|Candidate||Predicted Vote %||Win Prob.|
Spanning much of the west coast of the continental United States, California is the most populous state by far with about 40 million people. Famous for its diverse landscapes, Los Angeles, and Hollywood, about 35% of the population is white, and 40% of the population is Hispanic. California is a solid Democratic state.
Gavin Newsom (D)
Brian Dahle (R)
Source: ACLU California Action
Gavin Newsom is the Democratic incumbent governor of California. Newsom’s political career began in 1996, when he was appointed by then-San Francisco Mayor, Willie Brown, to work on various committees. Brown appointed Newsom to fill a vacancy in the Board of Supervisors, and Newsom was subsequently elected to the board in 1998, 2000, and 2002. In 2003, Newsom was elected as the Mayor of San Francisco, and was re-elected in 2007. He was elected as the Lieutenant Governor of California in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. In 2018, he was elected as the Governor of California.
Brian Dahle is a Republican California state senator, former state legislator, former business owner, and farmer. Though he personally has voted for Trump, he has not been endorsed by him and he identifies himself as not “a crazy Republican.” He holds a bipartisan record in the state legislature and has stated that he wants to work closely with state legislators.
Newsom advanced in the Democratic primary, winning 61.2% of the nonpartisan primary vote.
Dahle advanced as the Republican candidate in the nonpartisan primary vote, with 15.1% of the vote.
Issues & controversies
Newsom is seen to be a moderate democrat candidate, and is mainly focused on tackling climate change, homelessness, and gun violence. Dahle supports the 2nd Amendment and is pro-life but would not take away abortion rights in California. He wants to reduce crime and cost of living and increase electricity availability by increasing in-state oil and gas production. In November 2020, Newsom attended a dinner party at a restaurant with other families, contradicting the COVID-19 policies regarding eating out with others that he had implemented. This, along with the fact that Newsom’s children remained in in-person school while most Californian students were required to learn virtually, spurred backlash and a subsequent apology from Newsom. A year later, a recall election was held in California, and Newsom was not recalled. Despite supporting Trump, pro-life rhetoric, and the Second Amendment, Dahle’s beliefs have not been as extreme as some other GOP candidates. He has not amplified claims that the 2020 election was stolen and has largely veered away from being seen as an extreme right-wing candidate. He has mostly criticized Newsom’s background (being a millionaire and businessman), citing his own background as a farmer from rural California and pushing that he is a more relatable candidate. However, Dahle’s efforts may be overshadowed by an incident involving a goat bidding, where he bid hundreds of dollars on a goat that was slaughtered against the wishes of the young girl that raised it. Many Californians still know him primarily from this incident and not his efforts in the gubernatorial election.
Chance of winning over time
We run our model twice a day. Explore how our prediction has changed over the course of the race.
Polls consist of polls ranked C- and above gathered by FiveThirtyEight.
No polls to display.