Here’s the big news today out of California:
The campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom has failed to gain momentum in recent months as significantly more California voters favor keeping him in office, and only anemic support has surfaced for reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner while other Republican candidates hoping to take the governor’s place have little backing, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll that was co-sponsored by the L.A. Times.
The survey’s results were especially bleak for retired Olympic gold medalist Jenner, as just 6% of Californians who took part in the survey said they would vote to have her replace Newsom — a vast majority of Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated or independent voters said they would not be inclined to support her candidacy.
Democratic voters polled also overwhelmingly favored having a prominent Democratic replacement candidate on the recall ballot in case Newsom is ousted from office, putting them at odds with efforts by their state party and Newsom’s campaign to prevent that from happening.
Slightly over half of California registered voters, 52%, approve of the job Newsom has been doing as governor, a small increase from January but still far below the findings in September when 64% gave him high marks, according to the poll.
That’s one of Newsom’s potential soft spots that the recall campaign’s organizers will probably try to exploit, along with strong voter dissatisfaction over how the governor has handled the homelessness crisis, housing affordability and crime in California, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll.
“Most of his decline appears to have been about the pandemic and now that we’re emerging out of that, voters are giving the governor generally better marks on the pandemic. He still doesn’t have great job performance numbers,” DiCamillo said. “If the focus then shifts away from the pandemic to the other issues facing the state, he’s gonna have some work cut out for himself.”
His rebate plan would send state stimulus checks of at least $600 to about 11 million middle-class taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of less than $75,000, with an extra $500 to those with dependent children; the income threshold and benefit would be halved for married couples filing separately. The proposal would cover eligible taxpayers, regardless of immigration status, who did not get a $600 state stimulus check under an earlier program that targeted more than four million low-income Californians.
The rebate checks, totaling nearly $11 billion, would return money to two in three of the state’s tax filers, according to Mr. Newsom. And they are sure to please voters as challengers gear up their campaigns to replace Mr. Newsom in the unlikely event that the state’s heavily Democratic electorate decides to recall him.
But Mr. Newsom’s motivation is not entirely political: The rebate payments are required by May 2023 under the provisions of a 1979 state spending limit. That law, passed by voters as part of a tax revolt that swept the state, calls for a taxpayer rebate if per capita spending, adjusted to account for growth, exceeds a certain level for two consecutive years.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday is expected to announce that $12 billion in state funding will be dedicated to tackling the homeless crisis in California.
One of the goals of the plan would be to end family homelessness within five years by investing $3.7 billion in homeless prevention and rental support.
The funding would also build on two programs, Project Roomkey and Homekey, which have provided housing to 36,000 Californians and created 6,000 affordable housing units during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the governor’s office.
As part of the plan, nearly $9 billion is expected to unlock at least 46,000 new housing units for homeless individuals and affordable apartments.
The plan also proposes a $1.5 billion investment to clean up the state’s roadways and transform public spaces.
The funding is part of Newsom’s $100 billion California Comeback Plan, an economic recovery relief plan aimed at addressing five of the state’s biggest challenges.
Of Jenner’s low support, DiCamillo said that, despite the media attention, “there doesn’t seem to be a significant constituency for her candidacy.”
“Even among Republicans, only 13% say they’d be inclined to vote for her,” DiCamillo said. “It’s a very poor showing.”
Jenner’s leap into the race has ginned up plenty of national media attention, and comparisons to the last major celebrity candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger, quickly followed. Schwarzenegger, with his broad appeal across party lines, easily won enough votes to take Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’ place as governor after he was recalled in 2003.
But compared with Jenner, Schwarzenegger had a lot more support even before he officially jumped into the race. Among California registered voters, 31% said they were inclined to vote for Schwarzenegger compared with 62% who were not, according to a Field Poll conducted three months before the recall election.
"Out here in California, it's like, why vote for a Republican president? … It was Election Day. And I just couldn't get excited about it. And I just wound up going to play golf." pic.twitter.com/JUAGsdrycJ
— New Day (@NewDay) May 11, 2021
Caitlyn Jenner is attempting to defy ideological definition as she runs to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom in California’s all-but-certain recall election, telling CNN’s Dana Bash that she didn’t vote for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election — and, in fact, didn’t bother to vote at all.“I didn’t even vote,” Jenner told Bash in a wide-ranging interview at her home in Malibu. “Out here in California, it’s like, why vote for a Republican president? It’s just not going to work. I mean, it’s overwhelming.”“It was voting day and I thought the only thing out here in California that I worry about, which affects people, is the propositions that were out there,” she said. “And I didn’t see any propositions that I really had one side or the other. And so it was Election Day and I just couldn’t get excited about it. And I just wound up going to play golf and I said, ‘I’m not doing that.’ “Jenner told Bash she is “kind of on the Republican side” but doesn’t like “labels.” Defending her lack of government experience, she said she was prepared to take on the role of managing a state that has the fifth largest economy in the world, in part by surrounding herself “with some really good people.”
Ok, Caitlyn. Nice try. Let’s keep up the momentum to defeat the Republican recall. Click here to donate and get involved with Newsom’s campaign.