A new public opinion poll from UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) found that former Vice President Joe Biden's lead over President Trump in California has eclipsed Hillary Clinton's lead over Trump around this time four years ago by 9 percentage points — breaking what was already a record for a presidential contest.
Among California voters who responded to the poll, Biden leads Trump 67 percent to 28 percent — an unprecedented 39-point advantage. And as the Los Angeles Times reports, Trump's approval rating among Californians, which has hovered in the mid- to low 30s since he was elected, has now dropped to 29 percent.
The reason, according to many poll respondents, has been Trump's gross mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, and the politicizing of what should never have been a political issue.
As Berkeley political scientist Eric Schickler, co-director of the IGS, tells the LA Times, "There was a question of whether [Trump's] support was already so low in the state that it couldn’t go lower. This shows the answer is no."
63 percent of California voters now say they "strongly disapprove" of the president's job performance, with 71 percent saying they disapprove overall. Back in January, a Berkeley IGS poll found that Trump still had 33 percent of California voters in his corner, with 67 percent disapproving.
And the poll may show a microcosm of what is occurring in other rural and suburban parts of the country where the president previously enjoyed some higher approval ratings, as the virus threat has reached these areas of the country in the last two months.
Trump has lost support in the hard-hit areas of the Central Valley and the Inland Empire of California, with a 7- and 8-percent approval-rating drop, respectively, since January. Meanwhile, Trump's lack of support among Democratic voters has remained fairly consistent through early this year — so this poll shows his support eroding among unaffiliated and Republican voters.
"There’s evidence nationally of a decline for Trump in more rural areas where the coronavirus has spread,” Schickler tells the LA Times, and this poll is "showing a similar thing here."
Still, Biden isn't a favorite among everyone here. The former Vice President gets props for potentially picking a California woman as his running mate — like Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles, or Senator Kamala Harris — but still only 56 percent of voters in the state say they have a favorable view of Biden.
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