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Newsom's approval rating dips 16% since last September

A new poll published by the University's Institute of Governmental Studies on Tuesday revealed housing and crime as Newsom's "areas of greatest criticism."

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom's approval rating with registered California voters slipped from 64% in September 2020 to now 48%, according to a series of surveys run by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

The Berkeley IGS Poll has been gathering statewide surveys on Newsom's performance as governor since the beginning of his governorship in 2019. In this latest poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, 8,937 voters surveyed answered questions about Newsom's response to the housing crisis and public safety.

Voters grade Newsom's performance on various topics

  • More divided than ever on Newsom's overall performance as governor, 47% of voters in the poll said they disapprove, trailing his approval rating by just one percent among the same pool of surveyed voters.
  • Regarding his response to homelessness in California, two-thirds of voters polled rated Newsom as doing a "poor" or "very poor" job, up from just 54% in 2020.
  • When it comes to pandemic recovery in local areas, 66% of voters polled said the situation is improving, while 27% thinks it is worsening.
  • A 51% majority of surveyed voters disapprove of Newsom's handling of crime and public safety issues.

"These results suggest that some of the same dissatisfaction that's hurting Democrats nationally is affecting Governor Newsom's popularity in the state," said Eric Schickler, co-director of the Institute of Governmental Studies, said in a report on the survey's results.

Response to the COVID-19 pandemic is the governor's highest assessment at 39% job performance approval from polled voters, while his response to the housing crisis sits at 11% as his lowest-rated job performance.

Click here to see the full Berkeley IGS Poll.

Rescue California, which led the recall effort against Newsom, cited the stats Tuesday as they introduced their new smash-and-grab ballot initiative. It would do a few things, that include making repeat offenders eligible for incarceration. It allows multiple prosecutors to charge the same criminal who crosses county lines. 

But Democratic Assemblymember and Chair of the Public Safety committee Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer said he is doing something with a new bill this year that will create diversion programs for repeat offenders.  

“The crime rates aren't as bad as being proposed by individuals out there, but if you are afraid, fear like Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, you have nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear is a an unbelievable component,” he said.

He said incarceration is not the answer. 

“People who are involved in this, we need to get to the root elements of why they're participating in that, and then get rid of those elements so that they become productive members of society,” he said.

Governor Newsom’s spokesperson sent a statement that says in part he "remains 100% focused on providing solutions to California’s most vexing challenges.”

The Public Policy Institute of California numbers do show that retail theft went up in 2021, but back to pre-pandemic levels, which are still below historic highs. 

A full statement from the governor's office is available below.

"Governor Newsom has decisively  guided California through historic and unprecedented crises. His actions saved lives and provided real help to families as they faced uncertainty. He remains 100% focused on providing solutions to California’s most vexing challenges – from the pandemic and climate change to homelessness and public safety."

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