A New Poll Indicates the California Recall Isn’t Likely to Succeed

Likely voters who oppose the Republican-led effort to oust Governor Gavin Newsom appear to far outnumber those who are for it

After a few dicey weeks of polling that signaled the September 14 California recall election could go either way, a new survey is giving Governor Gavin Newsom reason to breathe a sigh of relief.

According to the results of a new survey of likely California voters conducted by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute—gathered over a nine day period that ended on Sunday, August 29—just 39 percent of people said they would vote yes on the recall, while 58 percent said they would vote no. (For the recall effort to succeed, more than 50 percent of the election’s participants would have to vote in favor of Newsom being removed from office.) A whopping 90 percent of Democrats surveyed said they will vote no.

Statistically, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 46 percent to just 24 percent in the state, but in Newsom’s camp the concern in the lead-up to the election has been that Dems would be less motivated than Republicans to vote in the recall. The PPI survey indicates Democrat voters are actually quite invested in the result, with three-quarters of likely Dem voters saying the outcome of the recall election is “very important” to them, while just 67 percent of Republican voter said the same. In total, 47 percent of likely voters said they’re more enthusiastic than usual about voting.

Earlier this week, Robert Cahaly, a pollster who predicted Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton in 2016, tweeted that Newsom appears to have a “significant lead” in the recall. His polling company, Atlanta-based Trafalgar Group, found that 52 percent of voters would vote to keep Newsom, while 44.4 would vote to remove him. If the recall did somehow succeed, conservative talk show host Larry Elder is by far the favorite to take over as governor.

Mark Baldassare of the the Public Policy Institute says that anti-recall messaging appears to finally be getting through to Democratic voters. Early returns show that twice as many Democrats than Republicans have submitted ballots.

“Democrats have heard messages about the roots of this recall and what would happen with COVID and other things if Newsom is removed,” Baldassare told the Los Angeles Times. “It hasn’t moved Republican voters or independent voters much, but has had an impact on Democratic voters.”

The election is expected to cost California taxpayers $276 million.

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