A new poll released on Wednesday found that 68% of San Francisco voters support the recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
Since being sworn in in January 2020, Boudin has faced massive criticism over many of his newly implemented policies, including his “decarceration” efforts, which have led to most criminals not being prosecuted and repeat offenders getting released, as well as ramped-up policies aimed at members of the San Francisco Police Department. His actions, which many have pointed to as the reason for skyrocketing crime rates in the city since he took office, led opponents, such as “Safer SF Without Boudin” and “Recall Chesa Boudin,” to mount a recall campaign against him last year.
The signature gathering campaign ultimately proved successful, with over 83,000 signatures turned in, leading to a recall to be held on June 7th of this year. Since the election date was announced, crime has remained high in the city, as exemplified by a wave of smash-and-grab robberies that led to a massive boarding up of Union Square stores. Boudin initially kept his policies going, such as opposing Mayor London Breed’s crime crackdown plan, ignoring more retail stores leaving the city over crime, and digging his heels in after the SFPD ended their memorandum of understanding with the DA’s office.
In recent weeks however, Boudin has changed his tune with the growing discontent with his policies, increasing the number of prosecutions, and speaking out more about the high crime.
According to an EMC Research poll released on Wednesday, Boudin’s recent efforts to mitigate the effects of his policies have not been working. In addition to the 68% of San Francisco voters supporting his recall, and 61% of voters believing that he is responsible for the rising crime rates, he currently has an unfavorability rating of 74% and a negative job performance rating of 78%. Boudin’s attempts at trying to spin the recall effort as being led by Republicans have also failed, with 64% of registered Democrats supportive of his recall and 62% of voters not believing his claims that the recall is a “Republican-funded effort.”
Boudin is also currently losing in demographics in the poll, with 64% of voters under 50 years-old and 71% of voters over 50 years-old saying they support the recall. With the majority of voters also finding Boudin to be dishonest and untrustworthy, opponents of Boudin noted on Wednesday that the poll results clearly showed that Boudin was failing to keep the city safe, especially for Asian Americans, who have seen a rise in attacks against them since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020.
“Voters clearly know and believe that Chesa Boudin is failing to keep San Francisco safe,” said Safer SF Without Boudin chairwoman Mary Jung on Wednesday. “Hate crimes towards the AAPI community spiked by more than 500% in 2021 under Chesa’s watch. Boudin doesn’t seem to care about AAPI victims – he has failed to provide language interpretation services in their preferred language and has yet to ever release a plan to address this horrific spike.”
Boudin has lost more than 2/3rds of SF voters according to poll
Former district attorneys who served under Boudin, who have been quickly throwing their support behind the recall due to his policies, also noted on Wednesday that the poll shows what many San Franciscans had already known where Boudin stood in terms of popularity and support.
“The District Attorney’s Office is in chaos under Chesa Boudin’s watch,” said former SF assistant district attorney Brooke Jenkins in a statement on Wednesday. “Over 50 attorneys have left since he assumed office and have been replaced by attorneys with little to no prosecution experience – a clear sign of his mismanagement. The turnover and lack of experience, coupled with Boudin’s unilateral decisions to hand down lenient sentences or not press charges, and to release violent criminals early is putting San Franciscan’s at grave risk. Communities across our City feel unsafe. After over two years in office, voters know who Chesa is and do not believe that he is willing to do what it takes to keep them safe.”
Others noted that with less than three months to go before the recall, having over 2/3rds of the city against Boudin, even after factoring in the margin of error, may prove to be insurmountable and too much for Boudin to overcome in time.
“Boudin would have to show one of the largest, and shortest, turnarounds in crime for a large city in U.S. history at this point,” said Bay Area political issue consultant Hannah Reed to the Globe on Wednesday. “If you lose the majority of Democrats in the city, you lose the election. He thought his policies could weather the storm after a few years, but it’s obvious he didn’t think about what variables like a pandemic or shying away from the police would do. He’s scrambling now to show that he can be tough on crime, but it’s obvious to most. And there’s no real base besides core supporters to go to. Democrats? Affected by crime so much that many don’t want to listen. Republicans? Never trusted him from day 1. Before that really. Asians? They were targeted by violent crime and felt that Boudin did nothing until it became an even larger problem. Whites? Really hit by crime. Blacks? Really hit by crime. Latinos? Really hit by crime. He’s lost majority support from everyone at this point.”
“I was in Haight-Ashbury a few weeks ago for a speech, and when stopped at a light I turned to see a recall Boudin sign,” Reed added. “Right there in the most liberal area of the most liberal city. He lost the hippies. You wouldn’t think that was possible in this city, but this poll data proves it.”
Boudin and supporters have yet to respond to the poll as of Wednesday afternoon. The recall election is due to be held on Primary election day, June 7th.
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