San Jose Power Poll Shows Little Support for Sheriff Smith, Strong Support for Covid Restrictions

Government intervention to combat Covid-19 remains heavily popular among respondents in the latest San Jose Inside Power Poll, but a majority of panelists believe that the widespread availability of vaccines precludes the need for another wave of mandatory lockdowns.

On other Power Poll topics, roughly half of all respondents believe that Sheriff Laurie Smith should resign or serveout the balance of her term and not seek reelection. Despite having been elected to her post six times previously, only 2 percent of respondents say they now support her expected bid for a seventh term in the wake of a civil grand jury’s recent accusations of misconduct against her.

Respondents broadly support additional state policies to help legal cannabis claim a larger share of the market from illegal pot, including true statewide legalization and greater enforcement against illegal operators — but not necessarily tax relief.

Finally, poll respondents oppose the concept of enacting laws to require property owners to give their tenants first dibs on purchasing their homes in the event that they choose to put them on the market.

Here are the specific questions and responses to our poll:

Question 1

In the month since omicron coronavirus variant emerged from South Africa, it has become the dominant U.S. variant of Covid-19, with infection levels surging toward new highs. Case rates in cities and among athletes, students and health workers demonstrate just how alarmingly transmissible it is. How should governments be thinking about this latest outbreak? (Select all the answers you agree with, with 1 being your highest priority.)

Government intervention has helped the Bay Area remain relatively healthy — Score 4.4364

Vaccines and testing should be required to participate in society — Score 3.7818

Mask mandates should remain in place and less-effective cloth masks should be banned — Score 2.6727

Lockdowns made sense before we had vaccines, but not now — Score 2.4182

Everyone except infants can get vaccinated. Now we’re all on our own — Score 1.0182

It’s time to accept that we’re all going to get Covid-19 — Score .9818

It’s time to ban public assembly again — Score .0736

Question 2

Should employers require their employees to be vaccinated?

Yes — 80%

No — 15%

No opinion/don’t care — 5%

Question 3

The county’s civil grand jury recently accused Sheriff Laurie Smith of seven corruption-related acts, including trading favors related to concealed weapons permits and failing to cooperate with an investigation into an injured inmate that cost the  county $10 million. What do you think about the state’s first female sheriff?

The courts should swiftly consider the grand jury’s accusation

s against Smith — 45%

Smith should resign — 24%

Smith should serve out her sixth term but not seek a seventh term — 18%

I support her expected bid for a seventh term — 2%

No opinion/don’t care — 11%

Question 4

A coalition of cannabis executives recently warned that California’s legal “industry is collapsing” due to excessive taxation and ongoing prohibitions against recreational sales in most cities. As a result, illegal and untested marijuana still flourishes. What should the state do? (Select all the answers you agree with, with 1 being your highest priority.)


State policies need to grow the legal market and discourage illegal weed — Score 3.6909

Sales should be legal statewide — Score 2.8909

Cannabis is overtaxed in California. — Score 1.8182

The state should crack down on illegal sales — Score 1.7273

We can’t just give out tax breaks every time an industry complains — Score 1.7091

The state should find a way to make legal weed cheaper than the illegal stuff. — Score 1.3091

Localities must retain the right to set their own policies — Score 1.2909

Pot should be heavily taxed, to compensate for its adverse effects — Score .8182

Question 5

Bay Area cities including San Jose and Oakland are considering ordinances designed to give tenants, cities and housing groups priority when homes come up for sale. Proposals differ, but generally would require landlords to notify such groups if they wish to sell their homes. Landlords could still hold out for the price they desire, but would have to give such buyers priority over other bidders.

That’s certain to cost homeowners money and make home sales takemonths — 54%

That sounds like a reasonable way to help reduce gentrification — 39%

No opinion/don’t care — 7%

Analysis of Questions 1 and 2

In the San Jose Inside Power Poll’s five short months, panelists have overwhelmingly supported governmental action designed to make us all safer. So the broad lack of support for a new wave of lockdowns in the midst of the surge in infections from the Omicron variant represents an apparent sea change in our attitudes about the pandemic.

Some 55 percent of respondents agreed with the proposition that lockdowns made sense before we had vaccines, but not now. And that’s the case even as respondents continued to support other governmental actions, with 80 percent supporting employer vaccine mandates, 80 percent also agreeing that vaccines and testing should be required to “participate in society,” and 63 percent agreeing that mask mandates should remain in place but that cloth masks should be banned.

Analysis of Question 3

Although almost half of those panelists who expressed an opinion about Sheriff Laurie Smith appear not to have prejudged her and would like the courts to swiftly consider the charges she faces, it can’t be a good thing for her that only one out of every 50 respondents supports her seeking a seventh term. If the sheriff engages in political polling of the general electorate and it is telling her anything comparable, it could well be that Smith’s “expected” reelection bid should not be quite so expected.

Analysis of Question 4

It is surprising that support for making things easier on legal cannabis operations was considerably stronger in our San Jose poll than in this month’s simultaneous Oakland Power Poll. Panelists would like to see the state do what it can to help legal weed triumph over the outlaw stuff. Top of the list of voters’ potential solutions is opening up the rest of the state to legal sales, which would clearly have the effect of driving out some of the illegal weed in the roughly two-thirds of California cities that still don’t permit its legal sale.

However, the notion that cannabis is overtaxed in California was only slightly more popular than resistance to offering tax breaks to an industry just because it asks for them. Of course, many industries ask for tax breaks, but few are as demonstrably troubled as California’s legal weed merchants, who face complex regulations, a still-intact network of illegal competitors free to ignore those regulations and a glut of well-funded competitors.

Analysis of Question 5

Some 58% of respondents with an opinion opposed the concept of giving tenants, cities and housing groups priority when homes come up for sale. Given the ratio of tenants to homeowners, it appears safe to say that a majority of property owners and even a fair number of tenants oppose the idea.

San Jose Inside Power Poll is not a scientific poll. Rather, we ask questions of influential people with a wide range of viewpoints to help advance informed dialogue about the city. Power Poll is studiously non-partisan.



  1. how can you continue to write articles about unscientific polls?

    moreover, unscientific being a euphemism for intentionally bias

    this is the lowest point in SJI’s pathetic history

  2. “San Jose Inside Power Poll is not a scientific poll. Rather, we ask questions of influential people with a wide range of viewpoints to help advance informed dialogue”

    At least they admit they’re cooking the books to get the results they want.

  3. Steven,

    Im a moderate liberal and typically agree with your posts.

    But things have changed; theres a highly effective vaccine and most in California have at least one shot. Soon most will be boosted.

    I don’t think anything catastrophic will happen iththe new variant. Anybody who is boosted and gets it will have mild symptoms but will not end up in the icu.

    So unless the science changes I would not support another lockdown or some requirement to wear n95 masks.

  4. The demand for cannabis was vastly over-estimated. Anyone that wants cannabis has no problem driving to a city where dispensaries are legal (San Jose, Mountain View, etc.) and those cities benefit from the additional tax revenue, just as cities with car dealerships benefit from sales tax revenue.

    The only practical solution to increase state revenue from cannabis taxes is to require that all adults get high at least once per week. We already require that every household pay for garbage pick-up, whether or not they generate any garbage, so requiring that people get high should not be a problem.

    Personally I have no interest in smoking or ingesting cannabis at this time, but as a law-abiding citizen I would do so if there was a law requiring it.

  5. It’s difficult to believe that legal cannabis dispensaries are losing money when one of them uses a fleet of Teslas to make their home deliveries.

  6. We are SAFE.

    Steven, take your Midol and maybe add a hot compress and give it a rest.

    ———– Omicron Fear Fueling a ‘2nd Pandemic of Lunacy’ (Dec2021)————

    —- COVID Case Counts …Losing Importance Amid Omicron (Jan2022) —-

    “…case numbers seem to yield a less useful picture of the pandemic amid the spread of omicron, which is causing lots of infections but so far does not appear to be severe in its effects.”

    “Case counts have lost relevance,
    said Andrew Noymer, a public health professor at the University of California, Irvine.”
    “If I had to choose one metric, I would choose the hospitalization data.”

  7. Laurie makes over $500K per year according to Open the Books. 7 terms at that salary is not government service, it is self enrichment.
    Don’t feel sorry for her. La Hefa will also receive a pension where she will continue making close to her current salary (adjusted for CPI of course)

  8. This is really the first I’d heard about cloth masks not being good enough… or any attempt at changing rules requiring better masks…. so very interesting news I wonder why I haven’t heard more about. Although I am 100% completely against any government mask mandates, and feel that business owners are welcome to make whatever rules they want for their business regarding masks or not, if cloth masks are really so ineffective I think this needs to be publicized more – if I’m going to wear a mask (whether by personal choice, because of the rules of a business I wish to enter, or government overstepping their authority and telling me what to wear) it should at least be an effective one!

  9. “San Jose Inside Power Poll is not a scientific poll. Rather, we ask questions of influential people with a wide range of viewpoints to help advance informed dialogue about the city. Power Poll is studiously non-partisan.”

    Even if you don’t intend the poll to be studiously non-partisan (is that really true?), look at who you’re polling, where.

    By the way, it’s cheap tabloid style to call it a “Power” poll, and so many tech types aren’t likely to be the kind of sports followers that now often may find the word “power” a draw, like those oft-stupid power ratings and rankings. (Who else but some sports followers would find “power poll” a draw at all?) Couldn’t you be at least clever as well as truthful and consider “San Jose Insider Poll”? That is assuming those who are influential, are influential, and realize it means it’s people who often don’t share the same values and goals as residents or visitors.

    (not “San Jose Insider Dynamic Power Poll” — please, no)

  10. First of all I would lkke to say great blog!
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    mind. I waas curious to know how you centger yourself and clear your mind prior to writing.
    I have had troublle clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
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  11. Why is it that so many people feel they need so much government involvement in their lives? Do you not know how to take care of yourself? Apparently not because I see people who think the mask is the end-all to be all that they can sneeze without covering properly they can cough without covering properly into their hands and touching everything and heaven forbid if somebody sees something on sale for get that six feet separation that doesn’t matter but yet they want you to wear masks but they won’t learn how to cough or sneeze properly or get off your heels, blatantly just coughing standing in an aisle or whatever their standing in front of and as we see the vaccinations don’t prevent people from getting it and don’t prevent people from spreading it with the 6/ 7th boosters still not helping,. You have to be responsible for yourself I don’t expect any of these gross people to be responsible for me and they should not expect me to be responsible for them.Bottom line put on your big-boy pants and your big girl pants and take care of yourself don’t expect the government to or anybody else to it’s the way it is a lot of gross people a lot of people that need guidance in order to get dressed in the morning which is so sad that there’s so many of them here in Northern California. Getting mandates from Mayors who have stock in the jab who make money from it? Yeah they all have our best interests at heart no they don’t they have their own pockets and their own Financial gain. Northern California is do as I say don’t do as I do state quit making responsible adults who know how to take care of themselves have to lower their brain matter and be treated like a child and start requiring people to be responsible for themselves and look to themselves for their own problems and their own issues. So sick of having to be stupid for everybody and to try and be on their level. I personally see with my eyes not my ears – you can hear things and hear what people said or hear words people’s cats said about it but I’m not seeing all the hype I hear all the BS and rampant fear and control that’s trying to be placed upon people but what everybody is saying and what is actually seen is not adding up nor do I believe equally true. You can’t always believe what you read because a lot of times you’re not allowed to say whatever you want or feel you’re only given information that somebody else feels have in their favor

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