While supporters of the effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) turned in more than 2.1 million signatures last week — all but confirming that the governor will face a recall ballot in the fall, a new poll suggests the majority of voters aren’t so keen on ousting him just yet.
The survey, conducted by the independent California-based firm Probolsky Research, found 46 percent of voters and 53 percent of those who say they are likely to vote in a recall election would vote to keep Newsom in office. Forty percent of all voters and 35 percent of likely recall voters would vote to remove him.
About two-thirds of Democratic voters would vote to keep Newsom in office, a relatively low number, but one that hints he has room to grow if he can keep his party in line. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in California by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.
If recalled, Newsom would be only the second California governor with such a distinction, after Gov. Gray Davis (D) lost his job in 2003. But recall experts say the state is both more conducive to a recall election qualifying for the ballot, and more likely to keep Newsom on the job because of an atmosphere of hyper-partisanship that spurred the recall effort and the party registration gap that Newsom now enjoys.
Now for the twist. Politico reports that Tom Steyer, the erstwhile presidential hopeful and billionaire environmental activist, has been polling the California recall effort — including his own name among a list of possible contenders to succeed Newsom.
While Steyer declined to comment and a source is quoted as being “very surprised if he is looking at the recall ballot,” the article states that at a minimum Steyer’s decision to poll himself does suggest he entertaining the possibilities.
Many Democrats appear to be playing a “wait and see” strategy. There is already speculation that there could be hundreds of candidates in the race because steps to qualify are so low — only $4,000 or 7,000 signatures in a state with 39 million people. A decision whether or not to run also isn’t required until late summer, meaning there is still tons of time to measure Newsom’s political pulse. Jockeying for position could also be tied to Newsom’s first term ending in 2022.
Market Pulse: Traders overall agree with the expert sentiment on Newsom qualifying for a recall vote (98¢) but ultimately not being recalled. A tenth report on signatures expects between “1.7M and 1.725M” valid signatures at 21¢ — well over the required 1.5M signatures needed to trigger the recall vote. At 15¢, traders see little chance of Newsom losing his job in a would-be November ballot.