latest news Most Californians Want Diane Feinstein Out, New Poll Shows

A large majority of Californians believe Senator Dianne Feinstein is no longer suitable for the position due to her recent declining health, and more voters believe she should step down rather than support her to remain in office. office, according to a new poll from the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

Feinstein, 89, returned to Washington, DC, in early May after months of recovering from shingles. His absence has caused heartache among his fellow Democrats who hold a narrow majority in the Senate, making tasks such as confirming justices more difficult.

The state’s senior senator has previously said she will not run again in 2024, when her term ends. The race to replace her is a tight competition, with the backing of two Democrats, Reps. Katie Porter of Irvine and Adam B. Schiff of Burbank, and the lone Republican, Eric Early, closely grouped among the likely voters. A third Democrat, Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, is trailing.

Feinstein’s latest illness, which was more serious than his office initially disclosed, clearly weighed on his standing with voters.

Nearly two-thirds of registered voters said her illness shows she is no longer fit to serve, according to the survey. This sentiment spans the entire ideological spectrum, including 2 in 3 Democratic voters. Only 20% of voters disagreed.

His image with voters has also deteriorated. Her favorable rating has dropped nearly 20 percentage points since winning a fifth term in 2018, with just 29% now holding a positive view of Feinstein.

Much of his dip in popularity has come in the past three months – with favorable opinions down 8 points since the last voter survey in February. Just over half of voters, 52%, now have an unfavorable opinion of Feinstein and 19% have no opinion. Democrats, in particular, have become more negative.

“His voters are finally weighing in,” said Mark DiCamillo, polling director for the Institute of Governmental Studies and longtime California pollster. “Republicans haven’t changed their view of Feinstein during this time. They’re really his own party members. It’s the erosion of support for Feinstein, especially among the liberal wing, but it’s much wider now with his health issues.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, DC on May 11, 2023.

(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

In February, Feinstein was hospitalized for a week with shingles. Illness kept her in San Francisco for months. The dozens of votes she missed, including several on judges, led some members of her own party, including Representative Ro Khanna of Fremont, to call on her to stand down.

Feinstein was defiant. At one point, she called for a temporary replacement to be named to the Judiciary Committee, which Republicans blocked.

Two weeks ago, the former mayor of San Francisco returned to the Capitol much to the relief of Democratic leaders. Shortly after her return, Feinstein spoke to two reporters — including one from the Times — and appeared not to recall that she had been absent from Congress for months due to her illness.

“I didn’t leave,” she said. “I worked.”

While recovering in San Francisco, Feinstein also had a case of encephalitis – revealed last week – a complication of shingles that can be debilitating, leading to memory loss and other effects.

Despite his return, a majority of California Democratic voters, 52%, said Feinstein should step down, allowing Gov. Gavin Newsom to appoint a replacement. According to the poll, only 24% of her fellow Democrats said she should finish her term, and 24% are undecided.

Republicans, however, oppose the idea of ​​Newsom nominating a senator. They were split on what Feinstein should do, with 44% saying they were undecided.

Overall, 42% of voters said the senator should step down, with 27% saying she should finish her term and 31% unsure, according to the survey.

Prominent Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, said they were happy to have Feinstein back in Washington, adding she would have to decide if she is healthy enough. to stay in power. In recent years, several elderly senators in poor health have been called upon to resign but ignored them.

Ahead of his return, some prominent Democrats, including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the senator’s longtime ally in San Francisco, said calls for Feinstein’s resignation amounted to sexism.

“I’ve never seen them pursue a sick man in the Senate like that,” Pelosi said.

California voters don’t buy that argument, however, with 58% disagreeing that calls for Feinstein’s resignation were rooted in sexism. About half of voters were also not swayed by the idea that losing Feinstein’s seniority in the Senate if she resigned would be a major loss for the state.

Anna Bahr, a California-based Democratic political consultant who previously worked for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, said extensive coverage of Feinstein’s fragile state gave voters a clear picture of his ability to serve.

Although this coverage was not proportionate with sick but on-duty male colleagues, Bahr said, “the lapses in his memory are very concerning, and I think we’ve seen enough evidence to know that people in California are not represented or served by their oldest senator.

“Older men may have gotten away with it, but at the end of the day, she’s not doing well. Anyone can see that she’s not well. His health is poor,” Bahr said.

Three head shots of three people.

From left, Democratic Representatives Barbara Lee, Adam B. Schiff and Katie Porter.

(J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press; Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

In the race to replace Feinstein, many voters have not made a choice.

This UC Berkeley poll on the Senate race includes Republican voters because there is now a Republican nominee. Among voters likely to participate in the primary, Early has 18% support, almost all Republicans. Porter is close behind with 17%, followed by Schiff with 14% and Lee with 9%.

About 4 in 10 likely voters are undecided or considering voting for someone else.

DiCamillo said Early’s lead, which is well within the poll’s margin of error of 3 percentage points in either direction for the likely sample of voters, is mostly a byproduct of his Republican affiliation. .

“It could have been John Smith. You put the Republican tag next to the name, and they’ll win Republicans support,” DiCamillo said.

“It just opens up the dynamics of the race to one where we really think about the possibility of a Democrat against a Republican overall – or will two Democrats make it to the top?” he said.

Although the 2016 and 2018 Senate elections saw two Democrats face off in the general election, “the possibility exists that it’s a Democrat against a Republican, and whoever that Democrat is, I’m sure they support that outcome. because the election is pretty much over if that happens,” DiCamillo said Democrats have an overwhelming advantage on voter registration in the state.

Early is a resident of Los Angeles and a loyalist to former President Trump. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2020 and passed new restrictions on abortion and called for a ban on critical race theory in California schools.

A person is seated at a desk in front of a window.

Senate candidate Eric Early on May 20, 2022 in Los Angeles.

(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

Early was by far the least well-known candidate, with 71% of likely voters saying they had no opinion on him.

Schiff was the best known but also the most polarizing. Among all likely voters, 36% had a favorable opinion of him and 32% had a negative opinion. Another 32% said they had no opinion.

Porter, who represents a swing district in Orange County and recently promoted a new book, is viewed favorably by 35% of likely voters; 20% view it unfavorably and 46% have no opinion.

Lee represented Oakland and other parts of the Bay Area at the state and congressional level for decades. She is more popular and better known in this region than in the entire state – with 26% of likely voters statewide saying they have a favorable opinion of her, 19% saying they had an unfavorable opinion. and 55% saying they had no opinion of her.

Although she is one of only three black members of Congress from California, even among black voters, 45% said they had no opinion on Lee.

The poll was administered online in English and Spanish from May 17 through Monday to 7,465 registered voters in California, of whom a weighted subsample of 5,236 were considered likely to vote in the March primary election.

The survey sample was weighted to match census and voter registration benchmarks. Due to the weighting, it is difficult to accurately estimate the margin of error, but the results are estimated to have a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points in either direction for the full sample.

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
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