New Poll Finds Newsom’s Job Approval Ratings Plunge Amid Looming Recall

Survey finds 36% of registered California voters "are now prepared to vote to remove Newsom from office."
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 17: James chats with California Governor Gavin Newsom from his garage on THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN, scheduled to air Wednesday June 17, 2020.
CBS via Getty Images

A new study out of the left-leaning University of California-Berkeley found that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s job approval ratings have plummeted in recent months as a drive to remove him from office forges ahead.

Citing a new poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, The Los Angeles Times reported, “less than half of California voters — 46% — approved on Newsom’s job performance.” According to the outlet, “just four months ago, Newsom had a 60% approval rating — among the highest of any California governor in the past 50 years at the same point in their first term.”

The poll, released on Tuesday morning, was administered online in English and Spanish last week among more than 10,000 registered voters. It found “just 36% say they are now prepared to vote to remove Newsom from office” if the recall effort qualifies for the ballot. The findings, however, note that “a relatively large proportion of voters (19%) are undecided.”

Newsom, 53, has been criticized by a growing number of fellow Democrats for his coronavirus response.

Recall organizers need to garner about 1.5 million valid signatures of registered voters by March 17 to bring the question to a statewide vote. They claim to have collected approximately 1.3 million signatures so far. If the recall qualifies after the certification process, a special election would take place within 60 to 90 days. Voters would be asked two questions on the ballot: Whether Newsom should be recalled and who should replace the governor if the recall passes.

Mark DiCamillo, the director of the Berkeley IGS poll, told The Times, “People are reevaluating how well Newsom is doing handling the pandemic.”

“Once your job performance rating starts to decline, it’s more difficult to put it back in the right direction,” he continued. “You kind of accumulate negatives over time.”

Mr. DiCamillo provided more analysis of the poll results:

Fueling the decline is the public’s much more negative assessment of the way Newsom and state government are handling the pandemic. The latest poll finds fewer than one in three Californians (31%) rating Newsom as doing an excellent or good job in handling the pandemic overall, down from 49% last September. Also, just 22% offer a positive rating of the job he and state government are doing in overseeing the distribution of the coronavirus vaccines to the public. In addition, only about half (47%) have a great deal or some trust in the way the Governor and state government are setting the rules when issuing stay-at-home orders or setting guidelines for business to follow to slow the spread of the virus, with majorities describing them as inconsistent (62%), confusing (60%) and ineffective (53%).

“These results should provide a strong warning to the Governor,” said IGS Co-Director Eric Schickler. “If the recall election does go forward, the state’s response to the pandemic needs to be seen as more successful for the Governor than it is now for him to be confident of the election outcome.”

Republican John Cox, 65, who Newsom soundly defeated in the 2018 gubernatorial election, said he would run against him again if the recall qualifies. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, 54, another Republican, said he would also challenge the governor.

During a Periscope broadcast on Monday, social media influencer Mike Cernovich, 43, reportedly said he would also enter the race. According to The L.A. Times, Cernovich is a registered independent.

Related: John Cox, 2018 Newsom Opponent, Says He’ll Run Again If Recall Effort Succeeds

Related: After Commuting His Sentence, CA Gov. Newsom Reverses Parole For Convicted Double Murderer

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