What’s going on with California Governor Gavin Newsom these days? After roughly six months in office, you might think that the Democratic chief executive of our nation’s largest state would be the belle of the ball, but the most recent polling shows that this isn’t the case at all. In fact, the number of Golden State residents who disapprove of Newsom is almost precisely the same as those who approve. There’s clearly a mystery here to be solved. (CBS San Francisco)
There has been a ten point increase in the number of Californians who say they “disapprove” when asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Gavin Newsom is handling his job as governor?”
That is according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll taken between July 10-15 that surveyed 1,125 California voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent.
In February 2019, only 28 percent told Quinnipiac they disapprove of Newsom’s job performance. But in July, that number rose to 38 percent. His approval ratings have stayed the same, at about 39 percent, but the undecided voters have declined, indicating more people are making up their minds and choosing disapproval.
As the poll results reveal, this isn’t actually a case of Newsom’s approval numbers dropping. It’s more a situation where there were a lot of voters still undecided earlier in the year and now they’ve made up their minds. And collectively, they’ve decided they’re not happy with the job “The Gavinator” (as he asked to be called during the campaign) has been doing.
While this isn’t totally unheard of, most newly elected leaders tend to get a bit of a honeymoon period during their first months in office, so a 39% approval rating is definitely on the low side. And it’s not as if the general electorate objected to him. In the 2018 election, Newsom beat his Republican challenger 61-38. It was a landslide. You’d expect him to at least be up near fifty with that level of turnout. Also, he was the Lieutenant Governor for eight years prior to that, so people should know him by now. Further, he became something of a liberal sensation back when he was the Mayor of San Francisco and ordered the City Clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Don’t they still love him?
Perhaps not. He may not have been in office for long and all of the state’s problems can’t fairly be hung around shoulders, but people expect results and things haven’t been going well. For one thing, the state’s urban population centers are currently being overrun with filth and vermin. Los Angeles was recently described as the City of a Million Rats, and other municipalities (including his home town) have similar issues.
No doubt related to the rat problem, the state is also awash in homeless people, particularly in the major cities. Even the early estimates of the homeless population were found to be significantly on the low side. This leads to outbreaks of disease, is bad for tourism and makes the locals unhappy.
On top of all that, the state is experiencing something of an exodus of middle class working people. The reason is that between all the taxes and fees, combined with skyrocketing real estate prices, nobody can afford to live there unless they are extremely wealthy or living on the streets. One recent study estimated that any worker leaving San Francisco and moving to Austin, Texas would immediately receive the equivalent of a 46% increase in income just because of the lower cost of living.
All of that adds up to trouble for any politician. And Newsom volunteered to be the captain of this ship so he gets the blame when the iceberg is approaching. Well… you asked for the job, Governor and now you’ve got it. Enjoy.