California lawmakers next year will begin considering what reparations the state will give to the descendants of enslaved African Americans but a recent poll shows voters are strongly opposed to cash payments.

The latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, co-sponsored by The Los Angeles Times, showed 59% of California voters opposed cash payments, with only 28% supporting the idea.

The suggestion of cash reparations was made by the state’s Reparations Task Force, which was created by Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers in 2020.

“It doesn’t have to be in the frame of writing a check; reparations comes in many different forms. But one cannot deny these historical facts, and I really believe very strongly we have to come to grips with what’s happened,” the Times reported Newsom as saying earlier this spring during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

Berkeley IGS Co-Director Cristina Mora noted that most voters do agree that the legacy of slavery is affecting the position of Black residents today. 

“While many can empathize with the plight of Black Americans, not all of these feelings will translate into support for policies that address longstanding racial harms. And though this might be an information issue for some groups, the fact that even liberals are divided indicates that campaigns for racial redress will face a steep uphill climb,” Mora said. 

Newsom, who has enjoyed broad support among Black voters, could be in a political bind given the results of the poll.

“The idea of cash reparations is really what’s being strongly opposed,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Berkeley IGS poll. “There could be other solutions that could be much more warmly received.”