Gavin Newsom Holds 'Very Large Leads' Over Potential 2022 GOP Challengers: Poll

California Gov. Gavin Newsom maintains strong leads over Republican candidates who might challenge him in 2022, a poll released Friday shows.

The poll, released just three days after he won a recall election, surveyed nearly 10,000 voters and was conducted by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies between August 30 and September 6. It pitted Newsom against four "prominent" California Republicans in hypothetical 2022 match-ups. All of the Republicans were candidates in the recall election.

"The results indicate that Newsom holds very large leads over each of them," the institute said in a statement.

The poll showed that 52 percent of California voters preferred Newsom to his leading GOP recall challenger, conservative talk show host Larry Elder, who received support from 30 percent of those polled. Eighteen percent of voters were undecided.

Newsom led former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer 49 percent to 27 percent, and State Assembly Member Kevin Kiley 50 percent to 25 percent.

Newsom Holds Leads Over Potential GOP Challengers
A poll released Friday shows California Governor Gavin Newsom easily defeating potential Republican challengers in hypothetical 2022 match-ups. Above, Newsom speaks to union workers and volunteers on election day at the IBEW Local 6 union hall on September 14, 2021, in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan

And when matched up against businessman John Cox, Newsom led 51 percent to 26 percent.

"These results reinforce the message from Tuesday's election that Newsom is now in good shape looking ahead to 2022, at least when today's most likely Republican challengers are considered as alternatives," Eric Schickler, the co-director of the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, said in a statement.

The institute noted that the poll shows voter preferences "are highly partisan, with about eight in ten Democrats backing the Governor in each pairing, while large majorities of Republicans are backing each of the GOP candidates."

"Newsom also leads over each of the Republicans among No Party Preference voters by solid two-to-one margins, although relatively large proportions are undecided," they added.

In addition, Newsom is "preferred greater than three-to-one among voters in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, his home region" and by more than two-to-one in Los Angeles County.

"By contrast, the state's conservatives, as well as those who backed President Trump's re-election bid in 2020, favor Elder by wide margins," the institute stated.

Elder also performed strongly in the state's "more Republican-leaning areas" such as the North Coast/Sierras Region, the San Joaquin Valley and Orange County.

On Thursday, when asked by Inside California Politics if he was leaning toward running against Newsom in 2022 Elder said: "It's hard for me to see how the outcome would be any different unless I was able to raise at least as much money as he has spent."

BREAKING: "It's hard to see how the outcome would be any different unless I was able to raise at least as much money as @GavinNewsom has spent, but even then the thing is daunting." @LarryElder to @FrankBuckleyTV on why he may not run for governor again in 2022 #InsideCAPolitics

— Inside California Politics (@CAinsider) September 16, 2021

"But even then, the thing is daunting," Elder said, noting California's voter base, which favors Democrats.

"Now, independents outnumber Republicans, so it's hard for me to see that were I to have a rematch, the outcome would be a whole lot different. But I may change my mind over the next coming days," he added.