Poll: Majority of California Voters Would Retain Governor Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom Sued by CA Churches
Jeff Chiu/AP

A new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) suggests that 56% of likely voters in California are opposed to recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom, while 40% support doing so, as his approval rating has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Newsom is likely to face a recall election later this year after his critics gathered over 2.1 million signatures earlier this month — far more than the roughly 1.5 million necessary — to trigger a recall election. His approval had collapsed by early February to 46% in a different poll, as voters were furious over a new wave of coronavirus lockdowns and delays in the reopening of schools. Newsom also provoked criticism by attending a birthday dinner with influential lobbyists at the elite French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley in November that appeared to violate his own strict coronavirus guidelines.

However, the impending recall seems to have spurred Newsom to relieve some of the burden on Californians. Earlier this month, he announced a statewide school reopening plan — against opposition from teachers’ unions, who called it “structural racism” — and accelerated the state’s coronavirus vaccine rollout, once considered the slowest of any state in the country.

The highly-regarded PPIC poll indicated:

If a special election to recall Governor Newsom were held today, 40 percent of likely voters say they would vote yes on removing Newsom, while 56 percent would vote no and 5 percent are unsure. Views break along party lines: Republicans (79%) are far more likely than independents (42%) and Democrats (15%) to say they would vote yes. Across regions, support for removing Newsom is highest in the Central Valley (49%) and Inland Empire (47%) and lowest in the San Francisco Bay Area (27%, 41% Orange/San Diego, 40% Los Angeles).

Newsom’s approval rating has held steady so far in 2021. Just over half of Californians (54% adults, 53% likely voters) approve of how he is handling his job as governor, essentially unchanged from January (54% adults, 52% likely voters). This is similar to the share approving in February 2020, before the governor issued COVID-19 stay-at-home orders (53% adults, 52% likely voters). Peak approval for Governor Newsom so far was in May 2020, when 65 percent of adults and 64 percent of likely voters said they approved of his performance.

In addition, nearly three our of four (74%) likely California voters said that the worst of the pandemic was over. The poll included 1,174 likely voters with a margin of error of 3.9 percent.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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