UC Berkeley poll reveals decline in US Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s approval ratings

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A poll conducted by UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies and published by the Berkeley IGS Poll surveyed 10,357 registered California voters regarding their approval ratings on California’s elected officials. These officials included Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Vice President Kamala Harris.

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In a poll conducted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, or IGS, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, received more negative than positive ratings from California voters for the first time in her tenure.

The poll, published by Berkeley IGS Poll, surveyed 10,357 registered California voters on their approval ratings of California’s elected officials, including Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Vice President Kamala Harris, among other California officeholders. Voters were surveyed via email from Jan. 23 to Jan. 29, according to an IGS press release.

“The results showed that among the overall electorate, 35% of Californians said they approved of the job that Dianne Feinstein was doing, 45% disapproved and 20% had no opinion,” said Berkeley IGS Poll director Mark DiCamillo. “The current job performance rating for Feinstein is now the lowest that it’s been in her entire tenure.”

Voters were also asked about Feinstein’s effectiveness now compared to her prior terms. Of all surveyed voters, 45% said they think Feinstein is less effective now than her previous terms while 22% said her effectiveness has not changed, and 4% said her effectiveness has improved. The remaining voters said they could not provide an opinion.

According to DiCamillo, Berkeley IGS Poll last measured Feinstein’s job rating in December 2017. DiCamillo added that Feinstein was rated much higher in the previous poll than she is now and said the poll results show her performance rating is on a “significant decline.”

Feinstein provided a comment through her press office on the poll results.

“I work as hard today (as) I ever have, and the proof is my bills that are signed into law and the funding I secure for California,” Feinstein said in an email. “Even when legislative work in the Senate gets bogged down, there are still ways to get things done, and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. I look forward to getting even more done with President Biden and Vice President Harris in the White House.”

The poll results noted that Harris had the highest favorability ratings among all California officials, with 56% of surveyed voters approving her performance.

The poll also surveyed voters on their approval of Padilla’s selection to the Senate to replace Harris. In total, 47% of voters said they approve of Padilla’s selection, 21% disapproved and 32% had no opinion.

“The stark differences in support for Feinstein and Padilla reveal ongoing trends in the broader California electorate, as younger generations and communities of color, especially Black and Latino voters, become more vocal about the need for a multi-racial vision of democratic leadership,” said Cristina Mora, IGS co-director, in the poll’s press release.

Amudha Sairam is a research and ideas reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @AmudhaSairam.