Poll: GOP Candidate Eric Early Beats Out Potential Democrat Replacements for Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Poll: GOP Candidate Eric Early Beats Out Potential Democrat Replacements for Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

A Berkeley IGS poll is showing some surprising strength for the Republican candidate running for California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein’s seat. If offered a head-to-head matchup between attorney Eric Early and the currently declared candidates: Rep. Katie Porter (D-Orange County), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), Early comes out on top.

Porter, Schiff, and Lee’s campaigns are passing out the smelling salts.

The poll covered voters’ views on Sen. Feinstein’s health problems and whether she should remain in the Senate.

From the Berkeley IGS poll director, Mark DiCamillo’s overview:

The latest statewide Berkeley IGS Poll completed this week asked California voters for their opinions about the state’s senior U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who only last week returned to the Senate after an extended absence due to a health setback from complications related to shingles. The Senator had previously announced that she would not seek re-election in 2024, but also said she intends to serve out the rest of her term through the end of next year.

As RedState has reported, Feinstein is truly not doing well, and key Democrats, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, are demanding she resign before she finishes her term. My colleague Sister Toldjah wrote:

We have been reliably informed going back decades about how Democrats are allegedly the party of “compassion.” But on the issue of Dianne Feinstein’s future in the U.S. Senate, we’ve seen a whole lot of masks slipping, which in the process has revealed a level of ugliness rarely put on such obvious display by Democrat “leaders.”

When last we left you with Feinstein, the Democrat/media conundrum over her situation was taking an unseemly turn, with the additional, previously unknown “medical complications” she faced during her prolonged shingles bout taking center stage in a way the press has in the past been very reluctant to do with Democrats.

As I noted at the time, though concerning information about an elected official’s health is something voters deserve to know about, my issue with the piece was in the timing, because it came at an awfully convenient time for the contingent of Democrats and media types – including the Times – who want Feinstein to resign now so someone more “woke” can be installed in her place.

Newsom is salivating like a rabid dog to appoint another Senator, with the guarantee that once incumbency is established, it’s pretty much inevitable that they will never be voted out (he’s not wrong). His latest float: California’s own Dalai Lama, Oprah, because, why not?

But according to the poll, Californians are also very concerned about Feinstein’s current health situation, viewing it as “increasingly problematic.”

Two-thirds of the registered voters polled (67%) agreed with the statement, “Feinstein’s latest illness underlines the fact that she is no longer fit to continue serving in the U.S. Senate.” Agreement extends to voters of all political stripes. Voters are less one-sided when asked what the best resolution would be for Feinstein. The largest proportion (42%) believes it would be best for Feinstein to resign from the Senate and allow Governor Gavin Newsom to appoint a successor, while 27% favor her continuing to serve and end her long Senate career on her own terms. But many voters (31%) are undecided or are choosing to withhold judgement.

Significantly, support for Feinstein’s resignation and the appointment of a replacement by the Governor is greatest among fellow Democrats and liberals, who favor that outcome greater than two to one. By contrast, more Republicans and strong conservatives oppose than support her resignation ostensibly because it would enable Newsom to appoint her successor.

Shorter: They don’t think their opinion will matter, because if Feinstein resigns, Newsom’s gonna Newsom (they’re not wrong).

But a surprise outlier found in this poll is probably putting chills up Democrat spines.

In addition, the poll finds Feinstein’s overall standing with voters continuing to decline. Just 29% of the state’s voters now view the Senator favorably, down 8 percentage points from February and nearly 20 points lower than when she ran for re-election in 2018.The poll also asked likely voters in next year’s March 2024 primary election their voting preferences for U.S. Senate, and the results indicate that the race remains a wide-open affair.

Bunched closely together atop the field are the only major Republican to have entered the race, attorney Eric Early, with 18%, Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter at 17% and Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff at 14%. Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee trails at 9%. But a huge 32% remain undecided in the race, while another 10% say they would support “someone else.”

It’s a one-point difference, and Porter is shiftier than Adam Schiff, but the fact that Early is leading at all should give people pause, and should get the California GOP off their asses, particularly since 32 percent of those polled are essentially undecided.

Although Democratic voters outnumber Republicans nearly two to one in California, Early’s relatively strong standing in the poll is due to his being the top choice of large proportions of Republican and conservative voters, while the state’s much larger pool of Democratic voters are dividing their support among the three major Democratic contenders.

Here is where canvassing, knocking doors, and the art of policy persuasion can make a huge difference between just being in the race and actually winning the race. Remember, California’s primary is “top two,” so the top two candidates move to the general ballot, no matter the party affiliation. With three Democrats splitting that vote, it’s Early’s race to lose. If Early is smart, he’ll take advantage of this and do the work to win those undecideds over.

Porter and Schiff are no doubt spitting nails, whether they have to face an election or an appointment. Schiff has done enough damage in Congress and desperately wants to become a Senator, so he can do more. If Newsom is given the opportunity to appoint Feinstein’s successor, he knows it won’t be him. Same with Porter, who has milked her single-mom, fight the power schtick beyond its sell-by date. Newsom is intent on playing the diversity card, and white, effeminate, and female no longer make that cut. Perhaps Schiff and Porter should consider becoming transgender. There’s a frightening thought.

Lee, who is Black, is at the bottom of this pack in an electoral matchup, barely trailing at two percent. Newsom loves the bright, shiny object of celebrity, along with the diversity. He also needs to make amends for his moonwalk on reparations, so if he is truly considering Oprah, and Oprah wants it, you know that’s a done deal—bye, bye, Barbara.

Democrats may also be playing with fire by pushing Feinstein over the proverbial cliff. While she is an inconsistent vote, she’s a guaranteed vote for their agenda. Bringing in an appointed Senator at this point, while they would be a consistent vote, is no guarantee that they would vote in the direction Schumer and the other Democrat senators want. See, Arizona, Sinema, Kyrsten.

Any way you slice it, Democrats are on the ropes and rending their garments. That alone is worth the popcorn.

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