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More Back Bird in New Poll but More Oppose Her, Too

August 12, 1986

California Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird has gained a few more supporters since late May, according to the California Poll aired Monday by KCBS-TV, but there has also been a slight increase in the number of those opposed to her reconfirmation in November.

The latest poll showed that 33% of those asked favor Bird, while 57% oppose her and 10% are undecided.

In May, the survey showed that only 28% favored retaining Bird. At that time, 56% were opposed to her and 16% were undecided.

The newest figures, however, were only a little different from those in March, when 34% favored Bird, 55% opposed her and 11% were undecided.

Steven M. Glazer, communications director for the principal pro-Bird campaign organization, the Committee to Conserve the Courts, saw the results as a gain for Bird and noted that 51% of those interviewed believe that Bird makes rulings according to the state Constitution and not because of public pressure.

He contended that the "anti-court crusade is temporarily leading" because the opposition has raised about $5 million and has spent $4.5 million to unseat Bird, while "we've raised about $1.5 million and have about $1.1 million in the bank."

A different view of the new figures was taken by Debbie Goff, assistant campaign manager for Crime Victims for Court Reform, which is seeking Bird's defeat. She said she believes that the numbers show "that Rose Bird is gone . . . that she cannot win reelection. The campaign against her has worked."

Goff said that the continuing presence of a "huge" undecided bloc means that two of Bird's colleagues, Justices Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso, also will be defeated in November once the voters recognize that they stand with the chief justice.

"We're ecstatic over the results," Goff said.

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