In a hypothetical matchup between California Gov. Gavin Newsom and former President Donald Trump, Newsom would carry the Golden State by a slightly wider margin than President Joe Biden, according to a new “Inside California Politics” poll conducted by Emerson College Polling.

The poll, which consisted of 1,000 registered voters, was conducted Nov. 11-14 and has a 3% margin of error.

It shows Biden with 50% support in California while 37% support Trump. However, when Newsom replaces Biden as the hypothetical Democratic nominee in a head-to-head matchup, Newsom leads Trump 53% to 35% – still within the margin of error.

Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media Newsom v Trump
Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media poll showing Gov. Newsom would beat former President Trump in California in 2024 in a hypothetical matchup. Nov. 17, 2023.

Vice President Kamala Harris would also defeat Trump in California in a hypothetical race, 47% to 38%, the survey found.

47% of those surveyed were registered Democrats, 24% Republicans, and 29% were Independent/Other.

The survey also found President Biden has a sizeable lead in the 2024 Democratic Primary in California with 62%, followed by author and speaker Marianne Williamson at 8% and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minnesota) at 4%.

If Newsom is added to a hypothetical primary, Biden received 51% to Newsom’s 21%.

“In order to get to the general election, [Newsom] would have to get through the primary,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling, told Inside California Politics co-host Frank Buckley. “I think those numbers are telling you why he’s not jumping in the race, at least not to win the nomination. You can’t put the cart in front of the horse.”

While some political pundits see Newsom as a viable presidential candidate, he has repeatedly stated that he is not running in 2024.

The survey found Biden has a 41% job approval rating among California voters while 44% disapprove of the president. Gov. Newsom holds a 46% job approval rating while 40% disapprove of the job he’s doing.

  • Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media Biden v Trump
  • Newsom Approval
  • Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media Newsom Cost of Living
  • Newsom Poll Crime
  • Newsom Poll Homeless
  • Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media Newsom v Trump

The Emerson College Polling/Nexstar Media survey also found weaknesses with Newsom’s marks on several key issues: the homeless crisis, crime, and the cost of living.

A third of voters (33%) give Newsom an “F” on the homeless crisis, while 14% give the governor a “D.” 25% a “C,” 15% a “B,” and 13% grade his handling as an “A.”  

On the issue of crime, 32% grade the governor’s handling as “F” work, 13% as a “D,” 22% a C and B respectively, and 12% grade Newsom’s handling as “A” work.

The governor’s grade is the lowest on his handling of the cost of living in California: 41% give the Governor an “F” grade, 16% a “D,” 21% a “C,” 12% a “B” and 10% an “A.”

Nexstar Media Group, Inc. owns America’s largest local broadcasting group comprised of 200 owned or partner stations in 116 U.S. markets reaching 212 million people.