SAN FRANCISCO — As Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a September recall election, a majority of California likely voters would support overhauling the state’s recall process to make it harder to remove elected officials mid-term, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday.
Sixty percent of likely voters said they would favor changing the state’s rules so officials can only be recalled because of illegal or unethical activity. Fifty-five percent would support doubling the number of signatures that are required to hold a recall election.
While the PPIC poll didn’t ask about voters’ views on whether to recall Newsom, another poll this week by Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies found him with 50 percent support to 47 percent among likely voters.
The PPIC poll found Newsom had an approval rating among likely voters of 56 percent on jobs and the economy.
Another suggested change to recall rules got even more support: holding a separate top-two runoff election if the recall succeeds and no replacement candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. Sixty-eight percent of likely voters said they would back the change, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents. Under the current system, a replacement candidate could become governor with a relatively small plurality of the vote.
Still, voters said they would rather keep the recall option than jettison it entirely. Eighty-six percent said they thought it was good that the state constitution allows the recall of elected officials, although 69 percent — including 90 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans — said the current recall’s price tag is a waste of money. PPIC asked voters about an early projected counties’ cost of $215 million, though state leaders now estimate it overall costs at $276 million.
Changing the recall process would require amending the constitution, which would take another statewide ballot measure. In an accompanying blog post, PPIC President and CEO Mark Baldassare recommended “creating a bipartisan commission that offers policy recommendations for California voters to consider on the November 2022 statewide ballot.”
The PPIC poll of 1,569 California residents was taken July 6-14 and has a 3.4 percent margin of error overall. It has a 4.2 percent margin of error for questions involving the 937 likely voters.
This article “Most California voters want to revamp state’s recall process” originally appeared here