A new Field Poll shows Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s public opinion rating has sunk to a new low – as low as it was for former Gov. Gray Davis shortly before voters recalled the Democrat and voted in the Republican movie star in 2003.
Results released today found Schwarzenegger’s approval rating had dropped to 23 percent from 27 percent in October. It was at a high of 65 percent in late 2004.
The governor’s overall approval rating, which declined to 28 percent even among fellow registered Republicans, is the statistical equivalent of Davis’ 22 percent before he was ousted.
“I find that ironic,” said Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo.
The latest poll found that the approval rating for state legislators, a majority of whom are Democrats, is even lower, scraping bottom at 13 percent, the same as it was in October.
The recession and the state budget crisis continue to weigh on voters’ perception of legislators and the governor, DiCamillo said.
“The governor’s current decline probably has more to do with voter unease about what lies ahead this year,” he said. “Most are expecting further (budget) cuts and/or tax increases, and this is making larger proportions even more critical of his leadership.”
Lucy Cruz, a registered Democrat who took part in the poll, is a state agency office assistant from Roseville. She said she is low-paid to begin with and is reeling from the nearly 14 percent pay cut from the furloughs Schwarzenegger ordered for state workers.
But the 64-year-old is equally angry with Democratic legislators.
Cruz sees waste in government that she wishes legislators would target, and she’s upset that Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, recently gave some of his staff members hefty salary increases.
“It’s another slap in the face,” Cruz said. “How can you justify that with everything that’s going on?”
Aaron McLear, the governor’s spokesman, said, “Republican or Democrat, people have a right to be frustrated.”
“That’s why we’re working so hard to fix what’s broken in Sacramento,” McLear said.
DiCamillo said some Republicans are upset with Schwarzenegger for veering from GOP ideals, including no new taxes.
Christopher Kundert, a registered Republican who was polled, also works at a state agency. He called legislators the “main reason” California has a budget crisis.
But the Lodi resident said he isn’t impressed with the governor either.
“He doesn’t stand up to the Legislature,” he said.
Kundert, 57, said he was less bothered by furloughs than he is by the possibility that his salary might be cut outright – by either Schwarzenegger or a future GOP governor.
He said he might even consider voting for a Democrat for governor, as long as the candidate is “not too out there.”
See Related: FIELD POLL ARCHIVE