Less than five months after Californians overwhelmingly rejected a recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom, voters are growing unhappy with the governor and a solid majority think the state is headed in the wrong direction, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies. poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.
Concerns about rising crime and California’s seemingly intractable homelessness crisis emerged as the main political undercurrents driving voter dissatisfaction, with most respondents giving Newsom low marks on the how he handled these issues. Californians have praised Newsom’s ability to guide the state through the COVID-19 pandemic, but two-thirds believe the crisis is easing, diluting its effect on his overall job approval ratings, Mark said. DiCamillo, survey director.
“You see a lot of changes happening in the minds of the public. I think they’re less focused on COVID, more on the other long-standing issues facing the state,” DiCamillo said. “The state has major problems, and he is the governor. The responsibility ends there.
Newsom’s re-election prospects in 2022 still look strong, however, with less than four months until the June primary.
So far, Newsom’s main challenger is Republican Senator Brian Dahle, a seasoned conservative from Northern California who has no statewide political profile. In his nine years in the Legislature, Dahle never had to raise the tens of millions of dollars needed to run for governor in a state as large as California. Newsom has already raised $25 million for his re-election effort. When announcing his candidacy, Dahle compared the task to “David versus Goliath”.
After the failed recall election on September 14, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he would consider running for governor in 2022 and said Monday he would soon announce his decision. The moderate Republican received little support when he ran as a backup candidate during the recall.
According to the poll, 48% of registered voters polled approved of Newsom’s job as governor, while 47% disapproved – a difference in the survey’s margin of error. That’s down from the 64% approval rating California voters gave Newsom in September 2020 amid the first wave of the pandemic.
More than half of registered voters surveyed, 54%, think California is on the wrong track, compared with 36% who think the state is on the right track, with the rest expressing no opinion. Voters were evenly split last May.
While Newsom’s disapproval has always been strong among conservatives, the poll found criticism rose slightly – seven percentage points – among Democrats from six months ago, although Democrats still agree to Newsom high marks. Among Californians registered as “no party preference” or with other political parties, 41% approved of Newsom’s work as governor and 51% disapproved.
A majority of Latino, Black, and Asian American/Pacific Islander voters approved of Newsom’s governorship, while a majority of white voters disapproved. Since September, voter dissatisfaction has increased slightly among white, Latino and Asian American/Pacific Islander voters. Newsom won support from black voters during this time.
A spokesperson for Newsom’s re-election campaign said the governor had “decisively guided California through historic and unprecedented crises” of the pandemic while taking steps to address the most entrenched issues and concerns. California’s toughest.
“His actions have saved lives and provided real help to families facing uncertainty,” spokesman Nathan Click said. “He remains 100% focused on providing solutions to California’s toughest challenges – from the pandemic and climate change to homelessness and public safety.”
Although the Berkeley poll found strong voter support for Newsom’s actions on the pandemic and climate change, the biggest danger sign for Newsom is growing voter anger over crime and homelessness, said DiCamillo.
Two in three registered voters said Newsom was doing a poor or very poor job of addressing homelessness, an increase of 12 percentage points from 2020, the survey found. On crime and public safety, 51% of voters polled said the governor was doing a poor job, up 16 percentage points from 2020.
“There is a long history of state residents concerned about crime. He hasn’t been as prominent in recent years, but now seems to be coming back,” DiCamillo said. “This problem has become much bigger and Newsom is much more vulnerable.”
Rising crime promises to be a major issue for Republicans in the 2022 election, especially in the races for governor and California attorney general. Conservatives blame California’s ongoing struggles with crime on policies enacted by Newsom and Democratic leaders on the state Capitol for decades.
This includes Democratic support for Proposition 47, the 2014 voter-approved ballot measure that reclassified certain felony drug and theft offenses as misdemeanors, and Proposition 57, a ratified parole review measure. in 2016. Earlier this year, the Newsom administration expanded good conduct credits. authorized under Proposition 57, allowing an additional 76,000 prisoners to qualify for early release.
The Berkeley poll found most voters want to see changes to Proposition 47.
“Our state is radically out of balance now. Families need to feel safe walking their kids to school or driving after work,” Faulconer said Monday. “Homelessness is exploding. Crime is on the rise I hear every day how innocent Californians are being attacked or robbed.
Dahle seized on the issue on his first day running for governor.
“We have a devastating crime wave. Murders are up by a third in California,” Dahle told supporters last week. “Retailers are turning into bunkers or shutting down altogether due to rampant theft, while the majority party does all it can to reduce penalties for violators.”
Newsom has long advocated for reducing recidivism through educational opportunities and mental health programs instead of enacting tough new crime laws that have historically inflated California’s prison population, including a 1994 law that dramatically lengthened prison terms for repeat offenders with a serious or violent crime. registration. Newsom also defended Proposition 47, saying property crimes have been on the decline in California since it took effect.
“Ten years ago, crime wasn’t a major issue and people felt pretty safe about themselves,” said Dave Gilliard, one of the Republican consultants who led efforts to recall the governor. “I don’t think that’s the case this year. I think this year it will be a much more burning issue.
Gilliard said the effort to recall Newsom gained momentum in the early summer when the campaign focused on the governor’s record on issues such as crime and the cost of living, including the unaffordable housing market and rising gas prices.
That changed largely because of the failed strategy of Republican campaign frontrunner, conservative talk show host Larry Elder, Gilliard said.
Elder’s support for Trump and offshore oil drilling, as well as his opposition to abortion rights and COVID-19 vaccination and mask mandates, alarmed Democrats and boosted voter turnout. Sixty-two percent of California voters rejected Newsom’s recall, while 38% voted yes.
The Berkeley poll was conducted online in English and Spanish from Feb. 3-10 among 8,937 registered voters in California.