Public opinion polls mirror that dynamic. In a poll Mr. Baldassare’s organization conducted in May, 64 percent of adults in California said they supported the concept of single-payer health care. But support fell to 41 percent if it required increasing taxes.
Now that Mr. Newsom is the presumed favorite to move into the governor’s mansion come January, it is unclear whether he will continue to push for universal health care. Given that California, overall, is a deep blue state, “I don’t know how far down the policy rabbit hole Newsom will have to go,” said Elizabeth Ashford, a political consultant who has worked for Jerry Brown, the popular governor who is leaving office, and Senator Kamala Harris.
Pain at the Pump
Way down the ballot, voters in a state senate district that slices through parts of Orange, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties were asked to vote on whether to recall their state senator, Josh Newman, a Democrat.
It was an unusual ballot item — recalling elected officials in California is exceedingly rare, and only five have been recalled since 1913, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Although a Democrat, Mr. Newman represents a traditionally conservative area and his sin, in the view of many of his constituents, was unforgivable: a vote in favor of an increase in a tax on gasoline, to pay for road repairs and bridges. On Wednesday, Mr. Newman appeared headed for removal.
California has some of the highest gas prices in the nation, and the tax, which went in to effect last year, is a rare issue in California that seems to bring Democrats and Republicans together.
According to an a poll conducted last month by The Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California, a slight majority of registered voters in California support repealing the tax, which will be on the ballot in November.