SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Governor Gavin Newsom is becoming less popular among Californians, a shift that began during the latest COVID-19 surge, according to a poll.

Just four months ago, 64% of registered voters surveyed by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies had approved of the governor.

Now, it’s a close call and tipping into the negative: 48% of the respondents disapprove of Newsom in findings released on Feb. 2, 2021, while 46% still approve of him.

What happened between September 2020 and January 2021, when over 10,000 voters were last polled?

The anticipated COVID-19 vaccine rollout in December failed to meet expectations of California officials and residents alike. The poll finds that 40% of voters believe the state has been poor or very poor in overseeing the vaccine distribution.

Also in December, a stay-at-home order blanketed most of the state to control the highest and deadliest COVID-19 surge the U.S. had seen so far. The poll discovered that 49% of voters did not trust the way Newsom and state government are setting stay-at-home orders and guidelines for businesses.

The restrictions, and cases, shot up in November and December, as health officials blamed increase in travel and indoor gatherings between multiple households.

According to the poll, just 31% now feel Newsom is doing an excellent or good job in handling the coronavirus pandemic overall.

The findings come as a petition to recall the governor reaches 1.3 million signatures — the petition needs 1.5 million total signatures and still has over a month to get there before the deadline.

But if the petition becomes a special election, the poll favors Newsom. Nearly half of the voters think recalling him would be bad for the state.

Additionally, IGS points out that support to recall Newsom heavily leans toward Republicans, and those who voted to re-elect Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Regionally, the poll finds just 26% of San Francisco Bay Area residents who were surveyed would vote to recall Newsom.

About the Berkeley IGS poll

According to IGS at the University of California, Berkeley, the poll was administered online in English and Spanish January 23-29, 2021 among 10,357 California registered voters.

The survey was administered by distributing email invitations to stratified random samples of
the state’s registered voters.

Prior to the distribution of emails, the overall sample was stratified by age and gender in an attempt to obtain a proper balance of survey respondents across major segments of the registered voter population.