Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s standing with voters slid this year amid a forceful resistance in California to President Donald Trump, a new statewide poll shows.
Her job approval rating has dropped to 50 percent, down from 59 percent less than six months ago, according to a survey by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. Even fewer, 45 percent, said they were inclined to support her in a 2018 re-election bid. In April, 56 percent of voters said they were ready to back her.
Still, she’s putting up strong enough numbers with Democratic voters to fend off a lesser-known challenger, said poll director Mark DiCamillo. Her approval rating among Democrats is 73 percent, a number DiCamillo said should be enough to concern candidates considering running against her. She’s had lower numbers in the past and still easily won re-election.
“Democrats who may be thinking she may be vulnerable – this should give them pause,” he said. “This is a very solid set of numbers within her own party.”
At the moment, however, Feinstein has lost support from voters in her native Bay Area, where she previously served as mayor of San Francisco – perhaps a reflection of an ideological shift within the Democratic Party fueled by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Feinstein has declined to support his proposal for single-payer health care, as newly elected Sen. Kamala Harris has.
“Among liberals, and in the Bay Area, Feinstein has always been off the charts in voter support compared to other regions, and you’re not seeing that in this poll,” DiCamillo said. “There’s this struggle within the Democratic Party, between the Bernie Sanders wing and the more establishment wing, and I think you’re seeing some of that in this poll.”
Among Democrats, Feinstein has more support from those 50 or older and is ‘not doing that well” with younger voters, he said. Just 30 percent of voters 18 to 29 years old said they are inclined to re-elect her.
Feinstein is less popular with independent voters. Forty-one percent of those registered as no-party preference said they viewed her job performance favorably, with slightly fewer – 37 percent – saying they’d vote for her next year if she runs for a fifth full term.
Feinstein has declined several times this year to say whether she plans to run again. At 84, she is the nation’s oldest senator. She holds key posts, including on the Senate Judiciary, Intelligence and Appropriations committees.
Kamala Harris did slightly better in her approval rating, which DiCamillo said reflects a “honeymoon” period in which she’s been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2020. Voters, however, said they would prefer she stick with her current job by more than a two-to-one ratio.