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Survey shows 40% of likely voters would recall Gov. Newsom

A policy groups survey found a sizeable portion of Californians want to recall the governor and a majority say the worst of the pandemic is behind us.

SAN FRANCISCO — Signatures supporting a recall elections against Gov. Gavin Newsom were all submitted by the deadline on March 17, 2021, and California voters are awaiting verification from California Secretary of State Shirley Weber on whether there will be a recall item on an upcoming ballot.

Ahead of an official recall announcement, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) revealed that roughly 40% of likely voters would vote "yes" to remove Newsom from office. PPIC President and CEO Mark Baldassare explained that this percentage isn't a significant increase from the percent of voters that did not vote for Newsom in the 2018 election.

“40% would vote 'yes' to remove Newsom if a special election to recall the governor were held today, with Republicans far more likely to vote yes,” Baldassare said. “The share who would now vote to remove the governor is similar to the 38% who did not vote for Newsom in the fall of 2018.”

According to the survey, if a special election to recall Newsom were held today,  56% of likely voters would vote no, and 5% are unsure. Roughly 54% of adults and 53% of likely California voters approve of how Newsom is handling the job as governor, according to PPIC.

Newsom's approval score increased one percentage point for both adults and likely voters compared to February 2020 before the stay-at-home orders.

As of March 11, 2021, the current recall effort had 1,188,073 verified signatures, with more signatures needing verification, according to the Secretary of State website. The effort needs 1,495,709 verified signatures to continue.

The government poll the PPIC conducted also looked at respondents' views on topics including the coronavirus, California's relief spending, immigration, race relations, and housing.

Results showed the majority of Californians see the worst of the pandemic as behind us. However, these results were taken before several states across the nation started to see a rise in coronavirus cases. The survey also revealed nearly 21% of Californians don't plan to get the vaccine, which is three percentage points fewer than a poll in January 2021 PPIC reports.

Around 70% of likely voters support the $7.6 billion COVID-19 relief package signed by Newsom in late February. And 68% approved of the $1.9 trillion aid package from the federal government.

As the federal government works to forge a pathway for citizenship for many undocumented immigrants, 85% of Californians support these efforts based on responses to this survey.

“Strong majorities of Californians across party lines favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants,” Baldassare said. “After the year-long COVID crisis, two in three residents favor providing health care coverage for undocumented immigrants in California.”

Some California residents do think there is much more work to do regarding race relations. The survey results reveal 43% of Californians say race relations in the U.S. are worse than they were a year ago.

Something nearly everyone could agree on was housing, according to PPIC data, with 90% of respondents saying the affordability of housing was a problem in California. 

“Six in 10 Californians say that housing affordability is a big problem in their region, and one in three are seriously considering moving out of the state because of the cost of housing,” Baldassare said.

The PPIC surveyed 1,706 people in California in varying locations and across party lines. The PPIC collected the information in March 2021.

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