San Francisco Chronicle

Latest poll predicts a landslide victory for Newsom in recall.

- By Alexei Koseff

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom is on track to win next week’s recall election in a landslide, according to a new poll released Friday.

The survey, conducted by the UC Berkeley Institute of Government­al Studies and the Los Angeles Times, found that the recall campaign is trailing by more than 20 percentage points, with only 38.5% of likely voters in favor of removing Newsom before the end of his term and 60.1% opposed.

The results align closely with another poll published last week by the Public Policy Institute of California that showed the first-term Democrat poised to survive the Sept. 14 special election by about 19 percentage points.

It’s a sharp turnaround from this summer, when a July survey led by Berkeley IGS had likely voters nearly evenly split on the recall. That warning sign jolted Democrats, who had been largely ambivalent about the race in its early stages, and the Newsom campaign, which has been barnstormi­ng across the state in recent weeks warning about the danger if the governor is replaced by a Republican.

“The findings underscore a significan­t change in tempo in the state, as decidedly more California­ns are attending to the pending elec

“The findings underscore a significan­t change in tempo in the state, as decidedly more California­ns are attending to the pending election, and are intent on voting no.” G. Cristina Mora, co-director of the Institute of Government Studies

tion, and are intent on voting no,” G. Cristina Mora, codirector of the Institute of Government Studies, said in a statement.

Several summer developmen­ts have bolstered Newsom’s prospects. As the delta variant fueled another surge of coronaviru­s cases in California, the governor ordered a series of new mask mandates and vaccine requiremen­ts that proved popular with a liberallea­ning electorate, particular­ly as Newsom’s rivals promised to overturn them if elected.

The governor also found a foil in conservati­ve talk radio host Larry Elder, who has risen to the top of the field of 46 replacemen­t candidates. Newsom has repeatedly bashed Elder, who would be California’s first Black governor if elected, as out of step with the state’s electorate on issues like the minimum wage, abortion and climate change.

The poll released Friday suggests that Elder continues to extend his lead in the second question on the recall ballot, which asks voters who should serve out the remainder of Newsom’s term if he is recalled. Elder was the choice of 38% of likely voters surveyed, up from 18% in the July poll by Berkeley IGS.

Kevin Paffrath, a Democrat best known for making financial advice videos on YouTube under the moniker “Meet Kevin,” was second with 10%. He was followed by three Republican­s: former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer at 8%, state legislator Kevin Kiley at 4% and San Diego County real estate investor John Cox at 4%.

Newsom defeated Cox in the 2018 governor race by a record 24 percentage points, a result in line with what public polling now indicates could happen with the recall.

The Berkeley IGS poll was administer­ed online last week with a random sample of 9,809 registered voters across California.

It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.

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