Poll Shows California Voters Support Reopening, Support the Right to Protest, and Oppose Covid-19 Payouts to Illegal Immigrants

Poll Shows California Voters Support Reopening, Support the Right to Protest, and Oppose Covid-19 Payouts to Illegal Immigrants

“Governor Gavin Newsom is out of step with a bipartisan majority of California voters who believe there is a safe way to return to work.” –Carl DeMaio, Chairman, Reform California

A survey of 1,285 likely voters conducted by Remington Research for Reform California over the weekend (May 1-2) shows Californians believe there is a better way to re-open the state than the statewide all-or-nothing lockdown approach Governor Gavin Newsom is pursuing. 

“This polling shows Governor Gavin Newsom really needs to step back and listen to California voters who do not support his heavy-handed approach to dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak,” noted Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California.

Californians Favor Reopening Now – Only San Francisco Voters Want to Remain in Lockdown

A whopping 72% of California voters overwhelming support reopening the state’s economy now by simply requiring businesses to adhere to strict sanitation and social distancing standards and allowing individual counties to monitor Covid-19 infections to ensure local hospital capacity can handle any surges of new cases. 

When presented with an either-or choice of reopening without any mention of strict sanitation and social distancing standards, a surprising plurality of voters statewide want to reopen now (41% reopen, 36% remain closed) with only San Francisco area voters preferring to stay locked down by a wide margin (44% remain closed, 28% reopen.) 

Californians Support Allowing Counties to Reopen Individually

As a growing number of California counties are requesting that they be allowed to reopen on their own, three California counties (Modoc, Sutter, and Yuba) today announced they would simply reopen on their own despite Governor Newsom insisting that the state remain locked down entirely until the state as a whole could reopen all at once. Newsom’s statewide all-or-nothing approach is opposed by California voters – with 63% of voters favoring an approach to allow counties to decide separately whether to reopen versus only 29% who favor waiting for a statewide reopening date.

Californians Support Protests, but Oppose Payouts to Illegal Immigrants

As Governor Newsom and local elected officials threaten to arrest protesters around the state, California voters strongly support the First Amendment rights of protesters – with 58% of voters opposing any attempt to arrest protest organizers and any imposition of $1,000 fines on protest attendees. Conversely 59% of Californians overwhelmingly oppose Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to offer $1,000 taxpayer-funded payouts to illegal immigrants impacted by Covid-19 with only 27% supporting these payouts. 

Beach Closures: It Depends on Where You Live

While 51% of Californians support keeping beaches open, 42% support the closure of beaches. However when examining geography, it is clear support for beach closures is coming from the San Francisco area (50% support closed beaches) – with the greatest support for opening beaches coming from San Diego, Orange County, Inland Empire (63% support open beaches). 

Gov. Newsom Not Politically at Risk – Yet

The polling showed that despite opposition to individual policies, voters still give Governor Gavin Newsom high marks for his overall handling of Coronavirus (64% approve, 29% disapprove). Moreover when asked if voters would support a recall of Governor Newsom if he did not reopen the state by June 15, only 37% of voters said they would versus 54% of voters who would not support a recall.

“It is only the first week of May and California voters already oppose several high-profile mandates imposed by Governor Gavin Newsom on the Coronavirus,” noted DeMaio. “It stands to reason that with each passing day that the Governor digs in his heals on these unpopular policies his overall approval rating may plummet and his political vulnerability will increase,” DeMaio concluded.

Founded in 2003, Reform California is one of the state’s largest grassroots political action committees dedicated to opposing unnecessary tax increases and supports transparency and accountability in state and local government. More information at ReformCalifornia.org

California Coronavirus Polling – Toplines (May 1-2, 2020)

Q1: Do you approve or disapprove of the job Governor Gavin Newsom is doing in response to the Coronavirus pandemic?

Approve: 64%
Disapprove: 29%
Not sure: 7%

Q2: Some Californians believe the Coronavirus restrictions have gone too far in infringing on their Constitutional rights. Government officials have banned any public protests against Coronavirus policies. Should these individuals be allowed to protest and express their views freely OR do you support the decision to arrest organizers of protests and fine participants of protests $1,000 each? 

Allow protesters to express their views: 58%
Arrest protesters and fine them: 27%
Not sure: 15%

Q3: Some people say California businesses should remain closed indefinitely. Others say California has flattened the curve enough that it can now safely reopen now. Which do you identify with more? 

Remain closed indefinitely: 36%
Reopen now: 41%
Neither: 12%
Not sure: 11%

Q4: An alternative proposal has emerged for reopening California. Under this proposal, individual businesses could reopen only if they adhered to strict sanitation and social distancing standards to protect employees and customers – just like grocery and big box stores have done so far. Counties would monitor COVID infection rates to ensure they do not put their local healthcare system at risk. Would you support or oppose an approach like this to reopening your county? 

Support: 72%
Oppose: 13%
Not sure: 15%

Q5: Governor Gavin Newsom has said his shutdown of California businesses and his stay-at-home orders will be managed statewide. Some counties have made the case that California is a massive state and rural counties should not be forced to continue shutdowns if the real problems are in dense urban portions of LA and the Bay Area. Other counties with lower infection rates requested to be allowed to slowly reopen rather than wait for the entire state. Do you think we should only reopen the entire state at the same time OR should we let counties with lower infection rates reopen sooner? 

Reopen entire state at same time: 29%
Allow some counties to reopen sooner: 63%
Not sure: 8%

Q6: Governor Gavin Newsom recently backed away from ordering the closure of all California beaches and parks because he says he does not trust citizens to responsibly use these places for recreation. To send a warning to the rest of the state, Newsom did order Orange County beaches and parks to close. Opponents say beaches and parks are important for recreation and lifeguards and police are capable of reminding the public of the rules. Do you think the California beaches and parks should be opened or remain closed?  

Open beach and parks: 51%
Beaches remain closed: 42%
Not sure: 7%

Q7: Governor Gavin Newsom wants to give illegal immigrants $1,000 a month in COVID disruption payments using taxpayer funds. At the same time, Newsom says the state’s unemployment insurance fund may run out of money within weeks for benefits for citizens. Do you agree or disagree with the use of taxpayer funds to make payouts to illegal immigrants? 

Agree: 27%
Disagree: 59%
Not sure: 14%

Q8: If we reached June 15th and California still was not reopened for business, but other states in the US were reopened and doing well; would you sign a petition to initiate a recall against Governor Gavin Newsom to send a message that he needs to consider reopening soon? 

Yes, would sign recall petition: 37%
No, would not sign recall petition: 54%
Not sure: 9%

About the poll

Survey conducted May 1 through May 2, 2020. 1,285 likely 2020 General Election voters participated in the survey. Survey weighted to match expected turnout demographics for the 2020 General Election. Margin of error is +/- 2.7% with a 95% level of confidence.  Totals do not always equal 100% due to rounding.

View the full poll