Gavin Newsom Recall Not Supported by Californians: Poll

A majority of voters in California oppose the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom, according to a poll released just weeks after the campaign against the Democrat revealed that it had collected more than 2 million signatures.

The poll, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California and released on Tuesday, found that 56 percent of voters were against the recall, 40 percent supported it and the remainder were undecided.

The recall campaign submitted its petition to the state before the deadline on March 17. About 1.5 million verified signatures are required to trigger a recall and it is likely that enough of the campaign's signatures will be validated to get the measure on the ballot.

The poll was conducted from March 14 to 23 and Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California, told The Los Angeles Times that Californians were starting to see "the light at the end of the tunnel" after COVID-19.

"The support for keeping Gov. Newsom has become much more optimistic about where things are headed with COVID than they were in January," Baldassare said.

"All of these things work to the benefit of keeping the status quo," he said.

The poll shows a significant split along party lines, with 79 percent of Republicans supporting the recall and 79 percent of Democrats opposing the measure.

The survey also found that 40 percent of voters support getting rid of Newsom. In the 2018 election, the Democrat won 61.9 percent of the vote and his Republican opponent John Cox won 38.1 percent. The Public Policy Institute poll suggests that a recall election would have a similar result.

In order for Newsom to be removed from office, more than 50 percent of Californians voting on the recall question would have to say "yes." Only if this threshold is reached would a second question come into play: who should replace Newsom?

A sitting governor cannot appear on the ballot as their own replacement, so if the recall vote is successful, Newsom will be ousted. This was the method that allowed the Republican candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger to take the governor's mansion in 2003 when Democrat Gray Davis was recalled.

Newsom has sought to portray the recall as an entirely Republican campaign, despite polling that shows independents and some Democrats are in favor of removing him from office.

"I won't be distracted by this partisan, Republican recall—but I will fight it," the governor tweeted on March 15. "There is too much at stake. Getting Californians vaccinated, our economy safely reopened, and our kids back in school are simply too important to risk."

California Governor Gavin Newsom in San Francisco
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco on March 19. A recent poll shows Newsom is likely to win a recall election. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images