Polling shows that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting in the special election than Democrats. This motivation gap is what recall backers are counting on in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans nearly 2 to 1.
However, Newsom still has a number of advantages:
Incumbents always use their office to buoy their re-election efforts. Newsom is no different. In the midst of the pandemic, Newsom has highlighted his recovery efforts, such as offering $600 stimulus checks to many Californians that his critics call "recall refunds."
Newsom's allies, notably labor, have an army of volunteers to call and text voters or canvass neighborhoods. And the incumbent has an enormous financial edge.
Newsom's anti-recall allies have raised more than $37 million, more than all the pro-recall forces and GOP candidates combined. Voters will get a clearer picture of candidates finances next week, when campaign committees must file fundraising disclosures for the first six months of the year. Another round of finance reports is due Sept. 2.
Money is not determinative (just ask former GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman or former presidential candidate Jeb Bush). But most candidates would prefer to have more money than not, particularly in a state that is as large as California and contains so many of the nation's most expensive media markets.
Newsom's allies have already launched a multimillion-dollar ad blitz featuring Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts urging voters to oppose the recall. Expect a barrage of television ads through election day.
The GOP fight to consolidate support