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Three numbers tell the tale of the upcoming California recall

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference at The Unity Council on May 10, 2021 in Oakland, Calif.
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference at The Unity Council on May 10, 2021 in Oakland, Calif.Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — With the California gubernatorial recall 43 days away and with ballots about to be mailed to voters later this month, there are three numbers you need to know to understand this race.

36 percent: That’s the percentage of registered voters in California who said they’d vote to support the recall of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, per last week’s LA Times/Berkeley IGS poll.

If that 36 percent looks familiar, well, it’s the exact same percentage of registered voters who backed the recall in April and January, per the same poll, suggesting a limited ceiling of recall supporters in the state.

It’s also close to the percentage Donald Trump got in the state in 2020 (34 percent), and that GOP gubernatorial nominee John Cox got against Newsom in 2018 (38 percent).

47 percent: That’s the percentage of likely voters from the same poll who said they’d vote to support Newsom’s recall, suggesting that Republicans have the enthusiasm and turnout advantage with six weeks to go.

By contrast, 50 percent of likely voters said they’d vote against the recall.

That early GOP enthusiasm/turnout advantage is one reason why Newsom supporters are airing this ad featuring Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.: They need to fire up their own base voters.

“We've seen Trump Republicans across the country attacking election results and the right to vote,” Warren says to camera in the ad. “Now they're coming to grab power in California, abusing the recall process and costing taxpayers millions.”

(Note: If this Trump/election message doesn’t work to fire up voters in California ahead of Sept. 14, that could be alarming news for Terry McAuliffe and Virginia Democrats heading into November).

More than 200-to-1: That’s the ad-spending advantage that Newsom and supporters have enjoyed over Republicans in the past month, according to data from AdImpact.

Newsom & Co. have spent $5.9 million in advertising from July 1 to Aug. 2, while Republicans and recall backers have spent just $27,500 during that same time period.

And when you look at future ad buys (from Aug. 3 to Sept. 14), Democrats hold a 150-to-1 advantage, $13.3 million to $86,000.

Now we expect those GOP ad numbers to increase over the next six weeks. Still, that’s quite a financial disadvantage in this very expensive state.

Do Democrats have the overall numerical advantage in California? Yes.

Can Republicans make the recall competitive — or even win — because they have the intensity/enthusiasm/turnout edge in a September election? You bet.

And does the GOP face a real cash disadvantage right now? Absolutely.

Here’s the text of the bipartisan infrastructure bill

“Senators introduced the long-awaited text of their bipartisan infrastructure bill Sunday, aiming to pass the massive measure this week,” per NBC News.

“Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would push forward with amendments to the legislation, which senators were finalizing through the weekend.”

More: “The measure includes $555 billion in new spending to build roads, public transit and other priorities of President Joe Biden, which would inject a windfall of money into a series of transportation projects that have long enjoyed support from both parties. The bill, which is 2,702 pages, includes $110 billion for roads, $39 billion for public transit and $66 billion for rail.”

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

Almost 550 million: How many Covid vaccines short of the original estimates that Covax, the global attempt for vaccine equity, had delivered through June, per the New York Times.

6,400: The number of people fatally shot by police since 2015, according to a new investigation from The Washington Post.

35,034,150: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 214,237 more than Friday morning.)

616,828: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 943 more than Friday morning.)

346,456,669: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S., per the CDC. (That’s 2,385,074 since Friday morning.)

49.6 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per the CDC.

60.5 percent: The share of all American adults at least 18 years of age who are fully vaccinated, per CDC.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

The Washington Post reports how President Biden has tried to assist the bipartisan infrastructure negotiations.

The Biden administration is opening the door to more Afghans to relocate to U.S. over Taliban danger.

House Democrats are pushing the responsibility onto the Biden administration for extending the eviction moratorium.

Simone Biles plans to compete in Olympics balance beam final.

Republicans are beginning to catch up with Democrats in online fundraising, creating for the first time in modern history a political landscape where both parties are largely funded by small donations.

The Atlantic has an excerpt from Alexander Vindman’s book about when the former National Security Council staffer overheard former President Trump’s infamous conversation with the Ukrainian president.