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Poll: Majority of Californians want Feinstein to call it quits

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A majority of California voters, according to a new poll, believe it would be a “bad thing” for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein to run for re-election in 2018. Feinstein has been in the Senate since 1992. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

More than half of California voters say it would be a “bad thing” for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein to run for a sixth term in Congress next year, when she’s up for re-election.

A new poll conducted by the Institute of Governmental Politics at the University of California, Berkeley, found that 52 percent of registered voters said Feinstein should call it quits while 48 percent said it would be a “good thing” for the California lawmaker to run again.

When respondents were reminded that Feinstein will be 84 years old next year, the share of voters who said it would be a “bad thing” for the senator to seek re-election jumped to 62 percent.

Feinstein, a San Francisco native, has been in the Senate since 1992. In 2009, she became the first woman to chair the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and today, she serves as the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Poll Director Mark DiCamillo suggested the poll indicates that Californians are ready for a change.

“It’s an interesting result that may just show some voters think it may be time for someone new to join in,” he said. “It’s an indication, perhaps, that some voters are growing restless and want a new face in Washington.”

Despite the fact that most Golden State voters want a new senator, they are pretty happy with the job Feinstein is doing: Her overall approval rating sits at 59 percent. Among just Democrats, an overwhelming 82 percent approve of Feinstein.

This latest poll does not appear to be an outlier. In March, a survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California showed Feinstein’s approval rating had dropped seven points in one year — from 56 percent to 49 percent.

Feinstein, for her part, has not indicated any plans to retire, and according to DiCamillo, that’s OK. If she runs again, even those who want her to retire will vote for her re-election.

“All in all, voters would be inclined to support her if she did run,” he said.

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