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California voters say Covid-19 biggest issue for state, CNN exit poll shows


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By Ariel Edwards-Levy, CNN

The Covid-19 pandemic remains at the top of voters’ minds, with about one-third saying it’s the biggest issue for the state, according to a California exit poll conducted for CNN and other news networks by Edison Research.

That’s followed by just over one-fifth saying homelessness, 1 in 6 saying the economy and wildfires, respectively, and slightly under one-tenth saying crime. Concerns vary across partisan lines: more than 4 in 10 Democrats call coronavirus their top issue, while only about one-fifth of Republicans say the same. On the flip side, Republicans are more than three times as likely as Democrats to name the economy as their top concern.

Voters have mixed outlooks on the pandemic’s course in California, with about 4 in 10 saying the situation is getting better, 3 in 10 that it remains about the same, and just under one-quarter that it’s worsening.

Women make up slightly more than half the electorate in the California recall, just as they did in the 2020 presidential election and the 2018 gubernatorial race. White majorities narrowly make up the majority of the electorate, the exit poll data finds, with the remainder people of color. In 2020 exit polling, about half the electorate was White; in 2018, it was 63%.

The California CNN Exit Poll is a combination of in-person interviews with Election Day voters and telephone and online polls measuring the views of absentee by-mail and early voters. It was conducted by Edison Research on behalf of the National Election Pool. In-person interviews on Election Day were conducted at a random sample of 30 California polling locations among 2,356 Election Day voters. The results also include 1,352 interviews with early and absentee voters conducted by phone, online or by text. Results for the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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