Poll: Californians Unhappy With Newsom’s Handling Of Crime, Homelessness

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A new poll shows Californians are increasingly less optimistic about the status of their state with regard to crime and homelessness. 

Poll results showed that the voters surveyed were most unhappy with Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom’s job dealing with homelessness, as well as the public safety and crime issue. The survey was done by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies and co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times.

According to the poll, Newsom was most heavily criticized with regard to “his handling of homelessness (66% poor or very poor vs. 11% excellent or good) and his handling of the issue of crime and public safety (51% poor or very poor vs. 20% excellent or good). Both issues have also seen a double digit increase in the proportion of voters offering a negative assessment since 2020.”

Many of the people surveyed also tended to believe that the coronavirus pandemic situation is getting better, but crime is getting worse. 

Registered California voters were asked about their “perceptions of the direction of coronavirus pandemic and changes in the amount of crime over the past year in your own local area and in California overall,” with 66% saying the direction of the coronavirus is getting better in their own area and 62% saying it is getting better in California overall. 

However, when contrasted with crime, 65% said crime increased in their own area over the past year and 78% said crime increased in California overall over the past year. 

The poll also noted that “by a nearly two-to-one margin voters support changing the 2014 voter-approved ballot measure that reduced penalties for certain types of property crimes, like shoplifting of items valued at no more than $950, from potential felonies to misdemeanors.”

“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,” Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll, said, per the Times. “The state has some major issues, and he’s the governor. The buck stops there.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that the poll revealed how 48% of registered voters in the survey “approved of Newsom’s job as governor, while 47% disapproved — a difference within 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.”

Over half of the registered voters surveyed, at 54%, think the state is on the wrong track contrasted with 36% who believe California is going in the right direction. The poll found that this “represents a 10-point decline in the proportion of voters who feel the state is moving in the right direction from May 2021.”

Per the Times, a spokesman for Newsom’s reelection campaign said Newsom has “decisively guided California through historic and unprecedented crises” of the coronavirus pandemic while acting to tackle California’s most difficult issues.

“His actions saved lives and provided real help to families as they faced uncertainty,” said spokesman Nathan Click. “He remains 100% focused on providing solutions to California’s most vexing challenges — from the pandemic and climate change to homelessness and public safety.”

The survey was conducted among registered voters in California online between February 3-10, 2022. The poll was administered in both English and Spanish and included a sample size of 8,937 participants, with some questions “based on a random subsample of 4,460 registered voters.”

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