Half of Californians in new poll want Newsom recalled

About half of likely California voters want Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Ivory poaching changes evolution of elephants California regulator proposes ban on oil drilling near schools, hospitals, homes Biden says he would tap National Guard to help with supply chain issues MORE (D) recalled next month, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The poll conducted Aug. 2-4 by Survey USA for the San Diego Union Tribune found that 51 percent of respondents said that they would vote to remove Newsom from office if the recall election were held today. Forty percent said they want the governor to stay in office.

The survey results mark a sharp reversal from a Survey USA/San Diego Union-Tribune poll conducted in May that found only 36 percent of voters wanted Newsom removed from office, with 47 percent opposed to the recall.

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The polling numbers paint an alarming picture for Newsom, who will face a referendum on Sept. 14 that will determine whether he will be allowed to finish out his first term.

Of chief concern to Newsom is an enthusiasm gap among California voters. Polling has repeatedly shown that Republicans are more energized ahead of the recall vote, putting Newsom at risk despite the state’s solid Democratic majority.

Still, the new Survey USA/San Diego Union-Tribune poll found that a Republican may not be the first choice to replace Newsom if he’s ultimately removed from office.

Kevin Paffrath, a YouTube personality and the highest-profile Democrat seeking to replace Newsom, leads the pack of challengers with 27 percent support. He's trailed by conservative radio host Larry Elder, at 23 percent.

Only one other candidate, Republican businessman John Cox, notched double-digit support, registering 10 percent in the poll. 

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin FaulconerKevin FaulconerFinal California recall count shows Newsom with tally identical to 2018 Republicans trapped in a media prison of their own making Seven takeaways from California's recall election MORE (R), garnered 5 percent support, while former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner each notched 4 percent.

The poll surveyed 1,100 California adults, including 613 likely voters. Survey USA said it does not report a traditional margin of error but instead assigns a "credibility interval" to each question. In the case of the recall question, the credibility interval was 5 percentage points.