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Politics & Policy

California voters are not enthused about Gavin Newsom running for president

Los Angeles, CA – August 24 Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, is flanked by LA mayoral candidate Karen Bass, right, and Mayor Eric Garcetti, left, as he visit a Homekey site on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Seventy percent of California voters surveyed in late February said they don’t want Gov. Gavin Newson to run for president in 2024, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters released Mar. 1. 

The results amounted to a “resounding thumbs down from the home team as California voters tell the Governor: If you have designs on the big job beyond Sacramento, we’re not on board,” said Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy.

Respondents were split on Newsom’s overall job performance: 44% approved of the job Newsom is doing, while 43% disapproved and 13% offered no opinion. 

A previous poll in July 2019 had Newsom’s approval rating at 39%, with 38% disapproving and 24% with no opinion. 

Respondents identified homelessness (22%), followed by affordable housing (17%) as top  issues. Divided by party lines, homelessness is seen as a less important issue by Republicans, who instead see immigration as their top issue. Overall, 84% of voters surveyed believe homelessness is a “very” serious problem.

Views of the state economy have grown dimmer compared with previous polls. Forty percent see the economy as good or excellent, compared with 58% in a Feb. 2019 poll. 

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they felt like they could still afford to live in California, as opposed to 45% who said they could not. Forty-three percent said they would move from the state if they had the means to do so. 

California voters were ambivalent about other top politicians besides Newsom. 

On the race for Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s senate seat, many voters say they didn’t know enough about the three declared candidates in the race: Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Katie Porter and Rep. Barbara Lee. Lee, a longtime East Bay congresswoman, was the least well-known with 71% saying they hadn’t heard enough about her. 

Respondents gave President Joe Biden a split approval rating, at 48% versus 47%. Vice President Kamala Harris, a former California senator and attorney general, was viewed more negatively with 42% approval and 48% disapproval.  

Meanwhile, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) fared somewhat worse, with a negative 33%-versus-48% approval rating. 

The poll surveyed 1,091 California registered voters between Feb. 23-27 and has a margin of error of three percentage points.