Asian and. Latino voters.

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Lakhs of votes are yet to be counted, and a clearer picture may emerge in the coming days as more votes will be counted. But so far, county-by-county results are almost identical to those of 2018 or 2020. There is only one county – Riverside County – that flipped from 2018 to now, and it flipped for Mr. Newsom.

On average in the recall election, the “no” vote in a specific county was about 2 percentage points different from Mr Newsom’s vote share in 2018. It’s hard to reconcile the consistency of the results so far with the drastic change in Mister. Newsom’s coalition shows exit polls. The results do not show evidence of a sharp drop in Democratic support among Latino voters.

Mr Newsom did just as well four years ago in relatively diverse Southern California, as in the heavily Latino parts of the rural Central Valley and Imperial Valley, where Democrats compete solely on the strength of Latino voters.

Still, Mr Newsom’s support was already relatively weak for Democrats: he often did as poorly as Mr Biden, and in 2014 even worse than Gov. Jerry Brown. A 2018 exit poll showed Mr Newsom winning 64 percent of Latinos. voters, down from the 73 per cent share Mr Brown won in 2014.

Tuesday’s exit poll was conducted by Edison Research and sponsored by major television news networks. Unlike traditional in-person exit polls, most California exit poll interviews are usually conducted by telephone to reach voters early and mail-in. This year, the Recall Exit Poll added an online and text messaging component.

It is possible that additional online and text interviews may have contributed to some of the unusual changes that were evident in the voting.

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