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2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event in Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 14, 2019. (Photo: YASAMIN JAFARI TEHRANI/Shutterstock)

About Last Week …Polls in the Hole for Dems

President Joe Biden has slipped into negative territory, and Gavin seems to have been overplaying his political hand of late

By Thomas Buckley, November 12, 2023 2:30 am

For the first time since taking office, President Joe Biden has slipped into negative territory when it comes to his approval poll numbers in California.

For only the second time since taking office, Governor Gavin Newsom has slipped into negative territory when it comes to his approval poll numbers in California.

And the Senate race got a bit more interesting.

The question, though, is how bad are the numbers for the Democrats, really?  Afloat, treading water, under water, drowning, mired in a hole at the bottom of the ocean, or something else?

UC Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies released a number of poll results last week, each of which indicate faltering support for Democratic electeds, candidates, and, one therefore assumes, policies and governmental practices.

While all of the results were not very good at all for Democrats and do show that more people are noticing the reality of the state right now, they need to be viewed in the light of a sobering and saddening reality – how Californians actually vote.  

In November, 2022 – things were bad then, too –  statewide Democratic candidates still pulled 57.7% of the vote on average.  The only outlier was in the race for state Controller in which the vastly superior Republican candidate Lanhee Chen ran a great campaign, had enough money, had an opponent who was both financially and ethically, um, challenged, and was even endorsed by the legacy media and still only moved the needle four points from that average.

In other words, at least last November, 53.7% of state voters would have voted for any position for anyone – or anything – with a “D” next to its name.  Since Gavin let her out of prison, this fact is something Manson Girl Leslie van Houton may want to take advantage of, that is if she’s in the job market.

The polls do clearly show a noticeable – and across-the-board – shift in Californian’s political attitudes, but the question is whether or not it will be enough to translate into any actual victories at the polls next year.  The polls are smiley faces for Republicans, but should not be interpreted as a “we’re going to take back the Assembly and stop the Sacramento lunacy!” guarantee.

Let’s start with the Biden numbers.

The shift to a 52% bad job, 44% good job is a very big shift indeed.  As an average (not including the post-inauguration bump,) Biden’s numbers have been almost exactly the opposite during his term in office.

And the numbers play out across almost every population breakdown segment.  Geographically, Biden is still up in the Bay Area and with Arican-American voters, but not nearly as much as he once was (margin-of-error up in LA).  As for every other age (save the over 65s,) and/or race breakout, Biden is in the hole.

In 2022, the expected “red wave” was thwarted by two things:  the abortion issue and by the heavy turnout of young voters happy that Joe promised to pick up their college debt tab – sorry, that Joe promised to force everyone else to pay their college debt tab.

This poll shows Biden in the negative world even among younger California voters – this matches national poling numbers that show the same problem and Biden is counting on those voters to turn out in droves – again – in 2024 (hence his administration’s serious but not exactly full-throated support for Israel because the baristas and the college sociology majors about to become baristas think Hamas is just peachy.)  That is not good for Biden next fall.

On to Gavin, who it seems has been overplaying his political hand of late.

Right now, Newsom has the highest disapproval and lowest approval ratings he has had since taking office.  

Period.  Full stop.

AS his polls have gone down, Gavin has been galivanting around the world and country shadowboxing for president.  The two are related because while – for some reason – most voters have previously appeared  to tolerate the state’s decline into barbarism, it seems that when he’s off doing other things they are beginning to wonder why he’s not doing California things.

And that gets them to notice those other things.

In other words, Gavin’s clearly global focus shines too bright a light on his failures at home for them to go un-noticed.  

Gov. Gavin Newsom announcing new gn legislation. (Photo: gov.ca.gov)

It’s like the brother-in-law who has a Ferrari but still asks to borrow a hundred bucks from you for gas money.  It’s just really really rude and irritating and makes you wonder why he doesn’t just sell the damn car since he can’t afford it.  You bemoan his priorities and then begin to think about all of the other stupid stuff he does and you finally really notice it’s a whole bunch of stupid.

He’s still up in – you guessed it – the Bay Area, but the toughest number for Gavin is his support amongst Democrats: that approval rating has cratered from 82% to 69%.

This is a telling number. In the recall, Newsom garnered about 90% of Democrat votes, but only half of “independent” and, obviously, he lost Republicans bigly.  If he had only 70% of the Democrats vote “no” on the recall, he may not have survived; 65% and Larry Elder is governor right now.

One of Newsom’s talking, well, stage whispering, points of his non-presidential campaign has been his inexplicable popularity at home – this poll ends that with a thud.

Moving to the Senate race to replace Laphonza Feinstein (so far it hasn’t seemed to make a difference at all,) the fiercely fatuous Rep. Katie Porter holds an ever so slight lead over that lying sack of, um, sack Rep. Adam Schiff.

But Steve Garvey has crept up into third place (except in the Bay Area – the anchor of having been a Dodger will make that tough climb) and, unlike the other two Republicans in the race – Eric Early and James Bradley – has the instant name recognition (at this point) to push higher quickly.

It seems Porter’s 17% is mostly young, woke, and stupid, Schiff’s 16% is mostly liberal, virulent anti-Trumpers who don’t care that he lies a lot as long as it’s about Trump, Garvey’s 10% is mostly Republicans and people who know the name, and Rep. Barbara Lee’s 9% is mostly Bay Area folks and people angry about the appointment of Laphonza Butler.

And about one-third of voters are still undecided, meaning Garvey could get through the March primary…maybe.

The news is not bad for Porter and Schiff, but it’s not good either.  They have been the candidates with the most name recognition who have spent the most money, but neither can crack 20%, in part because they are cannibalizing each other’s supporters (see above.)  If Garvey starts to appear to have a shot in March, expect one of the three top Democrats to bleed support in an effort to make sure there are two Democrats in the runoff in November.

On the Republican side of things in the state, Donald Trump still holds a commanding lead over his rivals in the upcoming presidential primary.  Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis once actually led the field here, but his over-consulted and over-massaged campaign has left voters wondering “why bother?” so far.

There is one ray of hope for DeSantis – not to win the primary, of course, but to at least get some delegates (in the Republican primary, if a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, they get all of the state’s delegates; if not, the delegates are distributed (roughly) proportionally.)

If DeSantis wipes the floor with Newsom in their upcoming Fox News debate and does so in large part by focusing on the tarnishment of the Golden State by Newsom, he could bump his numbers to the point Trump drops below the 50% threshold – he’s currently at 57% with DeSantis at 12%.

We will see.

And to close on “it could be worse” note, there’s this quote from Joel Kotkin’s latest piece for The American Mind. The article is about the self-imposed difficulties Europe is currently facing, including its layer upon layer upon layer of bureaucracy.

Here’s a quote from the piece that will either make you happy or sad or – most likely – just shake your head:

“Europe is in worse shape, hemmed in by dismal demographics, high taxes, suffocating regulation, and an entrenched bureaucracy that makes California seem like a libertarian paradise.”

Thanks for reading the Globe!

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5 thoughts on “About Last Week …Polls in the Hole for Dems

  1. It appears that California Democrats, even those in the Bay Area, are waking up from their long slumber?
    1% control the world.
    4% are their puppets.
    90% are asleep.
    5% know and try to wake the 90%.
    The 1% use the 4% to prevent the 5% from waking up the 90%.

  2. I read a lot of national blog comments – no one supports Newsom. Not one single person.
    He is a bad joke, and Californication of the rest of America is anathema.

  3. Does anyone know why younger voters register as Independents, even though they still vote as Democrats.
    What makes them reject the registered Democrat label?

    How are they, as a separate group of unaffiliated voters, trending into the GOP or other third party columns? Democrat registration numbers I do believe are not growing, but Democrat election victories are still the normative in this state.

    What turns off Independents the most about the GOP, and what are they starting to find favorable?

    Even though abortion* is no longer an issue in this state,, how much do Independents still reject the GOP in principle because GOP states have voted on abortion* restrictions within their own state boundaries?

    (*Abortion is a process; infanticide is the goal.)

  4. I would have loved nothing more than to have Newsom lose the recall and have Larry Elder as our governor.
    I think one of the biggest problems is Biden giving Newsom an influx of cash to where he was able to bribe people to vote No on the recall. He paid people’s back rent. He made deals with the unions, probably paid their back pay, and did deals with the police unions, the ones who worked in the prisons by allowing then to avoid the COVID vaccine shot. It just totally sucked. But that is what you get when you have a corrupt politician. UGH!

  5. GOP “hopes” in Senate:
    Republican wins in West VA to replace Manchin.
    Chris Christie could win in NJ to replace Menendez embroiled in scandal #3.
    Possible for a Republican (probably a moderate) to replace Feinstein, since Newsom’s appointment
    is not well known. I would like Larry Elder, but maybe to conservative to win.

    Possible for GOP to take control of Senate.

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