Recall: New poll shows DA Chesa Boudin is in trouble

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

San Francisco voters have already recalled three members of the school board, not it looks like they’re poised to do the same for the city’s progressive DA. A new poll commissioned by the group pushing for Chesa Boudin’s ouster found likely recall voters were 2:1 in favor:


Over two-thirds (68%) of likely primary voters say they will vote yes to recall Boudin. Support is widespread with 64% of registered Democrats, 64% of voters under 50, and 71% of voters over 50 saying they support the recall today.

The margin of error is 4.4 points so there’s really no way to spin this. Other results from the poll show respondents just don’t like the job Boudin is doing.

• A total of 74% have an unfavorable opinion of Boudin, with 59% of voters overall having a strongly unfavorable opinion.
• 78% give Boudin a negative job performance rating including 59% who say he is doing a poor job.
• 73% disagree he “is keeping San Francisco safe”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the poll was conducted by a respected pollster:

The poll was conducted by EMC Research, a respected longtime polling company in the Bay Area that provided questions showing the poll was straightforward and not intended to steer respondents in any particular direction…

“San Francisco voters are not necessarily judging what his initial intention was, but how it’s played out,” said Ruth Bernstein, president and CEO of EMC Research. “Clearly, they’re not happy.”

Bernstein said that she was “somewhat surprised” by the lopsided poll results and that it’s “very rare” to see such high unfavorability numbers for a San Francisco politician. In fact, Boudin is the least popular elected official in San Francisco, Bernstein said.

“No one in office right now that I’ve seen has numbers like this,” she said. “It’s very striking.”


Pollster David Binder has done some polling for the anti-recall campaign and his poll showed the race was a tie with 44% for and against the recall. However, that poll only looked at voters in the eastern, more progressive, part of the city. If Boudin is tied there among the people most likely to support him, he’s probably in trouble.

Julie Edwards, spokesperson for the anti-recall campaign argued that a poll taken in February doesn’t really tell you how people will vote in June. She pointed to the Governor’s recall election earlier this year where Newsom seemed to be in trouble early on but eventually held on easily. That’s true but as the article points out, Newsom had the advantage of running a mini-campaign against his most likely replacement, Larry Elder. In this case, Chesa Boudin has no right-wing boogeyman to run against. If the recall is successful, Boudin’s replacement would be selected by Mayor London Breed not by Mitch McConnell.

Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor, told the Chronicle San Franciscans are a very progressive group, right up until the point they’re getting mugged. “My sense is that particularly when it comes to public safety issues, progressive feelings end exactly at the point where people feel their safety is threatened,” Levinson said.


And that’s clearly how people are feeling. The same poll mentioned above found that 61% of respondents say they are “very concerned” about home and car break-ins. The total number who expressed some level of concern was 83%. Other issues of concern to a majority of respondents included public drug use, violent crime, retail theft and panhandling.

There’s no doubt Boudin has seen some polling that concerns him because just last week he was talking tough on crime.

Many criminals, who would have likely not been prosecuted before, are now being prosecuted by the DA’s office, including the three on Tuesday. Boudin announced that Tomiko Miller, Deshawn Patton, and Michael Menifee-Patton were charged with four counts of second degree burglary, four counts of receiving stolen property, one count of felon in possession of a firearm, one count of resisting arrest, and other charges. All three were observed breaking into cars, with Miller also receiving additional robbery charges for participating in the Union Square robberies last year and cutting off his ankle monitor after previously being released by a judge.

“Auto burglaries have plagued this city for far too many years; I will do everything in my power to put an end to this scourge. I have a simple message for auto burglars: if you get arrested you will be held accountable,” Boudin said in a press release on Tuesday. “Our office will once again ask the court for detention in this case and hope that the court will reevaluate its prior ruling and now order Mr. Miller to be held in custody pending trial.”


If Chesa Boudin is suddenly demanding thieves be held without bail, you know the polling is really bad. Keep your fingers crossed voters will hold on to their senses for another 12 weeks. Recalling Boudin would set a nice precedent for a similar recall of DA George Gascon in Los Angeles, an effort which has yet to make the ballot but which appears to also be gaining strength.

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