The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom has failed to gain support since qualifying for the ballot amid a stiff partisan divide in California, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
Among 1,705 likely voters surveyed by the Public Policy Institute of California, 57% said they would vote to keep the governor and 40% sought to remove him, with the remaining 3% undecided.
Views broke along party lines. And while support remained unchanged, the opposition gained 1 percentage point in the survey conducted May 9-18 compared to one done March 14-23.
The poll’s results show opposition to a Newsom recall is “remarkably stable” and “driven by a large and consistent partisan divide that favors the Democratic governor,” said Mark Baldassare, president of the institute.
Only 11% of Democrats said they supported the recall, compared to 78% of Republicans. Just under half of independents, 47%, said they would vote to remove Newsom.
The survey also found support for a recall highest in the Inland Empire (56%) and Central Valley (49%), and lower in coastal areas like Los Angeles (32%), the Bay Area (32%) and Orange County (42%).
In a blog post accompanying the results, Baldassare said the recall isn’t gaining traction because not enough voters feel things would get better if Newsom were removed. While 47% of likely voters said that things would get better with Gov. Gray Davis removed from office in 2003, only 29% say the same of Newsom.
“For a recall election to gain traction this time, many more voters need to believe that things would get better afterward,” Baldassare said.
Overall, 54% of likely voters and 55% of adults approve of Newsom’s performance as governor, and 64% of all adults approve of how he’s handled the pandemic.
An overwhelming majority of Californians also said the worst of the pandemic is behind us, “and the share who fear getting sick and hospitalized from COVID has plummeted,” Baldassare said.
While most felt good about the state’s work getting people vaccinated, African Americans and Latinos were less likely to have received a shot.
Some 70% of adults approve of Newsom’s plan to provide Californians with another round of stimulus checks, and 80% want the state to help with overdue rent and utility bills.
Income inequality is one thing that broke the partisan divide, with 72% of Democrats, 67% of independents and 62% of Republicans saying the wealth gap is growing. But the groups’ views diverge once again on whether the government should do anything about it.
A date for the recall election has yet to be set. The state still has to recount petition signatures after the period in which voters were allowed to withdraw their support to see if the effort still qualifies.
If the recall moves forward as expected, voters will be asked two questions: Should Newsom be removed from office, and if so, who should replace him? He cannot be a candidate listed on the second question.