San Francisco voters are becoming less progressive

If it seems like San Francisco voters have started to sour on progressive politics, you’re onto something. A new poll of 1,048 registered voters shows a notable shift away from liberal policies, with 39% saying their political views have become “less progressive” since 2019 and only 25% saying they’ve become more progressive.

The moderation has been particularly noticeable on issues of crime, homelessness and drug use. Around two-thirds say they favor coerced treatment for hard drug abusers. Only one-third now favor the harm reduction model, which includes things like safe drug consumption sites. Additionally, of all city agencies, it was the San Francisco Police Department that received the highest approval numbers in the survey. “Policing” is identified as the No. 1 area voters would target for increased city funding.

The new San Francisco Standard Voter Poll is sandwiched between two key elections. In February, San Francisco recalled three progressive members of the San Francisco School Board who had supported prolonged school closures, the elimination of merit-based school admissions, and the renaming of dozens of schools with “offensive” titles. This month, voters will have a chance to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin, an ultra-progressive prosecutor who rode to office on a wave of criminal justice reform sentiment. He has since been blamed for rising lawlessness in the city.

The San Francisco Standard poll is bad news for the prosecutor. 57% support recalling Boudin, with the strongest level of recall support coming from the AAPI community. Just 22% of voters are opposed to the recall. Another 21% haven’t made up their minds.

Here are some further highlights:

  • 65% of San Francisco voters feel less safe than they did three years ago
  • 49% support Mayor London Breed’s job performance
  • Just 34% strongly or somewhat approve of the Board of Supervisors’ job performance
  • 44% plan to leave San Francisco; the top three reasons cited are homelessness, cost of living and crime
  • 45% of voters are content in San Francisco; among seniors and those under age 35, that number is 53% 

Read the survey here.


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