The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom from office faces early opposition from the state's electorate, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.
As election officials around the state review the voter signatures required to force a recall election, 56% of likely voters told the PPIC that they would vote against recalling Newsom, while 40% would vote to replace him.
Leaders of the recall campaign have expressed confidence that they have submitted far more than the 1,495,709 valid voter signatures that were required by March 17 to qualify an election. County officials are checking the signatures – an announcement on whether the recall has qualified could come in April.
But despite voter anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic and California's economy, Newsom's admitted missteps and the increasing likelihood of a historic recall election, the poll exposes the static nature of voter opinions toward the governor.
After all, the 40% of likely voters willing to toss Newsom from office this year is about the same as the 38% who voted against him in 2018. And the 53% of likely voters who approve of his job performance in this survey is nearly identical to his pre-pandemic level of approval, measured at 52% of likely voters in February 2020.
And while backers of the bid to replace Newsom have touted the bipartisan bona fides of their effort, the PPIC survey shows a stark divide in the feelings of California Democrats and Republicans.
"Most importantly, Gov. Newsom enjoys overwhelming support among Democratic likely voters, and that's something that he has maintained in the last year," said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the PPIC. "That is really his base and they've remained consistently with him."