Newsom gets strong ratings on schools, economy despite recall attacks

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at Ruby Bridges Elementary School in Alameda, Calif. Jeff Chiu / AP photo on Tuesday, March 16, 2021

OAKLAND – Governor Gavin Newsom has just received the most tangible evidence to show why he is positioned to survive a recall vote.

Proponents of the recall made a simple decision: the Democratic governor’s mismanagement of the pandemic devastated California’s economy and failed schoolchildren. They said they were confirmed this week when election officials confirmed enough signatures to force a fall election.

However, a new nationwide poll shows that these two pillars of anti-Newsom sentiment aren’t as strong as its enemies think. The Public Policy Institute of California found 59 percent of likely voters approve of how Newsom managed to reopen the school – and 59 percent approve of how he handled jobs and the economy. That number is a few points higher than the proportion of likely voters who told PPIC in March that they would vote to keep Newsom in office.

“To me, the importance of schools and business cannot be emphasized enough,” said Mark Baldassare, President and CEO of PPIC. “These are really two key challenges, big problems, that the governor faced and today most of the people are with him when it comes to dealing with those problems.”

By comparison, in a June 2003 PPIC poll, only 21 percent of likely voters approved of the government at the time. Gray Davis’ job performance. The same poll found that 51 percent of likely voters were in favor of a recall and predicted it would be overthrown four months later. The last PPIC poll did not ask voters whether they would support the removal of Newsom.

Parents ubiquitous frustration at school closings has spread across party lines, fueling attempts to recall school council members. Newsom’s opponents recognized the vulnerability and hammered him on the education issue. Former San Diego Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer launched his campaign in front of a closed school.

However, the PPIC poll shows that anger may not be as deep and persistent as Newsom’s enemies believe. According to the survey, more than 60 percent of California public school parents agree with Newsom’s use of the K-12 education system. A large number of voters believe schools will reopen at the right pace, and nearly two-thirds are in favor of their school districts’ behavior.

That support comes even after the vast majority of California school campuses were closed for most of the 2020-21 school year, and 83 percent of parents surveyed said children are falling behind academically during the pandemic.

“I was really surprised because the narrative has been about angry parents and people getting upset about everyone from their local school districts to their teachers to the governor for months,” Baldassare said, but the poll contradicts those claims and suggests that “the Californians recognize this.” These are exceptional times when executives had to weigh the risks of Covid alongside their desire to keep schools open and functional. “

The support of Newsom by public school parents could form a critical bulwark against a recall vote. California has the lowest personal tuition rate of any state in the United States. according to the Burbio Schools Tracker. The governor was criticized for covering up his family’s distance learning experience. Newsom’s children had been given face-to-face tuition at a Sacramento private school since the fall, although California families stayed home.

Unlike other state governors, Newsom has defied calls for the state school to reopen, leaving decisions to the local districts, who have negotiated the details with the teachers’ unions. Newsom had to draw the fine line between outraged parents and the powerful California Teachers Association, a major political ally.

But he has taken a firmer stance in recent months, making it clear that he wants to open schools – even though he has stopped forcing them to do so. Voters got a glimpse of an open, frustrated Newsom in January as unions called for greater prioritization of vaccinations that the governor later delivered.

“If we wait for the perfect, we might as well pack it up and be honest with the people we won’t be opening up for personal tuition this school year,” Newsom said during a private discussion event with the Association of California School Administrators. “You will find what you are looking for. If we want to find reasons not to open, we will find many reasons. “

Most California counties, home to more than 6 million K-12 students, have begun reopening classrooms, at least part-time, after highly competitive negotiations with teacher unions over safety protocols. Newsom signed a bill last month that raised up to $ 2 billion in incentives. A majority told PPIC that they are currently in favor of a partial reopening rather than a full return to school.

Congregation budget chairman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said in a budget briefing Wednesday that the House of Commons is Distance learning is unlikely to be supported as an option for the next academic year. Reopen Schools California, a vocal parenting group committed to a full return to the classroom, started a campaign on Tuesday they urged voters to ask their lawmakers to provide five-day in-person tuition in the fall.

The PPIC trends and positive poll numbers don’t put Newsom above political peril. Two-thirds of likely voters remain concerned about whether or not children will be able to return to classrooms in the fall. Newsom has repeatedly said that it expected the terms to allow for a full return but did not say that it would order them, underscoring its limited authority.

The same logic applies to the economy. Newsom has announced a plan to lift graduated restrictions and reopen the economy generally on June 15, as long as coronavirus numbers stay low and Californians continue to be vaccinated. California voters share his optimism. A clear majority expects good economic times in the next 12 months. However, a virus resurgence could still lead Newsom to reinstate restrictions.

“I think a lot depends on what autumn will be like,” said Baldassare. “Parents strive to get things back to normal and if it doesn’t go back to normal there will be a lot of disappointed people.”

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