2022 sees second-highest level of recall activity since 2012

Welcome to the Wednesday, January 4, Brew. 

By: Samuel Wonacott

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. 2022 has second-highest level of recall activity since Ballotpedia began tracking
  2. California voters approved 69% of local ballot measures
  3. President Joe Biden ends the year with a 43% approval rating, the second-highest rating he received in 2022

2022 has second-highest level of recall activity since Ballotpedia began tracking in 2014

Way back in June of last year, we walked you through our mid-year recall report. Now that 2022 is behind us, let’s take a look at the highlights from our year-end report on last year’s recall efforts.  

Throughout 2022 we tracked 250 recall efforts against 419 officials. This is the second-highest number of recall efforts since we began tracking this statistic in 2012. Only 2021 had more recall activity, with 357 recall efforts against 545 officials. 

  • In 2022, 56 officials (or 13.4% of all officials included in recall efforts) were removed from office via the recall process. Since 2012, an average of 15.5% of all officials targeted by recall efforts have been removed from office. 
  • Michigan had the most officials facing recall efforts for the second time since we began tracking this figure. Michigan saw 125 officials subject to a recall campaign, surpassing California, which had 68 officials subject to recall. California led the nation in recalls five times between 2016 and 2021.
  • City council members faced more recalls than any other type of officeholder in 2022. City council members took the top spot from 2016 until 2021. In 2021, school board members were most likely to face a recall campaign.
  • Since 2020, we’ve tracked recalls related to government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. We identified 34 such campaigns this year, or about 14% of recall efforts. That’s less than 2020 and 2021, when 37% of the recall efforts we tracked were pandemic-related.

Here are a few notable 2022 recall efforts:

  • Recall organizers filed a notice of intent to recall Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de León in October 2022. The petition cited de León’s participation in an October 2021 meeting in which organizers said de León made racist comments about Councilman Mike Bonin’s son. De León apologized for his participation in the meeting but said he would not resign.
  • Organizers initiated an attempt to recall Colorado state Sen. Kevin Priola (D), after he switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic in August 2022. Recall supporters criticized Priola over his support of a gas tax and legislation that would provide safe injection sites for drug users. They did not mention the party switch in the recall petition.
  • An effort to recall three of the seven members of the Salem-Keizer Public Schools school board in Oregon did not qualify for the ballot after organizers did not turn in the required number of signatures by the November 2022 deadline. The effort began after the school board voted 4-3 to approve a resolution prohibiting concealed guns on school property.
  • In February 2022, voters recalled recalling San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education members Gabriela López, Alison Collins, and Faauuga Moliga. Recall supporters had said they were frustrated district schools remained closed for nearly a year in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. They also referenced the time the board spent voting to rename 44 buildings in the district instead of focusing on opening schools.

Click below to read our full report on 2022’s recall efforts.

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California voters approved 69% of local ballot measures

Let’s continue our review of 2022 local politics, this time with an eye toward California’s local ballot measures. 

California voters decided 572 local measures at six different elections. Voters approved 396 (69%) and rejected 176 (31%). Four hundred seventy measures were on the Nov. 8 ballot.

There were 147 fewer local ballot measures than in 2020. That year, 719 local measures were on the ballot. There were 726 in 2018 and 832 in 2016. Overall, the average number of measures during the last three even-year election cycles decreased an average of 25%. 

Fifty-four of California’s 58 counties had local measures on the ballot in 2022. Los Angeles County had the most with 97. Four counties—Glenn, Modoc, Sierra and Tehama—had no measures on the ballot. Marin County had the most with 27.

The 2022 local ballot measures in California covered a range of topics. Of the 572 measures: 

  • 249 were related to taxes
  • 142 were related to bonds and budgets
  • 103 were related to government and elections
  • 40 were related to housing and zoning
  • Eight were related to marijuana
  • three were related to business
  • Three were related to wages
  • There were 24 miscellaneous measures.

Seventy of the 249 tax measures concerned sales taxes. Voters approved 44 and rejected 26. 

Additionally, there were 123 local school bond measures on the ballot making up 21% of all local ballot questions. Eighty-seven were approved and 36 were defeated. This is the lowest number of local school bond measures on the ballot since 2010.

Click below to read the full analysis of California’s 2022 local ballot measures.

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President Joe Biden ends the year with a 43% approval rating, the second-highest rating he received in 2022

Let’s turn from local politics to federal politics, and see where President Joe Biden’s (D) and Congress’ approval ratings stood at the end of 2022. 

  • Biden: Approval polling averages showed Biden at 43% approval. Fifty-three percent of voters disapproved of his performance. Biden’s highest approval rating in 2022 was 44% on Nov. 2, and the lowest was 38% on July 27. This is also the lowest approval rating of Biden’s presidency. Biden’s highest approval rating was 55% on May 26, 2021.
  • Congress: Congress had a 28% approval and 62% disapproval at the end of December. This was Congress’ highest approval rating of the year. Its lowest rating was 14% on Jan. 26. This was also the lowest approval rating of the 117th Congress. Congress’ highest approval rating during the Biden presidency was 36% on July 16, 2021.

At the end of 2018 during the Trump administration, presidential approval was also  43%, and congressional approval was nine percentage points lower at 19%.

Ballotpedia’s polling index takes the average of polls conducted over the last 30 days to calculate presidential and congressional approval ratings. We average the results and show all polling results side-by-side because we believe that paints a clearer picture of public opinion than any individual poll can provide. The data is updated daily as new polling results are published.

Learn more about our polling indexes at the link below. 

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