Governor, Legislature’s Popularity Numbers Sink to Historic New Lows

Californians are taking an increasingly dim view of the governor and
members of state legislature, according to a new Field Poll released on
Friday.

The poll shows that nearly three out of four survey
respondents — some 74 percent — say they do not approve of the job
that members of the California Legislature are doing — likely a
reflection of their deep dissatisfaction surrounding the state’s
mangled and heavily politicized budget process.

“This is the poorest rating of the state legislature ever recorded by The Field Poll in
trend measures dating back to the early 1980s,” survey heads Mervin
Field and Mark DiCamillo said in a statement about the dismal numbers.

The
current poll finds that voters’ job appraisals of the governor and
state legislature are related to their voting preferences in the
upcoming May 19 special election. The measures appearing on the ballot,
Props. 1A-1F, were hatched by Republican lawmakers last February as
part of a last-minute deal with state Democratic leaders to secure
their votes so that an actual state spending plan could finally be
passed.

A Field Poll released last week found that more likely voters were intending to vote
will vote “no” rather than “yes” on each of the first five ballot
measures that are featured in the election. Those measures have been
nearly universally supported by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and many
legislative leaders.

The
poll also revealed that a record number of Californians are not happy
with the performance of their celebrity chief executive.

The
current survey finds just 33 percent of registered voters approve of
the job Schwarzenegger is doing, while 55 percent disapprove — numbers
that also represent new lows amongst the 23 Field Poll voter surveys of
Schwarzenegger since he took office in 2003.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said the governor “gets” that Californians are upset with the status quo.

“(He) understands that
people are frustrated with the dysfunction in Sacramento, which is
exactly why he is pushing so hard for the ballot measures so California
can get back to financial stability,” McLear said.

Field
and DiCamillo said that voters’ low approval ratings of the governor
are shared almost evenly among Democrats, Republicans and
non-partisans, with 52 – 57 percent majorities, respectively,
disapproving of his performance.

Interestingly,
the pollsters found that Schwarzenegger’s approval rating is highest
(45 percent) among voters in the nine-county Democratically-dominated
San Francisco Bay Area, while his lowest ratings, 67 percent, were
found in the generally more moderate Los Angeles County area.

Field and DiCamillo said the poll surveyed 901 registered voters was
taken April 16-26 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4
percent.

Follow Jeff Mitchell’s political journalism at BAPolitix.org