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CBS California Opinion Poll Shows Newsom With Thin Advantage in Recall

WALNUT CREEK (KPIX) -- A poll commissioned by CBS News was released on Face the Nation Sunday morning and it shows that people generally like the job Gov. Newsom has done handling the pandemic with a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent.

The poll also gives Newsom a 57 percent overall approval rating.

That's the good news, said San Jose State political science dept. chairman, Dr. Garrick Percival.

"For someone in Newsom's position, you want to be there," Percival said. "If he was below 50 percent, that would be really troubling for him. The bad news is that his base of support, Democratic voters in the state, don't seem to be particularly motivated to participate whereas Republicans, particularly people who supported President Trump in 2020, are extraordinarily motivated to vote."

That's where the trouble lies for Newsom.

The poll says the recall effort is only trailing by 4 percent: 48 percent "Yes" to 52 percent "No." CBS finds Republican voters care a lot more about the election than Democrats do -- 72 to 65 percent -- and they appear to be much more likely to vote than those who might oppose the recall.

On the streets of Walnut Creek, Democrats revealed a range of concern.

"I don't think he's in trouble at all," said Pleasanton resident Emily Peterson "I mean, I'm voting no on the recall and I feel like a lot of other people will."

"Fill out your ballot and mail it in because that's the only way he's going to stay in office," said a worried Alfreda Lee from San Francisco. "If you just ignore it then you're going to lose."

That puts Newsom in a situation where he has to campaign to his own base rather than to independents, which explains why TV commercials are being aired featuring die-hard progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren lambasting the GOP.

Todd Harris, moderate Republican from Rocklin said that strategy is making him lean toward voting for the recall.

"I don't necessarily take the stand of all Republicans or Democrats," he said, "but what she's saying almost makes me want to go against Newsom."

As for the staunch Republicans? Pleasanton's John Walsh says his friends are ready for recall.

"Fired up enough to vote against the governor!" he said. "I'm not sure who I'd vote to replace him, though..."

That's what makes this recall so strange. People may want to remove Newsom but, so far, there isn't a lot of support for any candidate who might replace him. Democrat Kenny Gutierrez thinks that doesn't even concern most recall supporters.

"It doesn't matter. It's not logic-based," he said, "it's emotion, it's feeling, it's animosity."

Prof. Percival said it could lead to a situation where Newsom could lose but still garner twice the votes of the person who would replace him. He says there are already efforts underway to challenge the constitutionality of that in the courts.

Meanwhile, Dr. Percival says the poll numbers show about 15 percent of Democrats support the recall, which he says could be a big problem if voter turnout is low.

"Newsom's primary challenge over the next 30 days is to get Democratic voters to kind of wake up, to realize that this is actually going to happen," he said.

Election Day is less than a month away on Sept. 14.


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