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The betting markets swerve in Governor Gavin Newsom's favor as California recalls hit the home stretch

California Governor Gavin Newsom makes a gesture as he speaks during a press conference at the San Bernardino Unified School District Office after attending Juanita B. Jones Elementary School in San Bernardino on Friday, August 6, 2021.

Watchara Phomicinda | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

The campaign to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom lost so much momentum over the past month that bettors are now saying the odds of the effort fail is over 85%.

Political betting website PredictIt said the Democrats' chances of staying in office after being dismissed on Sept. 14 reached their highest level since early July last week.

On Thursday, a bet on a successful recall (that is, a bet that Newsom would be ousted) on PredictIt cost 10 cents, up from 26 cents a week earlier and a high of 34 cents in early August. By Sunday the price had risen slightly to 14 cents.

Correct bets on PredictIt are redeemed at $ 1, so a bet at 10 cents pays 90 cents should the recall prevail. The price of a bet in favor of a recall hasn't closed below 10 cents since May 20, according to PredictIt. The low of the campaign a few days earlier was 8 cents in May.

Newsom and the Democratic Party have tried to make up ground as polls have shown the GOP to be more enthusiastic about voting in the recall, despite California being a reliably blue state. The California governor has had a boost from celebrities and high profile politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Democrats are much more likely to return ballots than Republicans.

Vice President Kamala Harris, the former California attorney general and former US state senator, will be campaigning with Newsom this week. President Joe Biden, who is struggling with low poll numbers after a difficult military exit from Afghanistan and rising Covid-19 infections in large parts of the United States, has announced that he will be promoting Newsom.

The governor's rosier outlook in recent days is reflected in the polls. FiveThirtyEight's survey average shows Newsom 10.4 percentage points ahead of recall efforts (53% to 42.6%), down from 5.6 points at the end of August. A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California last week found that 58% of likely voters would vote against the recall.

Recall efforts gained momentum during the Covid pandemic, as critics expressed dissatisfaction with the state's aggressive bans, school closings, and rising crime. Some corporations and wealthy tech executives and investors also left California and went to states with lower tax rates.

Newsom made a gift to its opponents in November. With the pandemic still raging and stores closed, photos of an unmasked Newsom attending a party at the high-end French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley emerged. By April of this year, the recall had garnered 1.6 million signatures, surpassing the number required to trigger an election.

Newsom supporters have been raising money lately and flooding the California airwaves to fend off the challenge. According to CALmatters, opponents of the recall raised $ 68.9 million, or six times as much as the pro-recall site.

If more than half of the voters say “yes” to the dismissal, the next governor will be the one of the 46 substitute candidates who receives the most votes in the second part of the ballot.

The betting markets don't have much faith in any of them.

Bets on Larry Elder, a conservative radio talk show host, have dropped from 25 cents on Aug. 24 to 13 cents. A bet on YouTube star and real estate entrepreneur Kevin Paffrath, who is running for Democrat, costs 4 cents compared to 13 cents in mid-August. None of the other candidates are over 1 cent.

A bet on Newsom to keep the gig dropped to just 68 cents in early August. It now sells for 89 cents.

SEE: California Governor Newsom is being recalled as organizers file signatures

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