California’s COVID Recovery Hurting Gov. Newsom Recall Efforts: Poll

California's COVID Recovery Hurting Gov. Newsom Recall Efforts: Poll gavin newsom attends press conference California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a press conference at The Unity Council on May 10, 2021, in Oakland, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 26 May 2021 01:36 PM

The effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., appears to have been hurt by California's rebound from the COVID-19 crisis.

The majority of state voters say they approve of Newsom's handling of the pandemic, and just 40% say they would remove him from office, a new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows, Politico reported.

Newsom’s overall approval rating is 54% among all likely voters, with 64% saying they support his handling of the pandemic, the poll shows.

"Everything is pointing in the direction of much more optimism about COVID and the economy and California," PPIC President and CEO Mark Baldassare said in an interview, according to Politico.

"And this is the context in which now the 2021 recall is set. … Right now, people are feeling good about the economic prospects in the next 12 months — and overwhelmingly, they're feeling good that the worst is behind us."

That's indicated in the poll results as the blue state's voters have grown optimistic about California’s recovery amid declining infection rates decline, more people becoming fully vaccinated, and more businesses opening.

An overwhelming total of 90% of likely voters said they believe the worst of the pandemic is over. In March, just 74% said that.

If the recall election were held today, the PPIC poll showed 57% of likely voters would vote "No" on recalling Newsom, 40% would vote "Yes," and 3% said they were undecided.

The PPIC survey did not ask respondents about different candidates who have said they will run to replace Newsom.

Baldassare said the recall issue remains divided along partisan lines. The effort to oust Newsom is supported by 78% of Republicans, but by just 47% of independents and 11% of Democrats.

With Democrats holding a 46%-24% registration advantage over Republicans, "supporters of a recall have their work cut out for them," Baldassare said.

However, a Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll released earlier this month showed Republicans were much more interested in the recall than Democrats.

That poll showed that 75% of Republicans had a high interest in the recall, more than twice the combined share of Democrats and independents. Based on those numbers, Democrats might have to work harder to turn out their voters in the special election.

Democrats, though, could be helped by the passage of a law requiring counties to send all voters a mail ballot again this year.

The state’s more conservative, inland regions supported the recall, with coastal areas showing the least support. Only 32% of voters in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area backed the effort.

Californians, by a 1 in 4 number, now say the state is doing an excellent (26%) or good (49%) job in distributing COVID-19 vaccinations. That combined rating had increased 39 points since January, when the state faced sharp criticism for its rollout.

The poll also had good news for Newsom regarding his two budget proposals to use the state's massive surplus on financial assistance for middle- and lower-income residents.

A total of 70% of adults — and two-thirds of likely voters — approve of providing Californians with another round of $600 stimulus checks for those earning below $75,000, and an additional $500 for those with children.

And an overall 81% of Californians, and 77% of likely voters, back his plan to assist COVID-19-impacted residents with funds to pay overdue rent and utility bills.