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California Politics

Public Policy Institute of California Poll; Newsom likely to survive recall

About half of likely voters express a preference for a replacement candidate. Republican Larry Elder (26%) is in the lead

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California Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor of California)

SAN FRANCISCO – With ten days left till California’s recall election day, California Governor Gavin Newsom is stepping up his efforts to convince the state’s voters that it is in their best interests for him to remain as the state’s chief executive.

A poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California earlier this week shows that voters are leaning towards that choice.

These are among the key findings of a statewide survey on state and national issues that was conducted from August 20 to August 29 by the PPIOC:

  • Among California likely voters, 39 percent would vote yes to remove Newsom, with Republicans far more likely to vote yes. About half of likely voters (49%) say they either have not decided or would not vote for any of the replacement candidates on the recall ballot. 
  • Seven in ten California likely voters say that the outcome of the recall election is very important to them, including solid majorities across partisan groups. When thinking about the September 14 recall election, 47 percent say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual. 
  • Californians name COVID as the top issue facing the state today. Forty-seven percent say things in California are generally going in the right direction, with partisans deeply divided; 49 percent say that California is in an economic recession, and this view declines with rising income. 
  • Fifty-three percent of Californians approve of the way that Governor Newsom is handling his job overall, and 50 percent approve of the California Legislature. Fifty-eight percent approve of the way that President Biden is handling his job, and 41 percent approve of the US Congress. 
  • Forty-six percent of Californians say things in the United States are going in the right direction. Forty-four percent think the US will have good times financially in the next 12 months. 
  • Sixty-one percent of Californians favor requiring proof of COVID vaccination for large outdoor gatherings or certain indoor spaces. More than three in four Californians—including strong majorities across regions—think the state government is doing an excellent or good job distributing COVID vaccines. 

The survey’s findings also included that if the recall election—scheduled for September 14, 2021—were held today, 39 percent of California likely voters say they would vote yes to remove Governor Newsom from office, while 58 percent say they would vote no on removing Newsom. There is partisan disagreement, with most Democratic likely voters (90%) and about half of independent likely voters (49%) saying they would vote no on removing Newsom, while most Republican likely voters (82%) say they would vote yes to remove him.

About half of likely voters express a preference for a replacement candidate. Republican Larry Elder (26%) is in the lead, while fewer than one in ten say they prefer either Kevin Faulconer (5%), John Cox (3%), Kevin Kiley (3%), or Caitlyn Jenner (1%). Fourteen percent name other candidates. (Only candidates with both significant media attention and sufficient resources for statewide campaigning were included in PPIOC's survey question; five candidates met this criteria.) 

PPIOC also asked voters to name the most important issue facing people in California today; Californians most often name COVID-19. Additionally, about one in ten Californians name jobs and the economy or homelessness, while fewer mention housing costs and availability or problems with elected officials. Across partisan groups, Republicans are most likely to mention problems with elected officials and the economy, while Democrats are most likely to mention COVID-19. Nearly half of Californians think that the state is headed in the right direction, with Democrats far more likely than independents and Republicans to say this. 

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California Politics

Anti-LGBTQ Rep. Devin Nunes announces he is leaving Congress

Nunes stated that he will be joining the newly formed former president Donald Trump’s Trump Media & Technology group

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Screenshot via CNBC (YouTube)

WASHINGTON – Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who represents California’s 22nd Congressional District announced Monday that he would be retiring from the U.S. House at the end of the year. Nunes additionally stated that he will be joining the newly formed former president Donald Trump’s Trump Media & Technology group.

The company announced in a separate statement that Nunes would serve as chief executive officer, beginning in January 2022. “Devin understands that we must stop the liberal media and Big Tech from destroying the freedoms that make America great,” Trump said in a statement.

The company is preparing to launch a social media platform which it claims will rival Twitter, which had blocked the former president as a result of some of his tweets during and after the insurrection and attempted take over of the U.S. Capitol last January.

“The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship. The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality and it will be an American company that restores the dream,” Nunes said.

The California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which is tasked with redrawing district boundaries has released draft maps, in the once every ten years realignment of congressional districts, that could have caused Nunes severe headache in a reelection bid had he decided to run again.

One of the former president’s ardent loyalists, Nunes has repeatedly been at the center of controversy during his entire career on the Hill. In addition to his support of Trump, he has been openly antagonistic towards the LGBTQ community.

In 2010, Nunes voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the law that prohibited gays from serving openly in the U.S. military. He also consistently received a “0” rating on LGBT issues from the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard, which has a rating scale of 0 to 100.

He opposed legal recognition of same-sex marriage, and he also refused to back any LGBTQ+ legislation.

Over the years he has also been involved in a series of high-profile lawsuits, including a 2019 $435 million defamation lawsuit in which he claimed CNN libeled him by reporting he was digging up dirt on Joe Biden and Ukraine.

U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan dismissed the suit against CNN on a technical ground: She found California law applied to the case and Nunes had failed to request a retraction as required under the laws of the Golden State. Nunes’ lawyer had argued that the laws of Virginia or Washington, D.C., should apply, but the judge said it made the most sense to apply the laws of Nunes’ home state to the dispute, Politico reported.

In 2019, Nunes also sued Twitter over two parody accounts that he claimed harassed him, @DevinNunesMom and @DevinCow. That lawsuit brought on merciless ribbing from late night show hosts and other comedians. The Late Show host Stephen Colbert mocked the Republican congressman explaining how Nunes’ lawyers arrived at the $250 million amount for the lawsuit: “You take the value of Devin Nunes’ reputation and you add $250 million dollars.”

This week the Washington Post reported that the publicly traded company that plans to merge with former president Trump’s social media company is under investigation by two federal regulators, which have asked for stock trading information and communications.

Digital World Acquisition Corp. disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it had received “certain preliminary, fact-finding inquiries” from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in late October and early November regarding stock trading tied to the merger agreement announced Oct. 20 the Post reported.

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Devin Nunes leaving Congress to head Trump’s media company

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California Politics

Kick Big Tobacco OUT of California Political Campaigns launches

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Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES — The OUT Against Big Tobacco coalition supported by Equality California Institute launched a pledge last week urging California legislators and candidates to voluntarily refuse campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.

A total of sixteen legislators and candidates have taken the pledge thus far, with more expected to sign on as the 2022 campaign season gets underway.

The pledge was launched in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, a national day in recognition of tobacco users who are looking to quit tobacco for good. LGBTQ+ people are more than TWICE as likely to smoke as our non-LGBTQ+ peers, and nearly 30,000 LGBTQ+ people across the country die every year of tobacco-related causes.

Initial signers of OUT Against Big Tobacco’s pledge not to take tobacco industry campaign contributions include:

  • Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach)
  • Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine)
  • Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)
  • Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) 
  • Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas)
  • Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach)
  • Annie Cho, candidate for Assembly District 38
  • Supervisor Matt Haney, candidate for Assembly District 17
  • Daniel Hertzberg, candidate for Senate District 18
  • Mayor Christy Holstege, candidate for Assembly District 42
  • Bilal Mahmood, candidate for Assembly District 17
  • Mayor Lily Mei, candidate for Senate District 10
  • Caroline Menjivar, candidate for Senate District 18 
  • Andrea Rosenthal, candidate for Assembly District 36
  • Rick Chavez Zbur, candidate for Assembly District 50

“For decades, Big Tobacco has used their profits to place themselves as friends of our community. This year we are kicking them OUT; out of our Pride, out of our organizations, and out of our politics,” said Equality California Program Manager, Dr. Shannon Kozlovich. “We are calling all 2022 California State legislative candidates to stand with us and pledge to run tobacco free campaigns.

“The tobacco industry is killing our children, killing people of color, killing people that have underlying health conditions. We have to take a stand by not accepting tobacco contributions!” said Senator Lena Gonzalez.

In California’s 2020 Senate and Assembly election cycle, tobacco companies spent $6 million on campaign contributions, while spending millions more lobbying against legislation to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products — products disproportionately targeted towards LGBTQ+ people, people of color and our young people. 

“The tobacco industry serves no purpose other than to make people sick. Tobacco money is not essential for people to win” states Senator Scott Wiener. 

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California Politics

California voters in a new poll say society will completely break down

QUESTION: Agree or disagree: I am worried that a complete breakdown in American society could happen in my lifetime

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Graphic courtesy of Probolsky Research

NEWPORT BEACH – A new poll released last Thursday by Probolsky Research found that a near majority of California voters think that a complete breakdown in American society could happen in the next couple of decades or so where no one shows up to work, armed mobs roam the streets, and the government cannot continue to operate.

QUESTION: Agree or disagree: I am worried that a complete breakdown in American society could happen in my lifetime where no one shows up to work, armed mobs roam the streets, and the government cannot continue to operate.

The results are even more dramatic among Republicans, 69% of whom say they are worried, and those fifty and older who say American society is on the brink. Black voters too.

Full majorities in Los Angeles County, the Central Valley and Northern California also believe Californians are doomed, as do a majority of those who prefer to speak Spanish.

The multi-mode poll was conducted by telephone and online among 900 California voters from November 12 – 18, 2021. A survey of this size yields a margin of error of +/-3.3% and a 95% confidence level. This survey question was not sponsored by a third party, the results are being released for public interest.

Probolsky Research which conducted the poll is a non-partisan Latina- and woman-owned research firm with corporate, election, government, and non-profit clients.

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