Another new Field Poll shows attitudes of registered voters about Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger continuing to show a decline trend, with the governor now at 46% disapproval and 40% approval, the lowest rating that he has had since April 2006. The governor’s only consolation may be that voter attitudes about the Legislature are even worse, with 57% disapproval and 27% approval (the worst rating since October 2005). 68% of registered voters now say that they consider the state’s budget situation to be “very serious,” but 41% and 52% of registered voters also express “not much” optimism about the ability of the governor and the Legislature respectively to resolve the situation (up from 29% and 40% in December 2007).
Voter awareness thus far about several of the November ballot measures is limited, according to a new Field Poll, but when likely voters are told about the initiatives, they tend to favor them. The poll asked voters about five of the ballot measures (Proposition 1, the high speed rail bond; Proposition 2, the farm animal cruelty prevention measure; Proposition 4, the abortion parental notification measure; Proposition 7, the renewable energy standards measure; and Proposition 11, the redistricting measure). The ballot measures generally registered voter awareness in the 15% to 25% range, with the abortion measure having the highest level of awareness at 45%. When given a summary of the measures, voters generally had positive reactions, with support ranging from 41% for the redistricting measure to 63% for the farm animal and renewable energy measures.
A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California re-emphasizes the point (made in previous PPIC reports, as well as reports from the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force) that the systems that currently hold the Delta ecosystem together are “unstable and headed for major change.” The report makes several recommendations to improve the Delta, including building a peripheral canal, a proposal that is sure to be controversial, given the 63-37% defeat of a ballot measure in June 1982 that proposed a similar solution. (PPIC has an interactive map that displays county voting patterns on Proposition 9, showing the significant disparity between voting patterns in most of the counties of southern California, together with Kern County, and the rest of the state.)
Proposition 8, which qualified for the November ballot on June 2, would amend the state constitution to read that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
According to a new Field Poll, if the election were held today, a slight majority of voters would reject this ballot measure (by a 51% to 42% margin). Geographic and partisan differences are significant. In the coastal regions of the state, voters oppose Proposition 8 by a margin of 56% to 37%, while in the inland regions, supporters outnumber opponents by 54% to 40%. 63% of Democrats polled say that they intend to vote against the amendment. 68% of Republicans say that they intend to vote for it. There are also significant differences in opinion depending on ethnicity (Hispanics tend slightly to favor the amendment and other ethnic groups tend slightly to oppose it), religion (Protestants favor the amendment by 56% to 40%, while Catholics are evenly divided), and whether the voter knows someone who is gay or lesbian (those who do oppose the amendment 54% to 40%).
The poll also indicates that voter awareness about Proposition 8 is already fairly high, with 62% saying that they had seen or heard something about it.
A new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report details Californian’s internet usage, concluding that up to 55% of Californians go online to read current events or news information, up to 52% go online to shop, and up to 50% look for health information. The percent of Californians who say they use the internet has gone up to 70% from 65% in 2000. 63% of Californians say that they have internet access at home.
However, there is a widening digital divide, according to the report. Fewer than half of Latinos report that they have a computer at home (although there are other data that suggest that many Latinos achieve online access in other ways, including via cell phone). Residents in the Los Angeles region and the Central Valley (62%) are significantly less likely (55%) to have internet access at home than Bay Area residents (71%). The biggest disparity, though, may be economic: those with incomes of less than $40,000 are far less likely (40%) to have an internet connection at home than those with incomes of $80,000 or above (90%).