Voters warm to Feinstein, cool to her age (but not to the governor’s)

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Some 59 percent of California voters questioned in a recent poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies gave U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein positive reviews for her job performance, and 56 percent are initially inclined to support her should she decide to seek reelection next year. However, voters are divided when asked if a Feinstein reelection bid would be good or bad for the state, and opinions turn negative when reminded that she will be 84 in next year’s election cycle.

The poll shines a spotlight not just on the long political career of Feinstein, a five-term senator and San Francisco’s former mayor, but also gives indications of how voters view politicians in terms of age and sex.

Mark DiCamillo, director of the IGS Poll, reports that the 1,000 registered California voters surveyed online in English and Spanish by the institute from March 13-20 give the highest level of support to California Gov. Jerry Brown to run for the Senate if Feinstein opts not to do so. Brown will turn 80 next year.

Democrats surveyed appear to be the group most affected by mention of Feinstein’s age. Among Democrats not reminded of her age, 73 percent said it would be good for the state for her to remain in Congress for another term. For those reminded of her age, 52 percent said it would not be  good thing for California for her to run again.

The March survey also gauged voter response to Kamala Harris, the state’s former attorney general, who was sworn into the U.S. Senate after winning a seat in November’s election. Results of the overall poll sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent.

Read more about the survey.