New poll: Support for Newsom recall grows, Elder increases lead as replacement

California

FILE – In this June 3, 2021, file photo California Gov. Gavin Newsom listens to questions during a news conference in San Francisco. Democrats in the state Legislature are trying to alter the state’s recall laws in a move that would allow Newsom’s election to be held earlier. They are expected to debate the proposal Monday, June 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

SACRAMENTO (INSIDE CALIFORNIA POLITICS) — An exclusive Inside California Politics / Emerson College poll found that support for the recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom is increasing.

The new statewide poll of 1,000 registered voters, which has a margin of error of +/- 3%, showed that the recall effort gained traction since last month, with a near tie between voting to keep and voting to recall.

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

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

The race has tightened with 46% in favor of recalling Newsom and 48% of voters against his recall. The recall effort gained support by three percentage points since a July 22 Inside California Politics / Emerson College poll, the gain coming from voters who previously said they were undecided.

Last month’s poll showed 9% of voters were undecided and the vote to recall was at 43%.

Newsom has lost support from a majority of Hispanic voters, as 54% of Hispanic respondents said they would vote to recall. It’s the only racial group responding in favor of the recall – the majority of Black respondents and Asian respondents wish to keep Newsom.

White respondents are split at 48% in favor of recalling Newsom and 49% in favor of keeping him.

Voters will begin receiving ballots later this month with the recall election day set for Sept. 14, 2021.

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%

Talk radio host Larry Elder has increased his lead, as the Republican candidate campaigns to replace Gov. Newsom during the recall election.

He gained seven percentage points this week, compared to last month’s Inside California Politics / Emerson College poll.

Second place is tied at 7% for both businessman John Cox and former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner, both of whom increased support since our previous poll.

The Inside California Politics / Emerson College poll reveals that nearly a third of Independents, 29%, are backing Elder.

However, most respondents – 40% – are still undecided on who should replace Newsom in case he is recalled.

The Recall Effort 

Recall organizers gathered more than 2 million signatures to force the election and emphasized what they said were Newsom’s overreaching policies during the pandemic. 

In the recall, 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. 

The recall was fueled by frustration over Newsom’s coronavirus shutdown orders and anger after it was learned the governor attended a party with lobbyist friends at The French Laundry last fall when he was telling Californians to stay home. 

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

Why exactly is there a recall drive against Newsom? The answer is simple and complicated: Californians grew angry over a difficult year. Whipsaw pandemic lockdowns, crushing job losses from business closures, shuttered schools and the disruption of daily life soured just about everybody. 

The complicated part: In a state with nearly 40 million people, there are many grievances, from California’s wallet-sapping taxes to a raging homelessness crisis. As governor, Newsom became a target for that resentment. 

Homelessness continues to be the leading issue facing California today, 19% of respondents voted in our latest poll.

For months, Newsom steered around questions about a possible recall election but in March launched an aggressive campaign strategy, fundraising, running ads attacking the recall, and doing national TV and cable interview 

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.

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 appearing more eager to vote.

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 lacked the panache of the more than 100 candidates who ran in California’s last recall of a governor in 2003. But it 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-August 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 in San Francisco (KRON4), Sacramento (Fox40), Fresno (KSEE/KGPE), Bakersfield (KGET), Los Angeles (KTLA), and San Diego (Fox5).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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