California Gov. Gavin Newsom can almost exhale. Polls last month showed "no" leading "yes" by 5 percentage points or less in the recall campaign he faces; the ballot asks an up-or-down question on whether Newsom should be recalled. If voters choose "yes," they move on to the next question and pick a replacement. Now, new polls show the governor pulling away, SFGate reports. "No" had a lead in the double digits in the spring, then slipped over the summer, possibly because coronavirus infections were on the rise, but the governor has stepped up his campaign lately. It remains possible Newsom could be ousted, but he can also take comfort in the fact that polls almost universally show his approval rating higher than his disapproval rating, per CNN.
On the latest poll:
- The Public Policy Institute of California found 58% of likely voters say they'll vote "no" on whether to recall Newsom, and 39% plan to vote "yes." The results were released Wednesday.
- More concerning for Newsom is the enthusiasm difference. Just 37% of "no" voters said they're more enthusiastic than usual about voting, and 63% of those who expect to vote "yes" felt the same way. But Democrats have such a lead in registration—more than 20 points—that the the turnout difference would have to be bigger than that to imperil Newsom, CNN notes.
- Radio talk show host Larry Elder, a Republican, is way ahead among possible replacements, with 26% of respondents backing him. Next is former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, in steak knives territory at 5%.
- The institute's past surveys have underestimated Democratic support, including the 2018 race when Newsom was elected.
On the earlier poll, released two weeks before the election:
- Newsom's lead over "yes" was 8 percentage points, SurveyUSA/San Diego Union-Tribune results show.
- The main reason "yes" voters gave for wanting Newsom removed was his handling of COVID-19 restrictions, per SurveyUSA.
- Four weeks ago, the same survey showed the governor trailing on the recall vote by double digits, per SFGate.
The election is Sept. 14. (Read more recall election