State Watch

Poll: Majority of California voters don’t back recall

A substantial majority of California voters say they do not support recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from office as voters give high marks to legislation he signed to combat the economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fifty-six percent of voters say they oppose the recall effort to remove Newsom from office, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California poll released this week, while 40 percent of likely voters say they would support a recall.

Democrats and Republicans are split over the recall, though Democratic voters outnumber registered Republicans by a nearly two-to-one margin in California. Among independents, 53 percent oppose recalling Newsom. Men narrowly favor removing him from office, but women oppose the recall by a 64 percent to 31 percent margin.

White voters oppose the recall by a 7-point margin, while Latino voters want to keep Newsom in office by a 20-point margin. The poll did not break out results among Black voters or Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Despite the good poll numbers, Newsom still faces a tough road ahead. Recall supporters have turned in more than 2.1 million signatures, well over the 1.5 million they need to force an election sometime later this year.

Newsom’s job approval rating stands at 53 percent, down from a peak of 64 percent in May but still substantially above water. Forty-two percent said they disapprove of the job he’s doing.

Newsom may be benefitting from a massive new relief package he signed into law earlier this year. The $7.6 billion package included one-time $600 payments to low-income Californians, $2.1 billion in small business relief and $400 million for child care and preschool programs.

The poll found 70 percent of likely voters favored the package. Seventy-two percent said they favor another budget measure Newsom signed that will provide more funding for schools.

A similar number, 68 percent, said they favored the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress this month.

Almost 4 in 5 California voters, 79 percent, say the worst of the coronavirus outbreak has passed. Only 45 percent think California’s government has done an excellent or a good job in distributing coronavirus vaccines, while 52 percent say the government has done only a fair or a poor job.

Fifty-two percent of California voters said they were willing to pay higher taxes in order to maintain a government that provides more services, while 44 percent said they would prefer fewer services and lower taxes.

If Newsom needs help on the campaign trail, he can turn to the most popular figure among California voters, President Biden. Sixty percent of voters approve of the job Biden is doing in office, including 60 percent of independents and 71 percent who call themselves moderate. Biden won 63 percent of the vote in California in 2020, the largest winning margin for a presidential candidate since Franklin Roosevelt’s first reelection campaign in 1936.

The poll, conducted March 14-23, surveyed 1,706 California adults, 1,174 of whom counted as likely voters. The poll carried a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points. 

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