California’s Newsom Likely to Keep Job in Recall, Poll Shows
(Bloomberg) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom will probably survive this month’s recall election, according to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.
With about two weeks to go before voting concludes on Sept. 14, the survey holds goods news for the Democrat trying to prevail in the second gubernatorial recall in the state’s history. Just 39% of likely voters say they back his removal from office, and 53% approve of the first-term governor’s performance.
Newsom has faced challenges in the campaign, from defending his handling of the pandemic amid the spreading delta-variant to confronting wildfires that have forced the evacuation of South Lake Tahoe and closed national forests in the state.
About half of likely voters say they either don’t favor a replacement for Newsom, wouldn’t vote for one, or are unsure. Asked to pick their preference among five candidates, 26% of likely voters chose conservative talk radio host Larry Elder. Kevin Faulconer, a former San Diego mayor and one-time GOP establishment favorite, lagged far behind with 5%. Republican legislator Kevin Kiley and John Cox, who lost to Newsom in the 2018 gubernatorial race, each garnered 3%, while just 1% tapped reality television star Caitlyn Jenner.
Voters started getting their ballots in the mail in mid-August, and campaigns have intensified for the election, with both sides predicting dire consequences if the other wins. The poll, conducted Aug. 20-Aug. 29, showed some effects of political advertisements particularly for Newsom’s Democratic base, which hadn’t been as engaged in the race, said Mark Baldassare, chief executive officer of the institute, in a blog post. Fewer Democrats than in a March survey said the recall is appropriate, and more indicated the special vote will make things worse, the poll showed.
Still, Democrats remain far less energized. Of likely voters, 54% of Republicans say they’re more enthusiastic than usual to vote in this election, compared with 40% of Democrats.
The possibility of a successful recall and the first Republican governor elected since 2006 “gives Republican voters a reason to be more enthusiastic about voting this year,” according to Baldassare. “And it puts pressure on the anti-recall campaign to get out the vote among the dominant Democratic base who strongly oppose the governor’s removal.”
Newsom is stepping up campaign appearances, with a stop in San Francisco Thursday and one in Los Angeles Saturday with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
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