Aside from the possibility that the recall effort won’t succeed in gaining the necessary signatures to place the issue before voters, the best news for Newsom is that California is a lot more Democratic than it was when Davis was recalled and Schwarzenegger defeated Davis’s lieutenant governor for the right to replace him. And while former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, a relatively moderate Republican, is already an announced candidate to become a Newsom replacement, Newsom may well survive if Democrats unite behind him.
And that’s all that really matters. The way California’s recall system works, voters are asked on the same ballot whether to revoke the term of the incumbent, and who they want to succeed her or him if the first measure wins a majority. The same Berkeley poll that showed Newsom’s popularity sinking also indicated Californians currently oppose removing him from office by a 45-36 margin. If all the major replacement candidates are Republicans, the partisan tilt of the Golden State may well save Newsom’s bacon, particularly if the recall election occurs after grievances over his handling of the pandemic have faded (if it’s held at all, it will likely be this summer; state law requires that it be held 60 to 90 days after the recall petitions have been certified)