Republican John Cox is the dictionary definition of an underdog in the California governor’s race against liberal Democrat Gavin Newsom. On average, he’s down 29 points in the polls. So why are the “fact checkers” focusing on him? Bill Zeiser, editor of the Real Clear Politics Fact Check Review, noted both PolitiFact and The Washington Post are trying to pick apart Cox’s claims.
Chris Nichols at PolitiFact California took on Cox’s “exaggerated” claim to Charles Payne on Fox Business that “Fully half the people — our research is showing half the people — in [California] want to leave.” ”
he Cox campaign supplied PolitiFact with two polls it took asking “Over the next few years, how likely is it that you would move out of state?” The June poll showed 21 percent answered “very likely” and 29 percent “somewhat likely” for a total of 50 percent. The August survey totaled 52 percent for those answers.
So Cox accurately described his own polling. But PolitiFact ruled “Half True” — because other polls with larger samples had somewhat different numbers. The Cox polling is not “settled fact.” So wait — if Newsom went on CNN and said “our research says I’m winning,” that would be “Half True” if the CNN poll has different numbers?
PolitiFact’s other polls asked slightly different questions. The Public Policy Institute of California found that the state’s housing costs are so high that 44 percent of residents are seriously considering moving from their current location, with 33 percent interested in leaving the state altogether. Another, from UC-Berkeley, found that 56 percent of respondents had considered moving due to housing costs, with 27 percent interested in leaving the state. So don’t these polls still make a strongly negative point about California?