Top of Mind Thursday – September 16, 2021 – Can’t Recall

“I can’t recall,” is usually the answer given by a witness in court when asked a question to which they don’t really want to respond.

Leverage2Market LogoBut on Tuesday, California voters resoundingly defeated a measure to recall Governor Gavin Newsom by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. Just a couple of months ago, this was too tight to predict: It looked like Newsom could actually lose.

It’s not that Newsom became more likable since July. What happened to turn this around?

  • The Delta variant arrived with a vengeance, but California’s high rate of vaccination and prevention policies helped keep deaths and hospitalizations low.
  • The leading replacement candidate was a right-wing conservative who promised to eliminate the mask and vaccine mandates that were keeping the surge in check.
  • Voters realized the recall process was so convoluted that Newsom could lose with 49.9% of the vote, but the next governor could be chosen with only a fraction of those votes.
  • Of the 40+ replacement candidates, none were seen as serious contenders by most of the public.
  • The election caught national attention and a whole array of Democratic figures came out to campaign strongly against the recall: Sanders, Warren, Klobuchar, Harris, Obama, Biden, and others.

In the end, most voters just didn’t see a reason to make a change. In fact, the process appears to have strengthened Newsom’s position to run for a second term.

That’s not likely the outcome the recall backers expected, but it’s a lesson those who consider doing something similar in the future would do well to recall before trying this again.

Contact me to find out how you can get heard above the noise–even in a crisis situation.

Check out our marketing thought leadership podcasts and the video trailer for my book, Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters.

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