More than two-thirds of voters in California think Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is not fit to serve in the Senate, according to a new poll.
Sixty-seven percent of registered voters in the state say Feinstein’s latest illness, which has left her in a wheelchair, has left her unfit for office, according to the poll conducted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.
Poll respondents were asked if they agreed with the statement, “Feinstein’s latest illness underlines the fact that she is no longer fit to continue serving in the U.S. Senate.”
In addition, on the question of whether she should resign, a plurality (42%) said she should. Another 27% said Feinstein should serve in the Senate until the end of her term in 2025, while 31% said they were undecided.
The poll was conducted from May 17 to 22 and surveyed 7,465 registered voters with random emails in both English and Spanish.
Feinstein, 89, missed weeks of Senate votes after contracting shingles, which led to Ramsay Hunt syndrome, which can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss. She also suffered encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain.
When she finally returned to work two months after holing up in her California mansion, Feinstein was in a wheelchair. But she and her staff claim she’s just fine — and they’re going to great lengths to shield the senator’s health from public scrutiny.
On Wednesday, a staff photographer for The Los Angeles Times wrote that he was “shouted at” when he tried to photograph Feinstein.
“I photographed the senator as a staff member tried to hide her wheelchair behind a pillar at a low-profile exit last week. A Capitol Police officer shouted at me to move back — despite already being 30 feet away from the senator. Feinstein waved as she was escorted to a waiting vehicle,” photographer Kent Nishimura wrote.
The photographer also claimed Senate security is going to great lengths to protect Feinstein from the press.
“For two days in a row last week, the Senate sergeant-at-arms office has said her arrival at the Capitol ‘is closed press,’ shutting doors and using the Capitol police to chase journalists out of hallways and public spaces. This unprecedented act of restricting press freedom only raises more questions,” he said.
Feinstein’s office denied that it is shielding the senator from the media.
“Our office has not asked photographers to not take pictures of her in her wheelchair,” Feinstein spokesman Adam Russell said in a statement to the Times. “We did ask, and continue to ask for safety reasons, that photographers and reporters give her space, particularly when entering and exiting her vehicle.”
A spokesperson for Feinstein did say: “While the encephalitis resolved itself shortly after she was released from the hospital in March, she continues to have complications from Ramsay Hunt syndrome.”
Feinstein’s mental acuity has been in question since she returned to the Senate. She gave a bizarre answer when asked by reporters about her lengthy absence and how her colleagues reacted upon her return.
“No, I haven’t been gone,” she said, Slate reported. “You should follow the — I haven’t been gone, I’ve been working.”
One reporter asked whether she had been working from home. “No, I’ve been here. I’ve been voting,” she said. “Please, you either know or don’t know.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.