SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) - On Tuesday, Californians will decide whether Governor Gavin Newsom should stay in office, or go. The governor is painting the recall election as an opportunity to reject a Republican takeover of the nation's biggest Democratic stronghold.
If you have confidence in the latest polls, the outcome won't be close. But the unknown factor is, how many, and who will turn out to vote on Election Day. More than 8 million ballots, and counting, are being processed and verified ahead of election night.
"I'm expecting the early vote you see on the screens at the 8 o'clock, 9 o'clock hour before the precinct vote starts to come in should be heavily on the 'no' side. If it isn't I'd be shocked," said IGS Berkeley Poll Director Mark Di Camillo.
Political experts say polling is historically more accurate, the closer to Election Day.
According to FiveThirtyEight's polling average of the first question on the recall ballot, "keeping" Newsom in office, is averaging more than 16 points higher than "removing" the Governor.
"I always warn people take polls, with a grain of salt. Yes, they give us a general view of what's going on, but they won't tell us predict what the outcome is and we're just not going to know until we reach Election Day," said Hoover Institution Fellow Lanhee Chen.
Early returns show who has voted, but not how. Recall supporters are hoping for a strong showing from last minute independent voters.
"That independent vote has not showed up as significantly yet, as one might expect, you would need in order for Governor Newsom to be recalled," said Chen.
The IGS Berkeley Poll recently showed Newsom and recall opponents with a double digit advantage over recall supporters.
"From our polling we would expect to be able, the Associated Press and all the other official agencies, will probably be able to call this election-on-election night," said Di Camillo.
As polling stations across the state open up, it's the makeup of the electorate on Election Day that is the biggest unknown.
How big is that vote? How large is the vote on Election Day because a lot of the yes side supporters intend to vote in person on Election Day," said Di Camillo.
"It's very tough to prognosticate. People will try and guess about what the outcome will be, but at the end of the day, until the votes are counted, we're not going to know," said Chen.
Roughly twice as many registered Democrats than Republicans have turned in their ballots as of Monday. The difference is more than 2.2 million.
Political Data Inc. believes even with a 1.3 million difference and buffer, that would be more than enough for Newsom heading into Election Day.
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