Gavin Newsom hits the road for Prop. 1 as support falls for his mental health measure

Two months ago polls suggested Gov. Gavin Newsom wouldn’t have to do much to persuade voters to pass his marquee mental health measure. His plan, a $6.4 billion bond that would pay for the construction of new treatment beds and housing, had support from about two-thirds of voters. 

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But now, with voters casting ballots and a more recent poll showing declining enthusiasm for his proposal, Newsom is barnstorming the state to talk up Proposition 1. 

“Polling on this has been overwhelmingly positive, but polls don’t vote, people vote,” Newsom said Thursday during a get-out-the-vote rally in San Diego. “We’re here to get people to the polls.”

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The rally with the union United Domestic Workers, Attorney General Rob Bonta and other elected Democrats was the first of four planned campaign events by Newsom leading up to Election Day on March 5. Other stops include Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Statewide, about 10% of all ballots have been returned by mail just four days ahead of the election. Analysts say the trend indicates Tuesday will see the lowest voter turnout for a presidential primary election in recent state history.

Support for Prop. 1 dropped from 68% to 59% between December and February among likely voters, a nine-point difference, according to two polls published by the Public Policy Institute of California. Democrats and Independent voters were overwhelmingly supportive of the measure while most Republican voters indicated they would vote against it.

Anthony York, campaign manager for Yes on Prop. 1, asserted that the Public Policy Institute of California polls couldn’t be compared because ballot language was not available in December. The campaign’s internal polling numbers have remained steady, York said.

“Our numbers haven’t changed since we got the ballot language,” York said. “We knew this wouldn’t be a slam dunk measure. It’s a conservative electorate. That’s why the governor is out there raising awareness.”

new poll released Friday by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies pegged support for the measure at 50% to 34%. “The fact that Yes side support stood at just 50% one week before the election adds a measure of uncertainty to its outcome as, historically, most undecided voters in the late stages of a bond campaign tend to vote No,” institute director Mark DiCamillo wrote in an analysis of the poll results.

The measure needs a simple majority of the vote to pass.

Prop. 1 is a two-part ballot initiative to restructure California’s mental health and substance abuse treatment system. It includes the bond to build treatment facilities and permanent supportive housing for people with mental health and addiction challenges. It also would change a special wealth tax known as the Mental Health Services Act by requiring counties to spend 30% of that revenue on housing instead of on other services.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mental health policies

Newsom has pitched Prop. 1 to voters as a way to address the state’s entrenched homelessness crisis and vastly increase capacity for acute mental health and drug treatment. His Yes on Prop. 1 campaign amassed a war chest of $14.4 million, gaining support from law enforcement unions, large health care organizations, big city mayors and the mental health advocacy organization NAMI California.

California has failed for decades to make good on its promise of expanding community-based mental health treatment after closing nearly all state psychiatric hospitals in the 1960s. Prop. 1 is an opportunity for voters to rectify that failure, Newsom said.

Newsom has signed several laws during his tenure meant to address the mental health crisis playing out on California streets, including one last year loosening restrictions on involuntary treatment.

“People get it, and they want to get something done,” Newsom said to a gathering of about 100 union workers and first responders. “They don’t want to talk about this problem anymore. They want to see progress.”

The Yes on Prop. 1 campaign estimates that 6,800 treatment slots and 4,350 housing units could be constructed with the money raised by the bond.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters


  1. Really??? says

    Socialism on a rampage and just maybe the idiot Dem. voters are getting it.

    Cannot steal until the cupboard is bare.

  2. CriticalDfence9 says

    Not just NO, but he** NO!!!
    This (mis)administration has REPEATEDLY shown that they are 100% INCAPABLE of any financial management, and HAVE shown that they campaign for X fundraising and then RAID those funds for Y…
    DO NOT give these crooked, LYING politicians any more of our hard earned taxes for them to misappropriate…

  3. We do not need any more bond measures no matter how worthy the cause. Good restructuring of the budget could find $$ to fund mental health facility construction, but no, we spend money renaming buildings and other dumb woke stuff. If you vote for more bonds you just vote for more mismanagement of funds that are not going to accomplish their objective.

  4. Ok, where is the $7 billion from the water storage bill from about 8 years ago. Still waiting for the Sites Reservoir??? How many of your leftist friends received huge bonuses from that measure???

  5. Vote NO on prop 1

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