Among likely voters, 39% would vote "yes" to recall the governor, but 58% would vote "no" and keep Newsom in office, according to a statewide poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California.
"Polls don't vote, people vote. Period. Full stop. This is an off-year, off-month election. That's what recall is about. It's designed to catch you sleeping," Newsom said Thursday at a campaign event in San Francisco's Chinatown.
The governor said Republican voters have been ginned up by consistent coverage of the recall by conservative outlets such as Newsmax, One America News and Fox News, while Democrats didn't have that same level of awareness regarding the election.
The election is happening as California navigates another surge of COVID-19 cases, just as schools and colleges reopen for the fall. The poll found Californians name COVID-19 as the top issue facing the state today.
MORE | CA recall: Newsom says Larry Elder is to the right of Donald Trump
The governor's approach to the pandemic with mask and vaccine mandates has helped him, according to the poll, compared to Republicans running who all oppose mandates.
Leading Republican candidate Larry Elder saw 26% support in the poll. He campaigned in downtown Los Angeles Thursday alongside those supporting recalling L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón.
"Crime doesn't have a color. It doesn't have a party. Homelessness doesn't have a color. It doesn't have a party. Fire mismanagement doesn't have a color, doesn't have a party," Elder said at the event. "So I believe that the intensity is on the side of recall, and I believe he'll be recalled."
But Elder's past comments and actions continue to raise questions, including how the radio host disclosed in 2011 he had been accused of sexual harassment twice in the past. He's denied the allegations and Elder's campaign didn't respond to an Eyewitness News' request for comment.
In audio obtained by CNN, Elder went after the looks of one of his accusers.
"This woman who tried to break the contract not to compete and then accused me of hitting on her, that's how she put it, if you had seen her, you would know that the picture would be a complete defense. I'm just saying," Elder said on his radio show in 2011.
With the Sept. 14 recall approaching, complacency could still be an issue for Democrats, according to the poll. The poll found 54% of Republicans said they are more energized about voting than usual versus 40% of Democrats, and the poll found Republicans are more aware of the election than Democrats.