Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discussed state elections.
The most recent polls measuring Newsom’s approval ratings, including the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll DiCamillo runs, show a decline in support for Newsom after a dramatic high early in the pandemic.
“He’s seen as higher up in the social strata than other Californians,” DiCamillo said. “That could be a longer term issue for him even if he improves his job rating.”
Pollsters say voters’ views of politicians are more often shaped by partisan preferences and their own sense of well-being.
The last time voters soured so much on Newsom was in fall 2019, when a series of wildfires blanketed the state in smoke, according to polls conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Newsom’s fortunes are now tied to the pandemic, especially after he set himself up as the face of California’s coronavirus response with his daily COVID-19 news conferences, DiCamillo said.
In its latest polling on Newsom, the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found 46% of Californians approve of the job he’s doing, while 48% disapprove. Meanwhile, 44% have an overall favorable view of him, while 49% have an unfavorable view.
He was a self-styled pandemic hero, purporting to fill a leadership void left by Donald Trump. Even as that myth began to crumble, he still seemed unlikely to lose his grip on power. But a new misconduct allegation, one that has reportedly been referred to Albany police, has put Andrew Cuomo’s governorship in even greater peril, with a majority of New York state legislators calling for his resignation, and Democrats opening an impeachment investigation into the man who had been, just last summer, a party star. “The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement authorizing Judiciary Chair Charles Lavine’s probe Thursday. “I have the utmost faith that Assemblymember Lavine and the members of the committee will conduct an expeditious, full and thorough investigation.”
Cuomo has been at the center of two massive scandals—one for apparently covering up the real toll of COVID-19 on New York nursing home residents, and one for alleged sexual harassment and misconduct. As he faced scrutiny from New York Attorney General Leticia James and others over nursing home deaths, several women came forward to accuse the governor of unwanted advances and inappropriate behavior. He denied wrongdoing, vowing not to resign and digging in his heels. But an explosive new accusation this week may have changed the calculus: A current aide to Cuomo told the Albany Times-Union that he summoned her to the executive mansion in late 2020 and groped her underneath her blouse in the second-floor residence. The allegation, the most serious to date, has been referred to Albany police, marking the first time an accusation against Cuomo has resulted in potential legal exposure. As in the other alleged incidents, Cuomo has adamantly denied the accusation. “I have never done anything like this,” he said.
But the new allegation opened the floodgates wider. The chorus of state lawmakers demanding his resignation grew to more than 120. “All of us are extremely disappointed,” Democratic Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther told the Associated Press. “I think there’s no room in the world right now for that kind of behavior.” It also triggered the impeachment investigation and is yet another item on Tish James’ radar. “Our investigation will continue,” the AG said.