California Voters Largely Divided On Recalling Gov. Newsom, Poll Finds—But They Don’t Want Caitlyn Jenner
California Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a tight recall election in September, a new UC Berkeley/Los Angeles Times poll finds, with just 50% of likely voters in favor of keeping the governor in office—though those who want to replace him overwhelmingly don’t want celebrity Caitlyn Jenner to take Newsom’s place.
The poll, conducted by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, found 47% of voters who are most likely to vote in the recall election backed recalling Newsom, while 50% want to keep him in place and 3% are undecided.
The findings signal a lack of enthusiasm among Democratic voters in the left-leaning state to actually vote in the election, as nearly 90% of Republican voters “expressed a high level of interest” in the election versus only 58% of Democrats and 53% of Independents.
The poll found 51% of all registered voters support keeping Newsom, while only 36% want him to be recalled and 13% are undecided.
More voters appear to be siding with Newsom as they make up their minds: Support for Newsom’s recall has remained unchanged at 36% since January, while 49% opposed his recall in April and 45% opposed it in January.
When asked who voters would want to replace Newsom, only 3% said Jenner, down from 6% when the question was asked in May (Jenner’s campaign has not yet responded to a request for comment).
The most popular choice among likely voters to replace Newsom is conservative talk radio host Larry Elder with 18%, followed by former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and businessman John Cox (both Republicans with 10% support), though 40% of voters remain undecided.
$32.5 million. That’s how much Newsom and groups opposing his recall have raised, the Los Angeles Times reported in July, as compared with only $16.8 million raised in support of the recall and for candidates challenging Newsom. As of July 8, Jenner had only raised $402,005.
“Californians see this Republican recall for what it is — a blatant attempt by Trump supporters to grab power and impose their agenda on California,” Newsom campaign spokesman Nathan Click said in a statement to the Times. “But Democrats can’t get complacent. The only way to prevent the Republican takeover of California is by voting NO by Sept. 14. If Californians vote, we win.”
What To Watch For
The recall election will take place on September 14, after the Democratic-controlled legislature sped up the process by passing a bill that allowed the state to sidestep a typical 30-day financial review of the costs associated with the election. CalMatters reports the quicker timeline could be advantageous for Newsom by getting the election over with before the governor could potentially anger voters when he signs or vetoes bills from September to October. California voters will be sent ballots starting in mid-August.
Newsom will be just the second California governor to face a recall election, after California voters previously successfully recalled Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The ballot will ask California voters whether they want Newsom to be recalled, and separately who should replace him if so. If Newsom is recalled, he’ll likely be replaced with a Republican, as the Times poll found one-quarter of Democratic voters would not vote for any of the replacement candidates, likely giving Republicans more influence. The effort to oust Newsom dates back from before the pandemic but gained steam during the Covid-19 crisis, as the governor came under fire for his handling of the pandemic and strict restrictions—and his November dinner party at French Laundry that went against Covid-19 guidelines. The effort earned enough signatures to trigger an election in April. The 71-year-old Jenner, a transgender woman who won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics, waded into the gubernatorial race that same month as a self-described “thoughtful disruptor” with a right-wing platform that takes a hardline stance on immigration. The candidate has garnered criticism for her comments condemning California’s homeless population and against transgender athletes competing on sports teams aligning with their gender identity, as well as for leaving the country during the run-up to the election to compete on Celebrity Big Brother in Australia.
Likely California voters now almost evenly split on Newsom recall, poll finds (Los Angeles Times)
Just 6% Of Californians Want Caitlyn Jenner As Governor, Poll Finds (Forbes)
It’s a date: Newsom recall election set for Sept. 14 (CalMatters)
Track the millions funding the campaign to recall California’s governor (Los Angeles Times)