Most California voters support Newsom’s handling of school openings, poll suggests

SACRAMENTO — Frustration over schools closed to in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic helped fuel the effort to put a recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom on the ballot. But a new poll suggests the issue might not be such a liability for him after all.

The survey found 59% of likely voters approve of the way Newsom is handling reopening schools for in-person learning, while 40% disapprove, according to the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

Mark Baldassare, the institute’s president and CEO, said that although anger about school closures helped Newsom’s critics gather recall signatures, it appears most voters credit the governor with pushing schools to reopen for in-person learning this spring.

In addition, Baldassare said, many voters aren’t holding the delay against him or their individual school districts because of the severity of the pandemic.

“It just speaks to the fact these are extraordinary times and that people have factored this in,” Baldassare said. “I think lots of people are feeling (Newsom and school districts are) doing the best they can under the circumstances.”

That said, the slow pace of school reopenings does appear to have harmed Newsom. The survey found 57% of adults approve of how Newsom is handling the K-12 education system overall, compared with 73% last April, in the early days of the pandemic.

In March, Newsom and state legislators reached a deal to provide $2 billion in financial incentives for districts to resume at least some in-person instruction by March 31, after an impasse that lasted months.

Most California voters support Newsom’s handling of school openings, poll suggests
4.9 (98%) 32 votes