Core Decision Analytics Presents: Road to the Recall

Sponsored by Core Decision Analytics, the “Road to the Recall” poll is independent and not affiliated with any client, candidate campaign, nor any independent expenditure effort for or against the recall.

New Poll Finds Gavin Newsom in Challenging Predicament With Less Than 45 Days Until CA Special Recall Election

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (August 3, 2021) — Road to the Recall, an independent statewide voter survey, was unveiled today to provide new insight on the upcoming September 14 special recall election in California. This new poll of N=804 California registered voters was conducted Tuesday July 27 – Thursday July 29, just days after the Secretary of State released the final list of candidates seeking to replace Newsom if he is recalled. Results released today show Governor Newsom pitted in an extremely close contest to retain his governorship and that he is not safely assured victory at this moment in time.

“With less than 45 days until the recall, Governor Newsom finds himself in a challenging and unenviable situation,” said Adam Rosenblatt, President of Core Decision Analytics (CODA), the national public opinion research and analytics firm that conducted the Road to the Recall study. “The Governor does not yet enjoy a solid majority who say they would keep him, though they do outnumber those who seek to remove him.”

 

When presented the question “Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor,” 39% of voters said “Vote Yes to remove Newsom from office.” By contrast, 48% said “Vote No to keep Newsom as Governor.” An additional 12% said “Undecided / Don’t know.” If the majority of voters choose to recall the Governor, then whichever ‘replacement candidate’ receives the most votes is elected. [The Road to the Recall survey also examined the 46 replacement candidates that will be on the ballot.]

 “45 days is an eternity in a campaign,” continued Rosenblatt. “Factors looming against Newsom include a divided electorate when it comes to the direction of the state, his favorability, and his job approval. However, there may be enough time and money for Newsom to shore up his base and convert voters to his side.”

The Road to the Recall survey looked beyond basic 39% “Yes” and 48% “No” to assess intensity as well. Across all voters, 35% said “Definitely Yes” and 4% said “Probably Yes”, while 36% said “Definitely No” and 13% said “Probably No.” Most undecided voters said they were “truly undecided” (7%) while 3% said they “lean yes” and 2% said they “lean no.” While a greater overall percentage said they would vote to keep Newsom, the comparable intensity within the “Definite Yes” and “Definite No” bases is very noteworthy.

The Road to the Recall survey looked beyond basic 39% “Yes” and 48% “No” to assess intensity as well. Across all voters, 35% said “Definitely Yes” and 4% said “Probably Yes”, while 36% said “Definitely No” and 13% said “Probably No.” Most undecided voters said they were “truly undecided” (7%) while 3% said they “lean yes” and 2% said they “lean no.” While a greater overall percentage said they would vote to keep Newsom, the comparable intensity within the “Definite Yes” and “Definite No” bases is very noteworthy.

More than 8 in 10 voters (83%) said they have heard, read, or seen “a lot” or “some” about the recall (39% “a lot” + 44% “some”). However, it is unclear how many Californians will ultimately vote in this special election; all registered voters will receive a ballot they can return by mail or they can vote in-person.

 

Core Decision Analytics’ Road to the Recall survey analyzed the results using several different lenses given high awareness but uncertain regarding turnout. Analyses among “Likely” and “Definite” recall voters, though these show Newsom is an even more challenging spot. Among “Likely” recall voters (those who said they will “definitely” or “probably” vote), the results are 42% Yes (remove), 49% No (keep), and 9% Undecided. This means “Yes” is +3 percentage points higher than the overall “Yes” baseline, while “No” fares just +1 percentage point better than the “No” baseline.

Analysis of “Definite” recall voters revealed a similar trend: 43% Yes (remove), 50% No (remove), and just 7% undecided. “While Newsom reaches the 50% mark, though he does not yet enjoy a comfortable buffer beyond the 7% who are presently undecided,” said Rosenblatt.  

“While the Yes or No recall question is the ultimate destination, there are many caution signs along the Road to the Recall,” said Rosenblatt. Entering into August, voters are sharply split: 51% said things in California are “heading in the right direction” while 49% said things are “headed down the wrong track.”

Gavin Newsom holds a +20 percentage point favorability advantage: 3 in 5 voters (60%) said they hold a “very” or “somewhat” favorable opinion of him vs. 2 in 5 (40%) “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable. However, the poll again found polarized intensity: 28% said “very favorable” while 28% said “very unfavorable.”

Furthermore, Governor Newsom’s job approval rating is a cause for concern as voters more often offer a rating of “poor” rather than “excellent.” Among all voters, 52% rated Gavin Newsom’s job performance as governor of California as either “Excellent” (20%) or “Good” (32%), though 48% said “Fair” (21%) or “Poor” (27%). The disparity appeared even starker among the “definite” recall voters: 23% gave Newsom the highest marks (“Excellent”) whereas 32% gave the lowest marks (“Poor”).

Methodology

Core Decision Analytics (CODA) conducted N=804 online interviews among California likely voters from Tuesday July 27 – Thursday July 29, 2021. The overall margin of error is +/-3.46% at the 95% confidence interval. Some percentages may add to more or less than 100% due to rounding. The full poll report containing all survey questions, screening criteria, and demographics, is available here and detailed crosstabs are available here.

About Core Decision Analytics

Core Decision Analytics (CODA) provides actionable opinion insights grounded in quantitative, qualitative, and advanced analytics methods, enabling success for corporate, political, and public-sector clients. CODA leverages decades of winning experience in over 20 countries on behalf of governments, campaigns, business organizations, associations, and corporate clients.