Majority of San Francisco Voters Back Recall of Progressive DA Chesa Boudin

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New polling out of California shows a whole heck of a lot of trouble for San Francisco’s progressive district attorney Chesa Boudin, with a clear majority of likely primary voters blaming him for rising crime in the city and also supporting his ouster ahead of June’s recall election.

According to the poll, 68 percent of likely San Francisco primary voters said they will vote to recall Boudin, including 71 percent of voters over 50, and 64 percent of Democrats in the politically progressive city. Seventy-eight percent of respondents gave Boudin a negative job performance rating. The poll of 800 likely voters was conducted by Oakland-based EMC Research and paid for by Safer SF Without Boudin, the group behind the recall.

The poll found that 74 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Boudin, and 59 percent have a strongly unfavorable opinion of him. Sixty-eight percent of likely voters reported that crime has gotten worse over the last year, and 61 percent agreed that Boudin “is responsible for rising crime rates in San Francisco, especially burglaries and thefts.”

A majority of respondents reported being “very concerned” about car and home break-ins (61 percent), public drug use (56 percent), and violent crime (52 percent).

The poll found that significant majorities of respondents found pro-recall messaging compelling, including messaging that claims that Boudin’s “catch and release” policies are emboldening criminals (71 percent), and that 51 prosecutors have left Boudin’s office in protest over his mismanagement (also 71 percent). Less than a third of respondents found messaging linking the recall to Republicans compelling, according to the poll.

Supporters of the recall crowed that the poll shows that Boudin is “toast,” and that it is proof that Boudin is not keeping the city safe.

However, a spokeswoman for Boudin’s campaign told the San Francisco Standard that the poll is not consistent with what Boudin supporters are hearing on the ground. She cited polls last year that showed trouble for Governor Gavin Newsom, who ended up easily defeating a recall.

“There is reason to believe that this far out from an election, that surveys can be a curiosity rather than an indication of actual results,” Julie Edwards, spokeswoman for the anti-recall effort, told the news organization.

While Newsom avoided his recall, the Boudin recall comes on the heels of voters overwhelmingly supporting the ouster of three San Francisco school board members last month. More than 70 percent of voters cast ballots in February to recall Alison Collins, Gabriela López, and Faauuga Molina, who were accused of prioritizing social justice politics over reopening schools and managing the districts’ troubled finances during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Boudin, a former public defender, was first elected in 2019. He ran on a progressive platform, pledging to oppose policies that perpetuate mass incarceration. He vowed not to prosecute “victimless crimes,” like prostitution, open drug use, and drug dealing.

Under Boudin’s watch, San Francisco has seen a surge of shoplifting, an increase in homelessness and drug overdoses, and rising reports of anti-Asian hate crimes, car break-ins, and burglaries and thefts.

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