Poll shows support for recall of DA Boudin

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday March 16, 2022
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San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Photo: Rick Gerharter
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Photo: Rick Gerharter

A poll released March 16 by the campaign working to recall San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin shows that more than a majority of city voters would remove him from office.

Boudin, one of several progressive DA's in the country, faces a June 7 recall vote. Organizers gathered enough signatures to force the ballot question after many residents grew frustrated with quality of life crimes and some of Boudin's policies.

The Safer SF Without Boudin campaign, which is led by Democratic Party members, community leaders, and small business owners, released a poll from EMC Research showing that 68% of San Francisco voters support the recall while 32% are opposed. A total of 74% of those polled have an unfavorable view of Boudin, who was narrowly elected in 2019, according to the poll.

"Voters clearly know and believe that Chesa Boudin is failing to keep San Francisco safe," stated Mary Jung, chair of the Safer SF Without Boudin campaign. "Hate crimes toward the [Asian and Pacific Islander] community spiked by more than 500% in 2021 under Chesa's watch."

Jung is a former chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party.

The poll found that Boudin has an unfavorability rating of 74%, while 78% of voters give him a negative job performance rating.

The poll's findings come from a mixed mode telephone, and email- and text-to-web survey among 800 likely voters in San Francisco and was conducted February 17-21, EMC Research stated. The results have an overall margin of error of plus or minus 4.4% points, and the survey was offered in English and Chinese, according to EMC Research.

The summary from the research firm stated that voters are "very concerned" about specific crime-related issues. These include car and home break-ins, 61%; public drug use, 56%; violent crime, 56%; retail theft, 48%; and panhandling and public nuisances, 46%.

The survey also found that the recall campaign's messaging is compelling to voters. For example, 71% (52% extremely compelling) for the campaign's statement "Chesa Boudin has emboldened criminals who know his 'catch and release' policy means they will face no consequences. In his first year in office, burglaries spiked by 49%, and 84% of charged perpetrators were back on the street within two days."

The summary stated that Boudin's supporters, on the other hand, are struggling with their message that the recall is a "Republican-funded effort to attack progressive justice in San Francisco. The recall's top funders have also given hundreds of thousands of dollars to [former President Donald] Trump, [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell, and other Republican causes."

In fact, there was a Republican-led effort to recall Boudin, as the Bay Area Reporter previously reported. Richie Greenberg, who ran for mayor, launched a recall effort in 2021 but came up short in qualified signatures. The Safer SF Without Boudin recall effort also launched in 2021 and turned in more signatures than required. Election officials set the June 7 election date for the recall, which is also the state primary.

The poll shows that most voters have made up their mind on the issue. "Support for the recall is solidly above a majority at the beginning of the survey (68%) and moves very little after a simulated campaign with information on both sides (71% after reasons to support a recall and 66% after reasons to oppose a recall)," EMC Research stated.

A former assistant district attorney who, despite describing herself as a progressive to the San Francisco Chronicle, resigned from the DA's office and is now volunteering for the recall stated that the office is facing high turnover.

"The turnover and lack of experience, coupled with Boudin's unilateral decisions to hand down lenient sentences or not to press charges, and to release violent criminals early is putting San Franciscans at grave risk," stated Brooke Jenkins in a release from the pro-recall campaign.

Julie Edwards, a spokesperson for the Friends of Chesa Boudin campaign against the recall, was critical of the survey results.

"The recall committee has no credibility and has consistently lied to voters throughout this campaign," Edwards stated in an email to the B.A.R. "Even today, they fail to mention that this survey includes extensive negative attacks targeting Chesa Boudin and intended to skew the results. It's inaccurate and not consistent with other surveys in this race."

Edwards reiterated that the pro-recall campaign is funded by GOP donors.

"Our campaign has been feeling real momentum from everyday San Franciscans and community leaders who strongly oppose a dishonest recall, funded by Republican donors and intended to divide San Francisco," she stated.

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