Nearly two-thirds of Democrats believe that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) should resign amid her prolonged absence due to her health, according to a new poll released on Wednesday.
The Economist/YouGov poll found that 65 percent of Americans, including 64 percent of Democrats, said Feinstein should resign due to her over a month-long absence. Feinstein, 89, was hospitalized last month with shingles and has since been recovering at home, prompting some Democrats and other officials to call for her to resign.
Seventy-eight percent of Americans who do not have a favorable view of Feinstein said she should resign in the new poll. However, 64 percent who have a favorable opinion of the California senator came to the same conclusion.
Twice as many Americans, 41 percent, believe that old age hurts members of Congress by making their work “more difficult” rather than help them with “wisdom and experience.”
The calls for her to resign have raised concerns of a double standard among male and female lawmakers from critics, as other male lawmakers have also taken leaves of absence due to their health. Sens. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have each taken health related absences, but neither has faced calls to resign from their colleagues.
Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) highlighted the issue last week telling reporters, “It’s interesting to me. I don’t know what political agendas are at work that are going after Sen. Feinstein in that way.”
“I’ve never seen them go after a man who was sick in the Senate in that way,” she said.
After faced with growing calls for her resignation, Feinstein requested a replacement for her seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, as her absence has prevented judicial nominations from moving forward. Republicans denied the request, forcing Democrats to wait out Feinstein’s return to the Senate.
The Economist/YouGov poll was conducted April 15-18 among 1,500 Americans. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.