LOS ANGELES — Most Californians are against the recall effort to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom and believe the special election is a political power grab and an enormous waste of taxpayer money, according to an exclusive Spectrum News/Ipsos poll.
As voters head back to the polls Tuesday and candidates make their final push, the survey done two weeks ago found that more than six out of 10 registered voter respondents believe the recall election is more about a political power grab than doing what's suitable for California. The exact number of survey respondents also said the recall election is a waste of money.
However, the survey also found that only half of all respondents are following the recall election race closely, fueling fears among political pundits that some voters won't turn out during the special election since it's not part of the traditional election cycle.
"It's important to keep in mind that the poll only shows the attitudes to the recall as a whole and not a measurement of the turnout," said Mallory Newall, vice president of public affairs at Ipsos, a nonpartisan market research and consulting firm. "The poll tells us that most Californians are not in favor of the recall election. A majority approve of the job that Gov. Newsom is doing overall, most feel favorable about him and nearly two-thirds say this recall is a political power grab."
In short, Newall said, "the general sentiment is not a positive one for the fact that it's happening in the first place."
The Spectrum News/Ipsos poll comes as voters head back to their local polling places and vote on whether to keep or recall Newsom. Californians elected Newsom in 2018.
The poll surveyed nearly 2,100 state residents in Spanish or English from Aug. 26 to 31.
Forty-five candidates are vying to replace Newsom, from entertainer Angelyne, former Olympic gold medal winner Caitlyn Jenner, to conservative radio host Larry Elder. Doug Ose dropped out of the race in August.
The efforts to recall Newsom began last year before the coronavirus pandemic and gained steam throughout the year as Newsom tried to navigate the state through the economic and public health challenges caused by the pandemic.
Eventually, recall supporters successfully collected the required 1.49 million voter signatures to hold the special election.
Despite some public criticism of Newsom's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and some missteps along the way, more than half of survey respondents approved the governor's handling of COVID-19, mask mandates and the economy.
According to the poll, 64% of registered voter respondents think the recall election is a power grab, and 64% of them say it's a waste of money.
Additionally, the poll found only four out of 10 registered voters attribute the recall election to Newsom mismanaging the pandemic.
"He has fairly high approval ratings," said Newall. "Despite public criticism, he still has high marks overall. Most Californians trust him. They approve of the job he's done tackling the virus."
Newall said the latest survey bodes well for Newsom.
"It paints a pretty clear picture for how Californians feel about the governor and the efforts to remove him from office," she said.