Just a few months in the past, when it appeared as if the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was behind us, Republican supporters of the recall felt vindicated and optimistic. The indisputable fact that so many individuals had been out and about would solely embolden the argument that Gov. Gavin Newsom had been too robust in his lockdown orders final 12 months.
Then got here Delta.
For a second, Mr. Newsom’s political future appeared bleak: He had solely lately proclaimed the beginning of the “California comeback,” and counties had been as an alternative bringing again masks mandates.
Amid a resurgence of circumstances throughout the nation, Covid deaths spiked in Republican-led states, the place restrictions and vaccine mandates had been uncommon. But California, the place Mr. Newsom was fast to mandate masks in colleges and to require well being staff to be vaccinated, noticed much less dramatic will increase.
Now, Mr. Newsom and his supporters have turned the recall into a type of referendum on pandemic administration ways. In different phrases, the Delta wave successfully galvanized his voters.
In the closing days of the marketing campaign, Mr. Newsom and his supporters have been greater than keen to border the recall election as a selection between a governor who “follows the science” and favors tight restrictions, and one who would loosen protocols that meant to forestall transmission and deaths.
“There is no more consequential decision to the health and safety of the people of the state of California than voting no on this Republican-backed recall,” Mr. Newsom stated throughout a vaccine occasion in Oakland this month.
His marketing campaign beforehand launched an commercial portraying the election as “a matter of life and death.”
The message seems to be working. Several polls counsel that Mr. Newsom will cruise to victory on Tuesday — and his dealing with of the pandemic has the help of a broad majority of voters.
A ballot launched on Friday by The Los Angeles Times and the Institute of Governmental Studies on the University of California, Berkeley, discovered that almost definitely voters disagreed with the concept that the governor overstepped his authority in his response to the pandemic. The identical ballot confirmed that greater than 60 % of probably voters opposed the recall.
Another ballot, from the Public Policy Institute of California, discovered that seven in 10 probably voters say the result of the recall election is essential to them. Mark Baldassare, the president of the institute, tied that intense curiosity to the deal with the pandemic.
“In our most recent poll, Covid is the No. 1 issue for Californians,” Mr. Baldassare stated. “In the time of crisis, they feel he’s handling it well and that makes people more risk-averse.”