Majority of California voters would re-elect Gov. Newsom in 2022: exit poll

Inside California Politics

California Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses reporters after beating back the recall attempt that aimed to remove him from office, at the John L. Burton California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO (INSIDE CALIFORNIA POLITICS) — An exclusive Inside California Politics / Emerson College exit poll released Tuesday found more than half of California likely voters would vote to re-elect Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2022, regardless of the recall effort.

Regardless of the recall effort, would you vote to re-elect Governor Newsom in 2022, or do you think it is time for someone new?
Re-elect Governor Newsom: 53%
Time for someone new
: 47%

Gov. Newsom won the 2018 election by a landslide and has acknowledged that Californians have been anxious and weary after a difficult year during the pandemic. He has defended his efforts during the pandemic, saying his decisions have saved thousands of lives.

In two months, Larry Elder went from conservative talk radio host to leader of the Republican field in the California recall election, drawing national headlines, attracting enthusiastic fans to his rallies and quickly banking millions for his first campaign.

Elder, seeking to become the state’s first Black governor, has managed to outshine his GOP rivals in the polls by hewing to a conservative-libertarian message that does not appeal to many moderate or liberal voters. He has run as an outsider and given no sign he intends to shift his strategy in the contest’s closing days while alarming groups across the Democratic spectrum, including environmentalists, women’s rights advocates and fellow Blacks.

Did the candidacy of Larry Elder impact how you voted in the recall?
Yes, more likely to recall Governor Newsom: 23%
Yes, more likely to keep Governor Newsom: 32%
No, it did not impact my vote
: 44%

Gov. Newsom has aimed his attacks toward Republican candidate Larry Elder, saying he is more extreme in many ways than former President Donald Trump. Elder promises to bring a fresh eye and common sense to the Democratic-dominated state and has said that he will lift the mask and vaccine mandates immediately.

Which best describes your feelings about the way the California State government is working?
Enthusiastic: 17%
Satisfied, but not enthusiastic: 37%
Dissatisfied, but not angry: 14%

Angry: 33%

California recall fails

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday became the second governor in U.S. history to defeat a recall aimed at kicking him out of office early, a contest the Democratic governor crafted as part of national battle for his party’s values in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and lingering threats from “Trumpism.”

The victory cements Newsom as a prominent figure in national Democratic politics and preserves his prospects for a future U.S. run.

It also ensures the nation’s most populous state will remain in Democratic control as a laboratory for progressive policies on immigration, climate change, representation and inequality. A Republican almost certainly would have replaced Newsom had the recall succeeded, bringing a polar opposite political worldview, though they would have had to contend with a state Capitol dominated by Democrats.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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