A New Poll Shows Californians are Hot to Trot Gavin Newsom out of the Governor's Chair

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

A new SurveyUSA poll taken between August 2-4 spells more bad news for His Hairfulness.

51% of likely voters in California’s upcoming gubernatorial recall election today would vote Yes to recall incumbent California Governor Gavin Newsom, according to SurveyUSA’s latest exclusive polling for KABC-TV in Los Angeles and KGTV 10News and The San Diego Tribune.

40% would vote No, to keep Newsom in office.

A 16 point spread in favor of recall? That’s a pretty huge leap from last week’s Emerson College Poll.

Republicans support recall by an 8:1 margin; Democrats oppose by a smaller 3:1 margin. Independents support recalling the Governor by 5:3. Those who have been partially or fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus narrowly back recall, 47% to 43%; those who have not been vaccinated, 18% of likely voters, support recalling Newsom by a 40-point margin. White voters vote to recall Newsom by a 21-point margin, 56% to 35%; Latinos narrowly vote to recall, 47% to 41%. Black voters vote no, to keep Newsom, by a 52-point margin; Asians vote no by a 37-point margin. “Likely” voters vote No, 43% to 36%; “100% certain” voters break Yes by 3:2.

The poll seems to have some integrity in terms of method, and would be well worth seeing my colleague Scott Hounsell do a deep dive as he did here. While it is interesting watching polls, they are less predictors, and more thermometers: taking the temperature of the electorate at a given time. The temperature may stay high, get hotter, or cool down.

But right now, the electorate is hot: To remove Gavin Newsom from office. However, certain points on the poll are worrisome.

SurveyUSA then asked likely voters which candidate they would vote for to replace Newsom. After excluding the 11% of likely voters who said they would leave this question blank, two candidates lead, clustered fairly closely together:

  • Democrat Kevin Paffrath, a YouTuber and real estate broker, takes 27% of the replacement vote today. Paffrath draws particular support from younger voters, Latinos, Democrats and liberals, and leads 12:1 among those who who are opposed to recalling Newsom. Paffrath leads 2:1 in greater Los Angeles and by 35 points in urban parts of the state.

  • Republican Larry Elder, a talk radio host, attorney, and documentary filmmaker, takes 23%. Elder runs strongly among older voters, among Republicans and conservatives, and leads among independents 27% to 19%. Elder leads 2:1 in the Inland Empire and by 30 points in rural CA.

Just one other named candidate breaks into double digits, noted bear aficionado and Newsom’s 2018 opponent, John Cox, who is at 10% today.

The fact that Black voters who would keep Newsom is at a 52-percent margin is a sad commentary on us. But, while many recall proponents have been saying that we have to focus on getting to 50 +1 in the “YES” to recall column on Question 1 or Question 2 doesn’t matter, I have argued that they are both equally important. Whoever is on the ticket and leading in terms of Question 2 will be a motivator for certain voters to bother to vote at all, and then to vote “YES” on Question 1. If they see that Kevin Paffrath and Larry Elder are their two options, they’ll stick with the devil they know, even if that devil has done nothing for the community except appoint an affirmative action Secretary of State and allowed rampant crime to continue.

If you’re a Black Democrat, with all of Larry Elder’s language over the years about “Democrat plantations” and “victicrats,” you’re not going to give him the time of day. The phrase, “White YouTuber Millennial Kevin Paffrath,” goes without saying. Black Democrats will simply toss the ballot, as there is no clear incentive or investment for them.

The other candidates not mentioned in this poll have a golden opportunity here. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose, and others can step up their game in the coming days to siphon off some of that voting bloc, as well as the Asian bloc, who also would vote to keep Newsom.

I have been involved in the Recall effort since its beginnings almost two years ago, and every naysayer on the left and right said what is now happening could not be done.

Well, they can go pound sand, because it is happening. However, to those in the fight, we have to stay vigilant and keep reminding Californians why Hair Gel must be removed.