A new Inside California Politics/Emerson College poll released on Thursday reports that Governor Gavin Newsom is rapidly losing ground in the recall election, while radio host Larry Elder has taken a commanding lead among all recall candidates.
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According to the poll, which was conducted based on a sampling of 1,000 registered voters in California on a 2.9% margin of error, Governor Newsom now only has about 48% of voters wanting to keep him in office, as compared to 43% of voters willing to vote for his recall. 9% of voters remain undecided.
Contrasted with the May UC Berkeley survey that found that 49% of voters wanted to keep him in office versus 36% wanting to recall him, the new Emerson poll has shown that not only has Newsom lost ground to recall supporters during late Spring and early Summer, but he has also lost a little support.
The July poll also found that Newsom’s popularity has gone down significantly since May, dipping below the 50% mark for the first time since February. Newsom currently sits at a 49% approval rating, down from 52% two months ago. His disapproval rating has also gone up to 42%, closely mirroring the recall poll percentages.
When asked about rating the Governor on a wide range of topics from his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic to homelessness, the highest percentage chosen for each one by voters was “poor,” the lowest rating possible. In particular, his handling of the homelessness crisis was met with the strongest response, with a whopping 52% of voters ranking his performance as poor, and only 25% saying fair, 16% good and only 7% excellent.
As for recall candidates, radio personality Larry Elder stormed ahead of the polling with 16%, beating out second-place finishers, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 Gubernatorial candidate John Cox, who both scored a respective 6% of the vote, both down from higher percentages scored in the May Berkeley poll when there were fewer candidates to choose from. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R- Rocklin) and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner came in a distant 3rd, tied with 4% each.
53% of voters, about equal to Newsom’s approval percentage of voters, said that they remained undecided.
Elder, who had a brief court battle with Secretary of State Shirley Weber this week over being allowed on the ballot, is now widely seen as the frontrunner.
Finally, the GOP had further good news in the poll when a question asked whether voters would vote for Newsom in the 2022 election, came back with a result of 42% in favor reelecting Newsom and 58% in favor of someone new.
The turning tide against Newsom
“Despite Newsom ending the lockdown, giving everyone $600 stimulus checks, reopening the state, and and drastically reducing COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the year, Newsom is on the downswing once again,” said former lobbyist Harry Schultz to the Globe on Thursday. “The recall movement hasn’t had to pound his COVID-19 lockdowns and the French Laundry incident at all. The drought issue, the homeless issue, the wildfires raging, the state losing a lot of businesses, and the increased crime are eating away at the patience of many people on the fence.”
“The Newsom team also overestimated just how many people would come out to support him. This isn’t like 2018 where he has a huge force behind him. This is a recall election that isn’t getting nearly as much press behind it as the last one did in 2003. So, right now, Republican and right-leaning voters all know about this, and while many Democrats do, a lot of more “casual” Democratic voters don’t. Or at least not yet. So all of these factors are now making a recall more and more possible. For months people have been saying just how vulnerable he is. It’s really beginning to show that now.”
“I’ll grant him that handling the COVID crisis would have been tough for anyone. Most voters regardless of party would say so. But he should be surging right back in the polls now with California open again. But it just isn’t happening?”
“Even if he does manage to win in September, right now it’s pretty obvious that he is screwed next year, so each party really needs to be careful on who they pick.”
“With Newsom this close now, with the margin of error added, I’m sure the Democrats are kicking themselves by not selecting a ‘just in case’ Democratic candidate now. At the end of the year, it is now very possible that we will have the first black Governor, and a conservative one at that. Who would have thought of that a year ago?”
Other recall election polls are expected in the next few months in the lead up to the September 14th recall election.
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