Column: California voters don’t like where the state’s headed. But they still want Newsom in office — and by large margins. That’s because they want him to make bold policy changes first, and fix things later. They want to hold him accountable, they want to understand him better, and they want to see him succeed.
California voters who dislike many of Newsom’s policies, including his progressive agenda, would have a harder time voting for him come November, because he hasn’t taken big political risks — because he hasn’t proven he can get things done, or done it well, or done it quickly.
A recent poll by Survey USA, however, showed that, if Newsom won a four-way race, even with his progressive agenda, voters would still go for him in a landslide.
California’s voters are the majority of American voters. They tend to be the most liberal and the most educated, and the most optimistic about the future. And when it comes to policy, they tend to be the most progressive, because they’re also the most optimistic. So Newsom has a strong base to win over, especially after he has campaigned on issues of gun control and raising the minimum wage.
But will California voters be able to stomach any policy compromise if he gets to continue the same programs? Will he be able to overcome the resistance to his most important initiatives — for example, by going big on high-speed rail or on immigration reform — if voters have no idea what he’s going to do when he gets to the White House?
The poll found that voters would support Newsom if he did the following:
Cut government waste
Repeal the state’s high-speed rail funding plan
Cut state taxes
Rename state agencies
End gun-ownership background checks
Fix Proposition 14, the state’s ballot initiative which legalized gay marriage
Fix Proposition 8, the state’s ballot initiative which legalized gay marriage
End Proposition 187, the state’s “fix it later” law
End the “sanctuary state” provision of state law
Fix the state’s