California Voters Prefer Newsom to Elder By 18 Points, Poll Says

Registered voters in California prefer sitting Governor Gavin Newsom to Larry Elder, the lead Republican candidate running to replace him in next week's recall election, according to new polling results released by YouGov on Wednesday.

Newsom led Elder by 18 points among registered voters asked which of the two individuals they preferred and by 22 points among likely voters who were asked the same question, according to the poll's results. Pollsters also found 56 percent of all respondents and 57 percent of likely voters said they wanted to keep Newsom in office.

Of the respondents who said they voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, 90 percent told pollsters they prefer Newsom and 10 percent said they prefer Elder. In contrast, 91 percent of respondents who said they voted for former President Donald Trump last year said they prefer Elder, while nine percent said they prefer Newsom.

Gavin Newsom Larry Elder YouGov poll
New poll results released by YouGov on Wednesday said California voters prefer Governor Gavin Newsom to his top GOP recall challenger by 18 points. Above, Newsom looks on during a "Vote No" get out the vote tour campaign stop at Mission Language and Vocational School on September 7, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Elder, a conservative radio host running as a Republican, has led among the 46 candidates who qualified to appear on the recall ballot in most polls conducted since he launched his campaign in July. Many recent polls have found him leading his fellow GOP candidates by double-digits—including the latest YouGov poll, which found Elder polling at 20 percent among respondents who said they had already returned their ballots and at 24 percent among likely voters.

The recall candidate who polled second in the YouGov survey was Kevin Paffrath, who is one of nine Democrats listed on the recall ballot. Paffrath has consistently led among his fellow Democrats in polls conducted in recent weeks and has frequently polled behind Elder. YouGov pollsters said Paffrath polled at six percent among respondents who already voted and seven percent among likely voters.

Less than one week remains until California voters decide if they want to keep Newsom in office for the remainder of his term or remove him through the September 14 special election. If more than 50 percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of recalling Newsom, he will be replaced by whichever recall candidate receives the greatest number of votes.

While voters will be able to cast their ballots in person on September 14, election officials said they sent every registered voter in the state a mail-in ballot in accordance with an executive order Newsom signed earlier this year. According to early ballot return numbers updated by the California secretary of state's office, more than 6 million of the more than 22.3 million voters who were sent mail-in ballots returned their recall ballots by Monday.

Of the YouGov poll respondents who said they received their mail-in ballots, 48 percent told pollsters they had already returned them and 47 percent said they hadn't yet but did intend to turn them in.

The poll's results were gathered through an internet survey conducted between August 27 and September 1 among 2,043 registered California voters in partnership with the Hoover Institution and the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, according to YouGov. The poll had a 2.8 percent margin of error, pollsters said.

Newsweek reached out to Elder's campaign for comment and will update this article with any response.