Most Democratic voters in California believe Dianne Feinstein’s recent illness is a sign that she is no longer fit to serve as the state’s top senator, a new poll shows.
A poll of 7,465 registered voters by the Berkeley Institute for Government Studies (IGS) conducted May 17-22, and released Thursday, found that 63 percent of Democrats agreed that the health of the 89-year-old woman prevented her from continuing to represent. the state in Congress. Seventy-five percent of Republicans also agreed, and 67 percent of California voters overall supported the sentiment.
Feinstein did not attend the US Capitol for more than two months while recovering from shingles. He also suffered from inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis due to the viral infection and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
His absence has prompted calls for his resignation and caused problems for the Democratic caucus in the Senate, where they hold a two-seat majority, compounded by a concurrent spell of absence for Democratic Sen. John Fetterman, who is recovering from a term. of depression
During his absence from Washington, Feinstein missed dozens of votes in the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Feinstein is a member, was also unable to confirm some of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees because she was not present to vote.
Rep. Ro Khanna of California was one of the first Democrats to call on Feinstein to resign, saying in April that he “could no longer carry out his duties.” Since her return, he has stood by her comments, but added in a statement: “I have great respect for Senator Feinstein and wish her the best in her return and recovery.”
California voters seem to agree with Khanna, with Democrats being the most fervent in their frustration. The Berkeley IGS poll found that 56 percent of voters thought Feinstein’s health problems were “creating serious problems for the Democratic Party’s ability to confirm judicial nominees and pass important legislation.”
Only 20 percent disagreed with the statement. Democratic voters were the group most likely to agree, according to the poll, by a margin of four to one.
California voters are largely divided along party lines on what should be done.
A 52 percent majority believed that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s appointment of a replacement would benefit the state, as Feinstein’s successor “could better represent California’s interests,” with the vast majority of Democrats agreeing, but the Republicans disagreed three to one.
A similar majority of California voters, 56 percent, agreed that such a move would be “a bad thing” since voters would have no voice. Republican voters “overwhelmingly” expressed their preference that Feinstein continue her current term and be replaced after the 2024 election.
The senior senator said in February, before her illness, that she would not seek re-election in 2024.
G. Cristina Mora, assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and co-director of IGS, said that “the poll clearly shows that while support for Senator Feinstein has declined considerably since 2018, there is no clear consensus on what the process should be like. finish.”
Feinstein’s favorable/unfavorable rating went from 48 favorable to 49 percent unfavorable in October 2018, to 29 favorable and 52 unfavorable this month, the survey shows.
Despite largely supporting the decision to resign as senator, California voters are split on whether forcing Feinstein’s resignation would “set a bad precedent for other officials facing health issues.” Forty-three percent agreed, while 46 percent disagreed.
news week reached a representative for Feinstein by email for comment Thursday.