California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to members of the media after meeting students at Melrose Leadership Academy during a school visit in Oakland, California on Wednesday, September 15, 2021.
Stephen Lamm | San Francisco Chronicle | Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images
California Governor Gavin Newsom described his decisive impeachment victory this week as a victory for vaccines and science. The data supports it.
CNBC’s analysis of county-wide results — which are preliminary as mail ballots continue to be taken — found a strong link between Newsom’s support and counties with high Covid vaccination rates as of Election Day, Sept.
People in counties with high vaccination rates for Covid voted overwhelmingly to keep him in office. Conversely, people in counties with low vaccination rates voted to overthrow the governor.
“No it’s not the only thing that was voiced tonight. I want to focus on what we said yes as a country,” Newsom said late Tuesday in Sacramento, thanking his supporters. “We said yes to science, we said yes to vaccines, and we said yes to ending this pandemic.”
The analysis also reveals that people in many of California’s smaller counties were less likely to support Newsom and vaccination.
Of the 23 counties with fewer than 100,000 residents, 17, or about three-quarters of them, voted “yes” to the no-confidence vote. Meanwhile, only 10 of the 35 counties with more than 100,000 residents voted in favor of a no-confidence vote.
Those smaller counties were also more likely to have lower vaccination rates. Eighteen out of 23 reported that less than 50% of the population had received their full vaccinations as of Election Day, September 14, according to a CNBC analysis of California public health data.
Lassen County, for example, has an estimated population of about 30,600 as of 2019 and a current vaccination rate of about 22%. About 84% of its voters voted “yes” to the impeachment.
Similarly, Modoc County has an estimated population of 8,800 as of 2019 and the current vaccination rate is 36.3%. Also, 78% of its voters supported the impeachment.
On the other end of the spectrum, Los Angeles County has a population of over 10 million as of 2019 and a vaccination rate of 59.5%. Its voters supported it strongly, with 70.8% voting “no” to the impeachment.
The majority of counties classified as predominantly rural or rural were least likely to support Newsom and pollination, according to the Census Bureau’s most recent rural area data from 2010. The Census Bureau defines rural as any population, dwelling, or territory outside the perimeter of an urban area, or areas with 50,000 inhabitants or more.
Ten of the 11 counties classified as rural or rural in California voted “yes” to impeach. This includes Amador County, Calaveras County, Lassen County, Mariposa County, Modoc County, Plumas County, Sierra County, Siskiyou County, Tihama County and Trinity County, according to data from the California Secretary of State.
As of Election Day, all 10 of those counties have reported vaccination rates below 50%, according to a CNBC analysis.
President Joe Biden, who campaigned for Newsom on the eve of Election Day, echoed the governor’s sentiments about his victory.
“This vote is a resounding win for the approach he and I share to beat the pandemic: strong vaccine requirements, strong steps to safely reopen schools, and strong plans to distribute real drugs — not fake treatments — to help those who are sick,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday.
While preliminary election results suggest a majority of Californians support the state’s pandemic measures, it was Newsom’s response to Covid that initially put his political fate in jeopardy.
Statewide mask mandates, stay-at-home orders, and a mask-free appearance by the governor at an upscale Napa Valley restaurant during the height of rising Covid cases helped win an impeachment petition late last year, prompting nearly 1.5 million Californians to sign it. .
However, Newsom’s handling of the pandemic in recent months, including his introduction of vaccines and mandates, has become one of his strong points in the impeachment vote.
The governor introduced Covid vaccine requirements for state employees and health care workers in late July, which went into effect on August 5. It also implemented similar vaccine requirements for teachers and other school staff, a measure for the first time in the country that went into effect on August 12.
California Governor Gavin Newsom attends a press conference to launch a comprehensive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination site in San Diego, California, February 8, 2021.
Sandy Hacker | pool | via Reuters
In the weeks leading up to the election, the Newsom campaign criticized conservative talk show host Larry Elder, the Republican front-runner, for pledging to repeal such mandates for vaccination and other pandemic measures.
The governor’s aggressive campaign also pointed to the state’s high vaccination rates in recent months. As of Friday, 59.23% of the state’s entire population has been vaccinated, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
A poll conducted in September before the impeachment election showed that more than 3 in 4 Californians think the state government is doing an “excellent or good job” distributing Covid-19 vaccines. Nearly 6 out of 10 said they agreed with the way Newsom has responded to the pandemic in general, according to the survey by the California Public Policy Institute.
“While a small group of cowardly and venal scammers in the Republican Party are trying to get attention by undermining confidence in science and public health, the vast majority of Americans have not been fooled — they know that vaccines save lives,” Luce said. Angeles-based Democratic counsel Michael Sonniff in an email.
“Fortunately, the majority of Americans understand that vaccinations save lives, and common sense supports vaccinations,” Sonef continued.