Schwarzenegger Slips in Poll

The Governator faces some rather tough times:

Schwarzenegger Approval Ratings Sliding (AP)

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s call for a special election and a new advertising campaign to promote his agenda have failed to arrest his slide in popularity, according to a new statewide poll.

According to the Field Poll released Tuesday, 37 percent of registered California voters approve of Schwarzenegger’s job performance, a drop of 18 percentage points since February.

Continuing a trend that began in January, 53 percent of registered California voters said they do not approve of Schwarzenegger’s performance. That’s a jump of 18 percentage points since February.

The biggest decline came among Democrats and nonpartisan voters, but the poll also found Schwarzenegger’s support among Republican voters has fallen.

These numbers are tempered by the Democratic legislature’s own stumbles: only 24% approve of its performance, a decline of 10 percentage points. Moreover, while pollsters Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field note that Arnold’s popularity is now essentially the same as that of Gray Davis in the year before his demise, this statistic has little meaning. It isn’t uncommon for politicians to struggle. There’d need to be many more serious problems for another recall to occur.

But Republicans should be worried about the following development:

Schwarzenegger’s Job Ratings Hit a New Low… (#2158)

In three separate Field Poll surveys conducted last year, a sizeable plurality of voters said they would be more inclined to support the Governor over leaders in the legislature if the two sides disagreed on an important policy matter. However, in two surveys completed this year, voters have been turning away from their earlier support of the Governor. Currently, 44% say they are now more inclined to support the positions of legislative leaders, compared to 33% who would tend to side with the Governor.

In February, the two sides were basically tied. Last May, Schwarzenegger led 47%-29%. He’s no longer getting the benefit of the doubt, and the Democrats’ natural blue-state advantage is kicking in high gear, so the GOP is quickly returning to the pre-recall wilderness.

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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. carla says:

    I read today that the “Recall Arnold” bumperstickers are already hitting the highways of California.

    We’ll see.

  2. Phil Davis says:

    Opinion polls about legislatures are pretty meaningless. Often people disapprove of a legislature while approving of their own particular legislator. Nobody votes for or against the entire body, just one representative.

    Everybody votes for or against the executive.

  3. Kent says:

    I believe that Ah-nuld was elected because he was widely perceived to be a RINO. He was able to maintain his popularity so long as he pushed things that contributed to his RINO image, such as stem cell research. His present loss of popularity can be attributed to his support for things that are decidedly conservative. In other words, California remains a blue state.

  4. Scott in CA says:

    Since I live here in CA, let me give you a little perspective. Last summer Arnold proposed changing the way the state provides pensions to it’s emplyees. He proposed changing from an annuity pension to a 401K program. The change would have taken place with workers hired AFTER Jan 2007. The unions’ response was to spend $60 million to tail him around the state screaming into bullhorns that he was “taking away” their pensions. It was an outright lie. The public unions here know he is out to break their stranglehold on the bought-and-paid-for Legislature, and they are petrified that he may succeed. So they have been attacking him endlessley for months and months. He has not really fought back. Polls mean nothing at this point. We have a special election coming up in November that will potentially destroy the power of the unions to set policy in this state. Polls today show lukewarm support, but wait until $100 million from the GOP and businesses start flooding the state with the truth about Arnold’s agenda. Special election here tend to bring out an older, whiter, and more affluent electorate, just the kind that Arnold needs. I would caution anyone in thinking Arnold’s done yet. He’s just getting started.