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CA120: Poll shows angry two-thirds back Judge Persky recall

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky. (Photo: Jason Doiy/The Recorder via AP)

Explosions of anger may be the hallmark of this political cycle.  Each party had presidential candidates’ campaigns that were based – at least partly – in anger.  There has been violence at rallies and social media often resembles a verbal war zone.

However, we’re often unsure of how deep the anger goes.

Is it concentrated among activists, or does it exist deeper into the world of average voters who are less engaged with issues?  Is it ephemeral or more lasting?CA Logo

One of these recent California examples was the anger that followed the six-month sentence given by Judge Aaron Persky to Brock Turner, a Stanford University student-athlete convicted of sexual assault.  The outrage over the sentence extended from local Stanford students and residents, to the local and statewide media, all the way to the state Legislature and even to Congress.

More than three-quarters (77%) agree that if the defendant had been African-American or Latino, a tougher sentence would have been handed down.

The challenge in assessing these voices of anger and outrage is determining whether this is a social media and bully-pulpit phenomenon, destined to blow up in cyberspace, but then peter out locally like others in the past. Or is it a substantive issue with strong local support?

A recall election is looming, but that recall is not going to be won or lost based on the number of likes and retweets, speeches given, or how many times the victim’s letter is re-read.  It comes down to the narrow universe of actual voters in Santa Clara County participating in a future, likely low intensity, local election.

To explore this issue further, we conducted a poll of 776 registered voters within the county who would be passing judgement on a recall if it were to qualify for a future ballot.  And, rather than a few loud voices of protest, our poll finds that two-thirds (67%) of Santa Clara County voters support a recall.  Women, and especially younger women, are at the center of the storm with a more than 4-to-1 support. The survey’s cross tabs can be found here.

Our poll found that Persky’s sentence was widely understood by voters and violated their sense of justice:

  • 80% of voters say they’ve seen, read or heard “a lot” about this case and the sentence making for a very informed electorate
  • Four-in-five (81%) describe the sentence as “too lenient”
  • More than three-quarters (77%) agree that if the defendant had been African-American or Latino, a tougher sentence would have been handed down.
  • Most significantly, 63% of voters believe that the Turner sentence demonstrates that Persky cannot be fair in any case, rather than a one-time lapse. This is where we see the strength of a recall – few voters give Persky any benefit of the doubt.

However, there are signs that Persky could possibly survive a recall attempt despite this overwhelming disapproval.  The survey provided both a pro-recall and anti-recall message.

Voters age 55 and older – those who tend to dominate low-turnout off-year elections, which is what this recall would be – are fairly evenly split on this final vote.

The pro-recall message attempted to further the idea that Persky’s sentence violated the public’s trust.

“Judge Persky’s extremely light sentence of Brock Turner is an insult to victims of sexual assault and women, generally and shows that we can no longer trust him to reflect the values of Santa Clara County in his court room.   One of the jurors on the case has spoken out to say the sentence did not fit the crime.  By citing the fact that the victim was drunk at a college party, Persky is blaming the victim for her own assault and minimized the seriousness of a crime that will haunt the victim for the rest of her life.  But because Judge Persky was a student-athlete at Stanford, just like the defendant, he gave this felon a slap on the wrist.”

A follow-up vote found this message only increased support for removing Persky by two points (68%).  This shows that – absent new information about this case – we’re probably at the ceiling of recall support.

Meanwhile the anti-recall message diminished support for a recall to 59%.  It read:

“The fact is, Judge Persky is extremely well regarded and has never been cited for any kind of misconduct in his 12 years in office.  The County parole office, who talked to both Turner and the victim before sentencing, advised a “moderate” sentence to Judge Persky.  Even if you disagree with Judge Persky’s sentence in this one case out of the thousands he has heard over his career, removing a judge over a single, high-profile case sets a very dangerous precedent that will cause judges to pay more attention to public opinion than following the law and their best judgment.”

While this message does try to demonstrate Persky’s fitness to remain on the bench, it pivots away from him and the Turner case.  Making the debate more about philosophical concerns that voters might have with a recall would likely be a stronger tactical path for Persky and his supporters.

Voters age 55 and older – those who tend to dominate low-turnout off-year elections, which is what this recall would be – are fairly evenly split on this final vote.

If Persky’s supporters were able to communicate a message to voters, they could take some of the edge off the anger towards him.  Recall supporters don’t have to worry much about persuasion, but would need to mobilize younger voters to maintain their advantage.

Persky was unopposed for re-election this year and because the law does not permit a recall effort to go forward until the subsequent election, it will be fascinating to see whether the current anger smolders over the course of the election season, then through the holidays and the inauguration of a new president, and whether other  intervening events capture the anger of the electorate.

Ed’s Note: Pollster Jonathan Brown, a regular contributor to Capitol Weekly’s CA120 column, is the president of Sextant Strategies. Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data Inc., is the founder of CA120. They were assisted by Alan Nigel Yan, an intern from UC Berkeley.

 


  • Joe Citizen

    I think a proper anti-recall message would include the following information:
    1. First off, the woman leading the recall effort, Stanford Professor Michele Dauber, is against due process for men – she wrote the campus sexual misconduct procedures, which include No Lawyers for accused men, and No Cross Examination for accused men – and a lower standard of proof for “convictions” Just last month, 21 very prominent law professors around the country wrote and Open Letter saying these rules deny due process. Dauber knew better when she wrote the rules.
    2. This judge followed the Probation Department recommendations – as he typically does – actually he increased the jail time – the probation officer who wrote up the report is not a Stanford Athlete, or male, or probably rich – anyway, the officer actually spoke to the victim, who told her she was OK with no jail time, but it appears that afterwards she spoke to the DDA who convinced her to come to court and give her eloquent speech – by the way, the victim is a Spoken Word actress – what she did in court is very much like one of her performances online – that she did long before this event. THIS MAY HAVE BEEN A SETUP BY JEFF ROSEN.
    3. As for money, the victim’s family’ home in Palo Alto is valued at over $3 MILLION by Zillow- Turner’s family’s house is valued a bit over $300K – though that may not tell the whole story, what information we do have indicates ten times the wealth in her family as in his.

    • George Burgess

      How do you know the victim’s name? How do you know the victim is a voice actress? How do you know where the victim’s family lives? Do you have any evidence to your claims?

      • Joe Citizen

        Chanel Miller is Everywoman’s name – she grew up in Palo Alto, in a $3M house – went to Gunn High School, very highly acclaimed. She was active in sports, attended college at University of California Santa Barbara – her little sister Tiffany went to Cal Poly. She was very active in Spoken Word which is a theatrical art, you can find videos of her performances online.
        I am not against Chanel Turner, but the hype over her has become excessive I think . She’s a young woman who got very drunk one night, and maybe consented to sex, maybe not. She drank at least four drinks before her mother drove her, her sister, and friends to the party. I believe once you’ve drunk enough to have amnesia you could have consented to anything. It’s very unclear why she got so drunk, but it was totally on her own – Brock Turner did not get her drunk then take advantage of that.
        Perhaps she had some troubles with her boyfriend, who was attending Wharton Business School to get an MBA. The drunken late night calls which were pretty sure to wake him up tend to suggest that, but who knows?

        At the time this happened, she was 22. Turner was 19.

        She seems like an articulate quite intelligent person – her Spoken Word performances say she’s half Asian half White but you would not guess it, looks pure Asian.
        I believe to a large extent, though this is a person of substance, who did strive to achieve, and succeeded it seems, it is still fair to say she’s extremely privileged as well – and I think her self-rightousness to some extent comes from that.
        I do believe the custom of keeping all alleged victims completely protected from public scrutiny is excessive – for example, if she had a history of binge drinking and promiscuity, I think that is relevant – or just a history of binge drinking to the point of blacking out.

        I also feel, “Emily, Emily, what crimes are committed in thy name” – bad laws are being proposed – there is an effort to underming the independence of the judiciary, all using her as a prop – enough is enough.
        At this point, having said she supports changes to the laws, she should be asked why – without anonymity, without her handlers Stanford Prof Michele Dauber and DDA Alaleh Kianerci helping her – she’s smart enough and old enough to speak for herself.

        • George Burgess

          So, who is it Chanel Miller or Chanel Turner?

          Do you have any evidence the Standford rape victim is who you claim she is?

          • Joe Citizen

            My mistake, of course it’s Chanel Miller, you are still to stupid to talk to.

          • George Burgess

            I am?

            So you have no evidence. Nothing that you can show. You are just listing a woman’s name. Not only to slander her, but also to blame the victim. You are shameless.

        • George Burgess

          There is no excuse for sexual assault.

        • George Burgess

          The woman was unconscious. She could not give consent. Does not matter if she did before. Turner is also the only one making the claim she gave consent while the physical evidence and witness testimony dispute his claims. She was unconscious when the two Standford students intervened and if they hadn’t, he might have gotten away with it.

          • Joe Citizen

            Chanel Miller is Everywoman’s name – she grew up in Palo Alto, in a $3M house – went to Gunn High School, very highly acclaimed. She was active in sports, attended college at University of California Santa Barbara – her little sister Tiffany went to Cal Poly. She was very active in Spoken Word which is a theatrical art, you can find videos of her performances online.
            I am not against Chanel Turner, but the hype over her has become excessive I think . She’s a young woman who got very drunk one night, and maybe consented to sex, maybe not. She drank at least four drinks before her mother drove her, her sister, and friends to the party. I believe once you’ve drunk enough to have amnesia you could have consented to anything. It’s very unclear why she got so drunk, but it was totally on her own – Brock Turner did not get her drunk then take advantage of that.
            Perhaps she had some troubles with her boyfriend, who was attending Wharton Business School to get an MBA. The drunken late night calls which were pretty sure to wake him up tend to suggest that, but who knows?

            At the time this happened, she was 22. Turner was 19.

            She seems like an articulate quite intelligent person – her Spoken Word performances say she’s half Asian half White but you would not guess it, looks pure Asian.
            I believe to a large extent, though this is a person of substance, who did strive to achieve, and succeeded it seems, it is still fair to say she’s extremely privileged as well – and I think her self-rightousness to some extent comes from that.
            I do believe the custom of keeping all alleged victims completely protected from public scrutiny is excessive – for example, if she had a history of binge drinking and promiscuity, I think that is relevant – or just a history of binge drinking to the point of blacking out.

            I also feel, “Emily, Emily, what crimes are committed in thy name” – bad laws are being proposed – there is an effort to underming the independence of the judiciary, all using her as a prop – enough is enough.
            At this point, having said she supports changes to the laws, she should be asked why – without anonymity, without her handlers Stanford Prof Michele Dauber and DDA Alaleh Kianerci being present.

          • George Burgess

            So your copy and pasting your comments? No matter how many times you repeat something, it will not become truth.

            Not only do you not offer a link or evidence to your claims, you are slandering a victim of an assault. Do you understand that only a pathetic, shameless person would do this?

          • George Burgess

            If you are only just going copy and paste your comments, at least fix the mistakes.

          • Joe Citizen

            Good Points – I will do so in future, got to improve the text in terms of explaining why – but if you have any brains you can confirm – but i tell you what, call one of the people who know.

          • George Burgess

            The burden of proof is on the person making the claims. Who are one of the people who know? Do you have an insider to the investigation?

            So you still don’t having any evidence? Got it.

          • Joe Citizen

            Well, at this point it’s really, really obvious you believe me – try to Google it a bit, her name is posted by others but then removed by the MSM – but I know it absolutely to be the case that the name is correct by my own investigation.

          • George Burgess

            You are no reporter. Just delusional.

            Fine. I’ll give you $3,000 dollars for the information. You just have to give me your information.

          • Joe Citizen

            OK, but you have to actually make a written contract with me – you are reading a web based magazine – are you in California? You have to sign a binding contract, have the $3,000 handy and I will show you the proof and you give me the $3,000.

          • George Burgess

            Got to give me your information first. I’ll contact you for the contract. Not going to tell you where I’m from.

          • Joe Citizen

            OK, this website concentrates on Sacto, I can meet you at the Capitol, got to go up there anyway I think.

          • George Burgess

            It’s obvious I believe you? Nope. Not at all.

          • George Burgess

            Great. There are others like you who are releasing the name of a sexual assault victim. Well, maybe the correct name. What if you’re wrong?

            Forgive me if I don’t give two turds about your investigation. If you could call Googling or reading a Men’s Rights blogs an investigation.

            Again, don’t believe you. Again, no evidence.

          • George Burgess

            My intelligence has nothing to do with your inability to provide a link, an article, or anything that backs up your claims. Not only that, you are using these baseless claims to attack the victim. That kind of behavior is shameless and pathetic. No wonder you defend someone who was found guilty of sexual assault.

          • Joe Citizen

            You seem so earnest = but you don’t understand, this is all a show put on to influence public opinion, likely Rosen set Persky up with the victim first saying she was OK with no jail time – MAYBE, by revealing her name, we will get to the truth of that and other questions.

          • George Burgess

            Again, do you have evidence to this claim?

          • George Burgess

            The truth of what? Turner was caught in the act of sexually assaulting a woman. He had her DNA on his hands. There was not only one, but two witnesses who saw him in the act. What are you going to claim next? That the two Swedish students were lying?

      • Joe Citizen

        Trust me, I know. Unlike Professor Dauber I am not going to give out home addresses on social media just because I can. Dauber trashed people whose only sin was asking the judge to be lenient on Turner, childhood friends, and ex girlfriend – I don’t want to do that – but it’s all gone too far now, too much BS by the people who are using her for their political ends.

        • George Burgess

          Again, can you provide evidence for your claims? Any links?

          Because you ‘know’ is not evidence. And no, I don’t trust an individual who makes excuses for sexual assaults.

  • capitolweekly

    From the editor: A series of comments related to the identity of the victim have been deleted.

    • George Burgess

      Thank you.

      • Joe Citizen

        You get into feminist heaven George, congratulations. I don’t see this crying need for censorship – we don’t know, because the media would not tell anyone this woman’s name, if she was a binge drinker generally or not – which I think is important – more than that, no such consideration is given to any other crime victim.

        • George Burgess

          You want her name because you want a reason to blame the victim.

          Stay classy.

          • Joe Citizen

            I HAVE her name George – I have her home address – I have her sister and father and mother’s names and background -these people are supposed to be friends with Michele Dauber, and almost certainly she has been taking directions from Dauber – the mere fact the family are friends – though this friendship may be greatly exaggerated by Dauber – but the fact they dont’ cut Dauber out of their lives, publicly, but rather let her use her as a poster child – THAT is reason enough to out them. Why do you feel so strongly your view of things, with the very limited knowledge you have, and very limited experience you have, is more valid than mine?

            Professor Dauber is a crusader – who has been on a very long crusade against men’s rights – there is a lot of information to indicate this online – she basically wants any man accused of sexual misconduct to be destroyed – “Everywoman” is being used as one of the main tools to this end – I am protecting the Constituion – the Bill of Rights – seriously, I know your world view is too narrow and you are too ignorant and blind to get that – but I know it’s true.

            Emily Doe, Everywoman- whatever – her right to be anonymous is simply far LESS important than due process for my sex – far, far less.

          • George Burgess

            She’s anonymous and should remain so to protect her from harrassment from idiots like you. From idiots that want to smear her. That want to to make any excuse for sexual assault.

            Why do you want to protect a person who not only was caught in the act, but also found guilty? Why is that?

  • Antel Lopez

    All these privileged white male claims ignore the sentencing of Baylor sexual assault student Ukwuachu which seemed even more brutal, no alcohol involved to toxic levels — black perp and victim. 6 months and 10 years probation. Where is the outrage against this judge? Or does it only matter if white perps and white woman victims are involved. This happened just a few months ago, Feb 2016.

    • Randall Cummins

      If anything, the outrage should be against the jury not the Judge. From the reports: “Judge Matt Johnson sentenced Ukwuachu
      to 10 years’ probation and jailed him for 180 days as a term and
      condition of his probation. It was the maximum sentence allowed, given
      the jury’s recommendation.”

  • Joe Citizen

    The facts of this case are not well known I think – this woman, 22 at the time, went to a Frat party, got very drunk, left with Turner, 19 – he says to go to his dorm and presumably have some kind of sexual encounter – that is by far the most plausible reason to leave the party with him.

    He says she consented, through actions, to him masturbating her – and there was no rape – not just as defined by California law – but also in the normal sense of the word – and it does not really look like he was going to rape her – he was rubbing against her, but with his pants still on.

    She passed out, probably, at some point. Then someone came along, and he ran away = I do not think the judge saw these circumstances as deserving of a harsh sentence – the victim made this statement about there being no chance she’d consent to anything like some kind of sex with a stranger near a dumpster – but she was really drunk – we have no idea what she consents to when drunk, partly because, with the media protecting her anonymity, we don’t know her history and no one can ask her about it.

    The victim’s family, happened to know this radical feminist professor from Stanford, Michele Dauber, who then used the victim as a poster child for her agenda, basically talking this into something worse than it was – and, as the victim did, completely denying the victim had any responsibility for what happened.

    • George Burgess

      Yep, someone just came along and he ran away. Really? You’re just going to brush off the eyewitness statements like they have no substance? You’re pathetic.

      Why don’t you read their testimony or later interviews. One thought she was dead when he came to her side. You probably won’t.

      Why would you? If you did, maybe you would stop trying to defend a person caught in the act of sexual assault.

      • Joe Citizen

        I told you, I researched the case, you are one of the sheep who believes what he’s told – yes, it made the Swede cry – even “Emily Doe” made a point of mocking Tuner for saying he was scared of some Swedes – well, Sweden won’t exist much longer, precisely because the man are far too weak – because they all cried too much over every imagined injustice – and, though I like those people as individuals – what can you say to them except, why were you such fools?

        • George Burgess

          Fools? Oh, that’s rich. Only a fool would call men who stopped a sexual assault weak. Only a fool would defend the man who committed the sexual assault. A man would not take advantage of an unconscious woman. You’re pathetic.

        • George Burgess

          A true man would’ve taken her home. Protected her. Not take advantage of her in an ally. Only a misguided fool would do such a thing.

        • George Burgess

          ‘I researched the case..’

          You did? For some reason I would not trust your analysis of case. He said she consented, her sister said she rejected his advances. You, for some reason, believe him. Even though he was caught in the act. Why is that?

          • Joe Citizen

            George, remember I told you your only value to me was helping me understand the sheeple?

          • George Burgess

            Oh, really. Like how I trust your ‘research,’ your opinion of me matters very little. Well, not at all. How could it? You defend someone that committed sexual assault while call the men who caught him in the act weak.

            I’m sheeple? That’s cute, but hasn’t that word grown old? Plus, I’m not the one who is willing to ignore testimony and physical evidence to defend him, like you are.

            So, taken the sum of all of this, why would your opinion of me matter? You can guess what I think of you.

    • Cheesecake55

      The facts of the case are well known by the jury that unanimously convicted him.

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