Potential Biden Successor Gavin Newsom at All-Time Low Approval in California: Poll

Gavin Newsom (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
November 7, 2023

As left-wing California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) quietly positions himself for a presidential bid, Golden State voters have turned on him, with his approval rating hitting an all-time low in a recent poll.

According to the U.C. Berkeley poll, which was cosponsored by the Los Angeles Times, only 44 percent of Californians approve of Newsom, a dramatic 11-point drop from February. Nearly 50 percent of Californians, meanwhile, disapprove of the governor, a 10-point jump.

The governor's decline in popularity "spans nearly every major voter category," including among Democrats and independents, according to the Times. His support among his fellow Democrats plunged 16 points from February.

Newsom in recent months has turned his attention outside California, heading to China to discuss climate change with Communist officials and committing to a debate with Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. In March, Newsom launched his Campaign for Democracy PAC, which so far has "spent millions on Democratic strategists, nationwide ad buys, and photo-op visits to red states intended to burnish his image and build his political profile," the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The PAC's spending shows that Newsom is "ready to jump into the presidential race should President Joe Biden choose not to seek reelection," political observers told the Free Beacon in August. While the 80-year-old Biden has said he is running in 2024, a staggering 71 percent of voters say he is "too old" for the presidency, according to a New York Times poll released this month.

Berkeley pollster Mark DiCamillo told the Los Angeles Times that Californians are responding to Newsom's focus on national politics.

Newsom is "kind of taking on a new persona," DiCamillo said. "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."

Back in California, 55 percent of adults say that "things in the state are going in the wrong direction," citing jobs, the economy and inflation, and homelessness as top concerns, according to a separate poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California.

"I think the real wake-up call is how dramatically Democrat voters seem to be shifting underneath him," Republican consultant Rob Stutzman told the Times. "I'm not surprised his numbers are down. I'm surprised his numbers are down that far. He's clearly upside down."