Support for Newsom recall grows; 48% of voters still say they’d vote to keep him: Poll

Inside California Politics

With voters set to begin receiving ballots later this month, an Inside California Politics/Emerson College poll found that support for the recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom is up, but there are still more voters in favor of keeping the governor.

The exclusive new statewide poll of 1,000 registered voters, which has a margin of error of of +/- 3%, showed that the recall effort gained some traction in the last couple of weeks.

In the new poll, 48% of respondents said they would vote to keep Newsom in the Sept. 14 recall election. Meanwhile, 46%, said they would vote to recall the governor — up three percentage points from the 43% recorded in a July 22 Inside California Politics/Emerson College poll.

Would you vote to recall or to keep Gov. Newsom? 

Vote to recall: 46%
Vote to keep Gov. Newsom: 48%
Undecided: 6%

Last month’s poll showed 9% of voters were undecided.

Newsom has lost support from Hispanic voters, with 54% of Hispanic respondents saying they would vote to recall. The majority of Black and Asian respondents wish to keep Newsom, the poll showed. White respondents are split at 48% in favor of recalling Newsom and 49% in favor of keeping him.

Many respondents — 40% — are still undecided on who should replace Newsom if he is recalled.

Among the candidates is Republican talk radio host Larry Elder, who is still in the lead with 23% of respondents saying they’d vote for him. That is an increase of seven percentage points since last month’s poll.

Which candidate would you vote for to replace Gov. Newsom if he is recalled?

Larry Elder: 23%
John Cox: 7%
Caitlyn Jenner: 7%
Kevin Kiley: 5%
Kevin Faulconer: 4%
Kevin Paffrath: 1%
Someone Else: 14%
Undecided: 40%

Businessman John Cox and former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner are tied for second place at 7%, an increase for both candidates since the previous poll.

The Recall Election 

The election is set for Sept. 14, though ballots will be mailed to voters in mid-August. 

Voters will receive a ballot with two questions: Should Newsom be recalled and who should replace him? Answers to the second question will only be counted if more than half vote yes on the first.

A judge has ruled Newsom can’t put his Democratic Party affiliation on the recall ballot.

This is because Newsom’s campaign had missed a deadline to submit his affiliation to California Secretary of State Shirley Weber for the Sept. 14 recall election. It’s unclear if the lack of a party designation will have any practical impact. 

In June, Newsom signed a law that again changes the recall rules, this time to speed up the election. 

Organizers in the anti-recall effort say they are concerned about voter turnout, even though there are almost twice as many Californians who are registered as Democrats compared to registered Republicans.

Anti-recall campaign manager Juan Rodriguez says the campaign is working to energize Democrats. They have seen Republicans appear more eager to vote.

Newsom, who was elected in a 2018 landslide, sees the recall as an attack on California’s progressive policies. 

The recall is backed by state and national Republicans, but organizers argue they have a broad-based coalition, including many independents and Democrats.

It’s not uncommon in California for residents to seek recalls but they rarely get on the ballot – and even fewer succeed. A sitting governor has been ousted just once in the state, when unpopular Democrat Gray Davis was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenneger.

The official list of who’s running in the recall election remains unsettled. The list of 41 candidates released by the state in late July includes a range of candidates from the anonymous to the famous. The list includes 21 Republicans, eight Democrats, one Libertarian, nine Independents and two Green Party members. 

The Inside California Politics/Emerson College poll was conducted July 30-Aug. 1, 2021. The sample consisted of California registered voters, n=1,000, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3 percentage points.

Nexstar Media has stations nationwide, including KTLA. Other California stations include KRON in San Francisco, KTXL in Sacramento, KSEE/KGPE in Fresno, KGET in Bakersfield and KSWB in San Diego.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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