The sprawling social experiment known as California faces an uphill battle on reparations, after a new poll from UC Berkeley and the LA Times reveals that voters overwhelmingly oppose the idea of cash payments for black descendants of slaves by a 2-to-1 margin.
The poll found that 59% of voters oppose cash payments vs. 28% who support the idea. Four out of 10 voters “strongly” opposed the idea.
Interestingly, just 19% of those opposed cited cost as an issue. The majority simply says it’s unfair to today’s taxpayers and wrong to single out one group for reparations.
In the Berkeley poll, when voters who oppose reparations were asked why, the two main reasons cited most often were that “it’s unfair to ask today’s taxpayers to pay for wrongs committed in the past,” picked by 60% of voters, and “it’s not fair to single out one group for reparations when other racial and religious groups have been wronged in the past,” chosen by 53%.
Only 19% said their reason was that the proposal would cost the state too much, suggesting that money alone is not the main objection.
Among Democrats, 43% favored and 41% opposed cash reparations. Republicans were strongly against the proposal at 90% with only 5% in favor. Independents were 65% opposed and 22% in favor.
Black California voters were more likely to support cash payments than any other demographic, with 76% in favor and 16% opposed, the survey found. Almost two-thirds of white voters were opposed as were 6 in 10 Latino and Asian voters. -LA Times
“It has a steep uphill climb, at least from the public’s point of view,” said poll director Mark DiCamillo, who was obviously disappointed at the results. “The idea of cash reparations is really what’s being strongly opposed,” he continued, adding “There could be other solutions that could be much more warmly received.”
The sobering reality could put Gov. Gavin Newsom and his fellow Democrats in a tight spot, after state leaders have vocally endorsed the idea of reparations – going so far as to create California’s Reparations Task Force in 2020. The objective was to create a model for national reparations. But as the poll reveals, they are sailing against strong winds.
The task force has indeed been hard at work. They propose payments to all descendants based on a plethora of criteria, ranging from health disparities to housing discrimination. But there’s more: The group also suggests ending the death penalty, restoring voting rights to all incarcerated individuals, and implementing rent caps in historically redlined areas.
Members of the reparations task force previously said convincing non-Black Californians that the harms from slavery are still persisting today could be one of the biggest challenges for proponents.
Much of the task force’s work centered on hearing testimony from academics, economists and other experts to gather evidence of the effects of slavery and to prove the ways in which government-sanctioned policies discriminated against Black people long after slavery was abolished. -LA Times
When asked about his stance on reparations in the spring, Newsom said reparations are more than just cash payments.
“It doesn’t have to be in the frame of writing a check; reparations comes in many different forms. But one cannot deny these historical facts, and I really believe very strongly we have to come to grips with what’s happened,” Newsom told Fox News host Sean Hannity.
When asked whether the state is ‘doing enough’ to ensure that black residents have a fair chance to succeed, 29% said the California is doing too little, 22% said the state is doing too much, and 26% said it’s just enough. Nearly 1/4, or 23%, had no opinion.