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Majority of likely voters approve of Newsom's handling of school reopenings, economy: poll

Majority of likely voters approve of Newsom's handling of school reopenings, economy: poll
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A majority of likely voters in a new poll say they approve of California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomPoll finds little support for Jenner, other Republicans challenging Newsom Jenner says she didn't vote in 2020: 'I just couldn't get excited about it' California drought emergency expanded to most of the state MORE’s (D) handling of school reopenings and the state’s economy as he faces a recall election later this year fueled largely by his response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fifty-nine percent of likely voters said in a Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll that they approve of how Newsom has managed school reopenings, while 40 percent disapprove. A similar 59 percent said they approve of how the governor is “handling the issue of jobs and the economy,” while 40 percent again disapprove.

The results are split sharply along partisan lines, with 80 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of independents and 21 percent of Republicans approving of his handling of school reopenings.

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When it comes to the economy, 84 percent of Democrats approve of the job Newsom has done, compared with 52 percent of independents and just 17 percent of Republicans. 

Still, the poll is likely good news for Newsom as he stares down the prospect of getting recalled.

Recall proponents have pointed to the governor's school and business closures in their arguments that Newsom’s policies have set students back and tanked the economy.

However, to successfully oust the governor, they will likely need broad swaths of Democrats to turn on him given the party’s dominance in the state. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by a nearly 2 to 1 margin in California, meaning that the recall effort will likely fail with just Republican support. 

“To me, the significance around schools and the economy can’t be overstated,” PPIC president and CEO Mark Baldassare told Politico, which first reported on the poll. “These are really two central challenges, big problems the governor has faced, and today most people are with him in terms of how he’s handled these issues.”

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The PPIC survey is the latest to show Newsom in a strong position heading into the recall. A March survey from the independent California-based firm Probolsky Research found that more would vote to keep Newsom than unseat him.

The recall election, likely to be held in November, will ask voters two questions on the same ballot. First, if they would like to recall Newsom, and second, regardless of how they answered on the first question, with whom they’d like to replace him.

A cavalcade of candidates have already tossed their hats into the ring to replace the governor should he be recalled, including former Olympian and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner, businessman Kirk Cox, former San Diego Mayor Kevin FaulconerKevin FaulconerPoll finds little support for Jenner, other Republicans challenging Newsom Why Caitlyn Jenner should not be dismissed Caitlyn Jenner: California needs a 'thoughtful disruptor' MORE and former Rep. Doug Ose (R).

The PPIC poll surveyed 1,104 likely voters from April 1-14 and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.