California Recall Exit Poll: Pandemic Top Concern, Homelessness Second

A poll worker holds up an "I Voted" sticker in the California gubernatorial recall electio
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The California recall election exit polls are in, and they show a plurality of citizens in the Golden State consider the pandemic their number one issue.

“The Covid-19 pandemic remains at the top of voters’ minds, with about one-third saying it’s the biggest issue for the state,” according to an exit poll from Edison Research conducted for CNN. Behind the pandemic, California voters cited homelessness and crime as their second and third concerns:

That’s followed by just over one-fifth saying homelessness, 1 in 6 saying the economy and wildfires, respectively, and slightly under one-tenth saying crime. Concerns vary across partisan lines: more than 4 in 10 Democrats call coronavirus their top issue, while only about one-fifth of Republicans say the same. On the flip side, Republicans are more than three times as likely as Democrats to name the economy as their top concern.

Regarding Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mitigation efforts to combat the coronavirus, an NBC News exit poll found that “voters likely sided with Newsom on the public health measures, with a plurality, or 45 percent, saying Newsom’s Covid policies are right, compared to 32 percent who said the measures are too strict. Another 17 percent said they aren’t strict enough.”

President Joe Biden talks with California Gov. Gavin Newsom as he arrives at Mather Airport on Air Force One Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, in Mather, Calif., for a briefing on wildfires at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In terms of the pandemic’s trajectory, an exit poll from ABC News showed that “just 24 percent say the pandemic is getting worse in the state; a plurality of voters, 39 percent say it’s improving, with the rest saying it’s staying the same.”

On the economy, CNN reported that “Californians are close to evenly split” on the economy, with only half calling it good or excellent and the other half calling it “not so good or poor.”

“Voters take a more negative view about the costs of living in their own part of California, with around 6 in 10 saying that those costs are at least somewhat unmanageable,” added CNN.


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