Will Gavin Newsom Survive the Recall Effort? Here's What the Polls Are Saying

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The last month has seen a steady increase in support for California Governor Gavin Newsom, to the point where it now appears likely that the effort to recall him will fail.


A poll released on Friday by the University of California at Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies shows that 60 percent of California voters oppose recalling Newsom, with 38.7 percent favoring recall. Significantly, only a small percentage of poll respondents claimed to be undecided, making a late comeback by supporters of the recall unlikely.

The recall election will be held on Tuesday. The ballot will have two separate questions: Should Newsom be recalled? If so, who should replace him?


The pollster reported that close to two out of five respondents had already submitted their vote, further suggesting that a portion of the votes are already locked in. They did note that the day-of electorate is shaping up to be pro-recall, based on survey results, though not by enough of a margin to make up the difference. The likely voter results had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

That’s a sizable shift in Newsom’s favor since the previous IGS poll, co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, released at the end of July. That survey showed the anti-recall effort holding just a 3-point advantage over the anti-Newsom forces among likely voters, spurring heartburn among Democrats and prompting them to redouble their efforts to gin up enthusiasm within their base supporters.

A poll earlier this month from the Public Policy Institute of California found a similar spread — 58 against the recall with 39 percent favoring it.

Other recent polls are all showing Newsom comfortably defeating the recall by double digits.

It seems that the major reason for Newsom’s comeback is that he succeeded in scaring California’s Democrats enough that they are going to be motivated to go to the polls.

The new IGS survey found that libertarian talk radio host Larry Elder remains the top contender to replace Newsom if a majority of voters do end up voting to recall him. Elder was the first choice for 38 percent of likely voters, according to the Los Angeles Times’ analysis of the poll, nearly four times that of the next-closest candidate, Democrat Kevin Paffrath. According to the rules of recall elections in California, a replacement candidate only needs a plurality of support in order to win after a recall is triggered on the first part of the two-step ballot.

The poll also showed that nearly a third of likely voters — and close to half of Democratic respondents — are disinclined to name a replacement to Newsom after the governor and his supporters made a concerted effort to discourage other Democrats from running as potential substitutes, a contrast to the 2003 recall in which then-Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante was on the replacement ballot.

Newsom raised an astonishing $50 million in just four months. It took him four years to raise $54 million for his 2018 election. Newsom wasn’t the only Democrat running scared as the Democrats’ big donors opened their wallets to stave off the embarrassment of losing the state’s number one Democrat.



Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member