What explains that polling slippage? A combination of circumstances and self-inflicted wounds.
And Newsom hasn’t helped himself. At all.
“I made a bad mistake,” Newsom said by way of apology shortly after the pictures went public. “I should have stood up and … drove back to my house. The spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted. I need to preach and practice, not just preach.”
If all this sounds vaguely familiar, it should.
Newsom, it’s worth noting, is currently in a stronger position — in terms of job approval and overall direction of the state — than Davis was back in 2003.
Even so, the governor has to hope that the recall supporters never get the signatures they need to get the measure on the ballot. (Signature collection is notoriously difficult and expensive; many signatures wind up getting disqualified so you need to gets LOTS more than you need to ensure success.)
Because, as the Davis recall suggests, once voters have a chance to kick a politician out early, they may well take it. Recall elections, even more than a normal election, are momentum-driven things — and Newsom doesn’t want the snowball rolling down the hill at him to get any bigger.
Add it all up, and Newsom’s glide path to a second term — and the possibility of a run for national office soon after that — has gotten much bumpier. He needs to steady things out, and quickly.