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Field Poll: voters approve of Governor Brown, disapprove of legislature

by Christopher A. Guzman, published

As California Gov. Jerry Brown seems to be revealing his Independent approach, a Field poll released this week indicates that he's receiving relatively strong support from both partisans and non-partisans. In addition, the poll hints at the possibility that more voters could be receptive toward joining California's burgeoning Independent fold. 

Field shows that by 49% to 32%, the state's non-partisans approve of the way the governor is handling his duties. The sentiment of Californians overall who approve of Governor Brown is exactly aligned with the sentiment of these Independents by the same percentage points.

A somewhat similar pattern can be seen among both voter demographics in their sentiments towards the California legislature, only this time, it's in a largely negative light rather than a positive one. Among non-partisans, approval of the legislature lies at 19%. With voters overall, approval is at 20%. The decline of confidence in the California legislature has plummeted from the average 43% approval rating that its leaders held back in 1983.

No doubt California's legislature has fallen on hard terms with the people that it represents- and it's not just one party or the other that's been the problem with voters. Approval of both parties among non-partisan and overall voters remains very low and relatively identical.  Nearly two out of three California voters continue to believe that their state is moving in the wrong direction. Over the last three years, that belief has fluctuated between 70% and 81%.  At present, a meager 24% of the state's voters believe that California is headed in the right direction.

Perhaps the clearest indication that California's Independent movement is ripe to attract even more voters is that majorities across the partisan divide believe that the state is on the wrong track.  With the governor's relatively strong standing among the state's Independent electorate, perhaps this is his time to put aside any remaining partisan baggage he may have and build on the momentum of catalyzing genuine progress in California. 

The Field Poll survey was conducted September 1-12, 2011 among a random sample of 1,001 voters in California. To cover a broad range of issues and minimize respondent fatigue, some questions were asked of a random subsample of 520 voters. The maximum sampling error estimates for results based on overall registered voters was +/-3.2 percentage points with a 95% confidence level. Findings based on voters included in the random subsample had a maximum sampling error of +/-4.4 percentage points. 

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