Californians Increasingly Against Recalling Gov. Newsom, Poll Finds

49% of California voters say they intend to vote against replacing Democrat Gavin Newsom.

Opposition to the recall campaign against California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is increasing, a poll released Tuesday found.

According to the poll conducted last week by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, 49% of voters say they intend to vote against recalling Newsom, marking a 4-percentage-point increase from three months ago. He will need only a plurality of the vote, which has yet to be scheduled, to keep his job, not an absolute majority.

The governor’s performance rating is also at 52%, with 43% disapproving, the poll found. That’s up from an even split three months ago.

“Newsom’s improved job ratings appear largely due to voters’ much more positive view of the Governor’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic compared to three months ago,” the poll’s facilitators said. The Republican-led recall campaign, which was officially approved for the ballot last month, largely benefited from residents being angry about pandemic-related school and business closures, but recent reopenings in the state appear to have tempered the ire that had been directed at Newsom.

No major Democratic opponent has stepped up to compete against Newsom in the recall, which could cost upwards of $400 million. The Republican challengers do not appear to be gaining ground with voters, the poll found.

“None of four prominent Republicans currently running in the replacement election are generating much support among the overall electorate at this stage,” the surveyors said. “When voters are asked whether they would be inclined or not inclined to vote for each candidate, fewer than one in four voters statewide say they are currently disposed to back them.”

Just 22% of surveyed voters said they plan to support former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer or former gubernatorial candidate John Cox, 14% support former Congressman Doug Ose and 6% support Olympian-turned-reality television star Caitlyn Jenner, the poll found.

Newsom may have earned more voter goodwill this week after announcing his proposal to give two-thirds of Californians coronavirus stimulus checks of $600 or more.

“California is not coming back; California is going to come roaring back,” Newsom said at a press conference in Oakland on Monday. He previously announced that the state would fully reopen by mid-June.

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