Support for recalling Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom increased in July and Californians are now split on the issue, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll released Tuesday.
The poll found that 47% of likely voters in California supported recalling Newsom while 50% opposed, a gap within the margin of error. This marks a shift from April when 36% of likely voters supported the recall.
High enthusiasm for the Sept. 14 recall election among Republicans could overcome Democrats’ partisan advantage in the state, the Los Angeles Times reported. Ninety percent of Republicans reported a high degree of interest in the poll compared to 53% of independents and 58% of Democrats.
As a result, Republicans comprise 33% of those likely to cast a ballot in the recall election despite accounting for only about 25% of the state’s registered voters, the poll found.
“Democrats, at least in the middle of July, almost unanimously believed that Newsom will defeat the recall. I think that may be contributing to some complacency among those voters. Republicans, on the other hand, are confident that they can turn out the governor,” poll director Mark DiCamillo said to the Los Angeles Times. “I think the Newsom campaign really has to light a fire among the Democrats and say, ‘Look, the outcome is in jeopardy unless you get out there and vote.'”
In the recall election, Californians will also vote for a replacement candidate for Newsom if he is successfully recalled. In that race, conservative talk host Larry Elder, who entered the race July 12, leads the split field, according to the poll.
LA Times/Berkeley IGS Poll (Likely Voters) on Gavin Newsom recall:
Yes on recall? 47%
No on recall? 50%
— Rob Pyers (@rpyers) July 27, 2021
Elder received support from 18% of likely voters in the survey. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and 2018 Republican gubernatorial nominee John Cox trailed with 10% support each. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley garnered 5% support. Reality star Caitlyn Jenner and Democrat Kevin Paffrath, host of the personal finance YouTube channel Meet Kevin, rounded out the top six with 3% support each. (RELATED: Republican Running Against Gavin Newsom Brings Live Bear To Campaign Event)
Forty percent of voters remain undecided on the replacement candidate, the poll found.
Almost one-fourth of voters said they do not plan to vote for a replacement candidate. As most of them are Democrats, Republicans would have an outsized voice in selecting the candidate if such hesitance holds, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The rise in support for the recall accompanies a decline in Newsom’s approval ratings amid growing dissatisfaction with pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions. Half of registered voters approved of the governor in July, down from 64% last September, the poll found.