Poll: Newsom poised to survive recall and remain California governor


California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks before Vice President Kamala Harris during an event at the IBEW-NECA Joint Apprenticeship Training Center in San Leandro, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

SACRAMENTO (INSIDE CALIFORNIA POLITICS) – An exclusive Inside California Politics / Emerson College poll released Monday found the majority of California likely voters are voting against the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The new statewide poll of 1,000 registered voters which had a margin of error of +/-3%, revealed 60% of voters are voting against the recall and 40% are voting to recall Newsom. This is the first Inside California Politics / Emerson College poll that has Newsom’s support at over 48%, and shows the lowest support for the recall since March, according to an analysis by Emerson College.

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

Vote to keep Gov. Newsom: 60%
Vote to recall: 40%

Since the last Inside California Politics / Emerson College poll conducted in August, when voters were split 48% to 46% against the recall, Newsom has increased his support by 12%.

Geographically, the poll also revealed that opposition for the recall is strongest in the northern areas of California, with the Bay Area opposed at 75% and the northwest region opposed at 72%. Sacramento and Los Angeles counties also voiced opposition at 63% and 62% respectively. Voters in the Central Valley (51% to 49%) and Orange County (51% to 47%) are split.

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

Larry Elder: 30%
John Drake: 6%
Kevin Paffrath: 6%

Kevin Faulconer: 4%
Kevin Kiley: 4%
Jacqueline McGowan: 3%

John Cox: 3%
Caitlyn Jenner: 2%
No One: 34%
Undecided: 6%
Someone Else: 3%

Talk radio host Larry Elder is the lead replacement candidate with 30% of votes, the only candidate to reach double digits. Thirty-four percent of recall voters plan to leave this question blank.

Spencer Kimball, Director of Emerson College Polling, says that “the one way to evaluate if the Democrat’s strategy to not run a well-known candidate was successful is to look at the second question to see if more voters blank the ballot than vote for the top candidate.”

The Recall Effort 

President Joe Biden will join Newsom in the Southern California city of Long Beach on Monday, the day before voting ends.

He’s the last of a string of prominent Democrats who have come to the deep-blue state to assist Newsom as he faces a recall election.

Vice President Kamala Harris, a California native, campaigned alongside him last week, and former President Barack Obama appeared in a campaign ad urging Californians to vote no on the recall.

Biden’s visit, his first to California since taking office in January, underscores the importance of his party maintaining the governorship in the nation’s most populous state, which has the fifth-largest economy in the world. California has been the breeding ground for progressive policies on climate change, immigration and more. Beyond Harris, a handful of Biden’s Cabinet members have roots in the state.

The visit by Harris, a longtime friend and political ally of Newsom, came with less than a week left in the recall campaign. More than 6 million of the state’s 22 million registered voters already have cast ballots by mail. Voting ends Tuesday.

Elder, the GOP frontrunner in the recall, said Harris and Biden were trying to distract attention from Newsom’s record on widespread homelessness, rising crime and long-running school and business closures during the pandemic.

The recall made the ballot through a process in the California Constitution for more than a century. Originally the recall was likely to be held sometime in October or November, but Democrats in the state Legislature sped up the process to allow for an earlier election.

Republicans angry with Newsom’s policies on immigration, crime and a host of other issues sparked the recall drive, but it took off during the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers got more than 1.7 million signatures to place it on the ballot. That’s less than a tenth of registered voters.

The ballot includes two questions: Should Newsom be recalled from office and, if so, who should replace him? If a majority of voters want him gone, he would be replaced by whoever gets the most votes among the 46 candidates on the replacement ballot.

The Inside California Politics/Emerson College poll was conducted Sept. 10-11, 2021. The sample consisted of California likely 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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