California voters slammed the state’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, over surging crime and homelessness in a recent poll.
Rampant crime and homelessness emerged as leading issues in the minds of California voters, with only 48% of respondents approving of Newsom’s job as governor while 47% disapproved, according to a University of California, Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) poll released Tuesday. In comparison, 64% of respondents approved of Newsom in September 2020.
“These results suggest that some of the same dissatisfaction that’s hurting Democrats nationally is affecting Governor Newsom’s popularity in the state,” IGS co-director, Eric Schickler, said in the poll.
Meanwhile, 66% of respondents said Newsom’s handling of homelessness was poor or very poor, and 51% said the governor’s handling of crime and public safety was poor or very poor. Both issues saw a double-digit increase in the percentage of voters polling negative assessments since 2020.
“There’s a long history of state residents being concerned about crime. It hasn’t been that prominent in recent years, but now appears to be coming back,” said Mark DiCamillo, who headed the poll, the Los Angeles Times reported. “That issue has become much more prominent, and Newsom is much more vulnerable.”
Over half of registered voters surveyed said California is on the wrong track, and just 36% said they see the state heading in the right path.
“You see a lot of changing going on in the public’s mind. I think they’re focusing less on COVID, more on the other long-standing issues that the state has been facing,” DiCamillo said, the LA Times reported.
The top challenger to Newsom in his reelection efforts is Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle, a frequent critic of Newsom and his handling of surging crime.
“We have a devastating crime wave,” Dahle said, according to the LA Times. “Retailers are turning into bunkers or closing down altogether because of rampant theft, while the majority party does everything it can to reduce the penalties for lawbreakers.”
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