A majority of California voters support making it more difficult to remove elected officials from office midterm, according to a new poll.
Golden State voters will go to the polls on Sept. 14 to decide whether Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., will be recalled.
The Public Policy Institute of California poll results released Wednesday found that 60% of likely California voters said they would favor changing the state's rules so officials only can be recalled due to illegal or unethical activity.
A total of 55% said they would support doubling the number of petition signatures required to hold a recall election. Presently, 12% of the total votes cast in the previous election for that office is required.
Another suggested change received 68% support — holding a separate runoff between the top two finishers if the recall succeeds and no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.
That runoff change received support by majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents. Currently, a replacement candidate could become governor with a relatively small plurality of the vote.
"In the 2003 recall election, when 55% voted to remove [then-Gov.] Gray Davis, 49% voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him. This was on a ballot that included 135 candidates," PPIC’s Mark Baldassare wrote.
"If a majority vote to remove Newsom in September, one of the 46 replacement candidates would become the next governor — even if their supporters made up only a tiny sliver of all ballots cast on September 14."
Despite the support for changes to the process, voters do not want to get rid of the recall option completely. A total of 86% said it was good that the state constitution allows the recall of elected officials.
However, 69% — including 90% of Democrats and 36% of Republicans — said the current recall's price tag, estimated to be $276 million, is a waste of money.
Making changes to California’s recall election requires amending the constitution, which would need another statewide ballot measure.
"After the September 14 election, creating a bipartisan commission that offers policy recommendations for California voters to consider on the November 2022 statewide ballot would be a worthwhile endeavor," Baldassare said.
The PPIC survey did not include questions on removing the governor or supporting any of the replacement candidates.
The poll found that 56% approve of Newsom’s handling of jobs and the economy, and 59% approve of his handling of environmental issues.
Earlier this week, a University of California Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies poll found that 47% of likely California voters back the recall effort. That was up from July, when just 36% of all registered voters said they supported removing Newsom from office.
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