‘Noteworthy Erosion’: Approval ratings for CA Democratic officials declining

Infographic about UC Berkeley study finding decreasing support for Democrats in CA
Christina Owen/Staff

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Approval ratings for top Democratic officials have declined among California voters, according to a study from the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, or IGS.

The study showcases the decline in popularity in the past six months of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California.

“We’ve been tracking California voter opinions of both the president and the vice president since their election,” said Mark DiCamillo, the director of Berkeley IGS Poll. “The approval ratings of both officeholders have been declining and it’s kind of consistent with what you’re seeing elsewhere in the country.”

In the first two to three months following Biden’s inauguration, his approval ratings were at a “strong start,” with 62% of Californians approving of Biden and 34% disapproving, according to DiCamillo.

However, approval ratings on Biden are “much more divided” in the first week of February, as only 47% of Californians approved of Biden, and 48% disapproved, DiCamillo added.

DiCamillo noted Vice President Harris’ approval ratings are even lower than Biden’s, with just 38% of Californians approving of her job and 46% disapproving.

“We see a pretty noticeable decline for both Biden and Harris, and I think it largely reflects what’s going on nationally,” said Eric Schickler, co-director of Berkeley IGS. “In California, some of it is frustration among liberal Democrats that not more is getting done.”

Younger voters also differed from older voters in that they were “pretty negative” when rating Biden, as 34% percent approved while 53% disapproved of Biden*,* according to DiCamillo.

In San Francisco, approval ratings for Biden were at 56%, whereas Harris’ approval ratings were at 43%. These numbers were lower than expected, according to Schickler.

“You’d normally expect a Democrat in those areas to be in the 60s at least,” Schickler said. “That’s an indicator that some of the most noteworthy erosion is in these pretty democratic liberal areas, and I think that is young people, Democrats, liberals being less supportive than what you would expect for a democratic candidate.”

Feinstein’s approval ratings are currently at an “all-time low” according to the report. Schickler noted Feinstein’s age and moderate policies have likely contributed to the erosion in her approval ratings.

While the study noted U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat representing California, received more positive than negative approval ratings, 40% of voters had no opinion on his job performance because Padilla is not a very well-known figure statewide, according to Schickler.

With midterm elections coming up, DiCamillo said uncertainty lies ahead for Democrat officials whose voter appraisals can be greatly affected by events such as the performance of the economy.

“Approval ratings can go up and down with the times, this happened to be done in the first week of February this year,” DiCamillo said. “Events can intrude and affect approval ratings in a big way.”



Contact Zoe Kessler and Rina Rossi at [email protected]