Newsom's approval ratings fall in California as recall threat intensifies

Effort to recall Gov. Newsom close to forcing vote

‘Recall Gavin Newsom’ senior adviser Randy Economy joins ‘America Reports.’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's approval rating has taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a pair of new surveys, which could be a "warning" to the governor just as the recall effort against him is heating up.

A Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll released Tuesday showed Newsom's approval rating at 46% among registered voters, compared to 64% in September.

"Fueling the decline is the public’s much more negative assessment of the way Newsom and state government are handling the pandemic," Mark DiCamillo, director of the Berkeley IGS Poll, wrote.

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Registered voters surveyed largely don't think he's doing a great job tackling coronavirus, distributing vaccines to the public and setting consistent rules for stay-home orders and business restrictions.

The dip in approval comes as Newsom is facing a serious challenge to his political future.

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2021, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlines his 2021-2022 state budget proposal during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. About a year after the state's first coronavirus case, Newsom has gone from a governor widely hailed for his swift response to a leader facing criticism from all angles. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

Organizers of a recall effort in California said Thursday they've gathered more than 1.4 million signatures. The Secretary of State’s office must validate the signatures. The cutoff is March 17 to collect 1,495,709 valid signatures to trigger a special election.

Voters surveyed in the Berkeley poll were cool to a recall effort, with more thinking it would be bad for the state rather than good. But when asked how they would vote in a potential special election, 45% said they would retain Newsom, 36% said they'd like to remove him and 19% were undecided.

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"These results should provide a strong warning to the governor," said Eric Schickler, co-director of the Berkeley IGS Poll. "If the recall election does go forward, the state’s response to the pandemic needs to be seen as more successful for the Governor than it is now for him to be confident of the election outcome."

Meanwhile, the Public Policy Institute of California’s poll released Tuesday found that 52% of likely voters approve of how Newsom is handling his job. That's a notable drop from May 2020 when Newsom enjoyed a 64% peak approval for his initial coronavirus response.

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"A majority approve of the job that Gavin Newsom is doing as governor, while opinions about him remain deeply divided between Democratic and Republican voters," Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO, said in a statement.

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Coronavirus tops the list of concerns for Californians, followed by the economy and jobs. About three in four likely voters said the state is in an economic recession, according to the PPIC survey.

Marisa Schultz Fox News