This comes amidst speculation that Newsom may be eyeing a run for the presidency in the future. The poll, commissioned by The Los Angeles Times, indicates that Newsom's approval rating has slipped from 55% in February to 44%.
Newsom, who is currently unable to seek re-election as governor due to term limits, has been lauded by commentators such as MSNBC's Mehdi Hassan and The Hill's Derek Hunter. They have praised his policies in California and his communication skills on a national level, leading some to suggest that he should vie for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024 or 2028.
Mark DiCamillo, the director of the poll, told the LA Times, "He’s kind of taking on a new persona. He’s no longer just the governor of California. He’s a spokesperson for the national party and, basically, voters are being asked to react to that."
In addition to his declining approval rating, Newsom's disapproval rating has risen by 10 percentage points since February, reaching 49%. This is only the second time during Newsom's tenure as governor that his disapproval rating has surpassed his approval rating. The first instance was during the Covid-19 pandemic when a recall effort against him was successfully balloted, although it did not result in his removal from office.
Newsom has agreed to a debate with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a potential presidential candidate whom he has criticized, on November 30 in Georgia. The debate will be moderated by Fox News host Sean Hannity. Newsom was also deputized by President Joe Biden’s campaign as a rapid response spokesperson for the second Republican presidential primary debate on Sept. 27 in Simi Valley, California.
The poll reveals that the decline in Newsom’s approval rating spans nearly every demographic group surveyed, including registered Democratic voters. His popularity fell by 16 percentage points among this group since February. Among independent voters, only 37% approve of his performance as governor, a decline of 12 percentage points.
However, when the poll was limited to likely voters, Newsom fared better, with 48% approving of his performance. The poll also found that 60% of voters approved of Proposition 1, a Newsom-backed referendum initiative to create mental health bonds to fund 10,000 treatment spots across the state.
The poll was conducted between October 24-30, surveying 6,342 registered voters in California. The margin of error is 2 percentage points.