The two Republicans most likely to challenge Barbara Boxer in her bid for a fourth Senate term received lukewarm support in the most recent Field Poll of Republican voters. State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) is favored by 20%, while businesswoman Carly Fiorina, who has not yet formally announced her candidacy, is at 21%. Nearly 60% of respondents were undecided. In matchups against the Republicans, Boxer holds leads of 17 points over DeVore and 14 points over Fiorina.
Key state lawmakers have finally hammered out a state budget, 81 days after the start of the fiscal year — perhaps bringing an end to the longest budget stalemate in California history, after a veto threat from the governor held things up for three days. (The previous record for the length of time it took to pass a budget was in 2002, when a budget was not passed until August 31.)
Part of the impetus for the sudden movement on the budget after weeks of no movement may have been a recent Field Poll that showed state legislators with the lowest approval ratings ever recorded in the poll — 15% of registered voters approve of the job state legislators are doing, while 73% disapprove. (The previous record, 23%, was set in July 1992, in the midst of another serious state budget crisis.)
While Governor Schwarzenegger’s approval ratings have now declined to nearly the lowest level of his time in office, he may take some solace from the fact that there appears to be little public appetite for a recently-launched effort by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association to recall him. Schwarzenegger’s approval ratings are now at 38%, according to a new Field Poll, which is just two points higher than his previous low point, in August 2005 (when he had 36% approval). However, when news of recall efforts against Gray Davis first surfaced in April 2003, his approval ratings were at 24%. According to the new poll, 63% of registered voters statewide say that they would vote against any effort to recall Schwarzenegger were it to appear on the ballot. 46% of registered voters in April 2003 said that they would vote to recall Gray Davis.
A recent Public Policy Institute of California survey notes a 10% increase (51-45%) in support of offshore drilling since July 2007. An overwhelming majority of Californians also continue to support efforts on the part of state policymakers to broadly target global warming, including reducing auto emissions and greenhouse gas emissions, and including implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. However, a majority of Republicans polled (57%) believe that implementation should wait until the budget situation is resolved or until the state’s economic condition improves.
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.
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 survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life is out, and it contains some fascinating polling about Californians and their positions on religious questions and on the place of religion in private and public life. Some of the results:
- 62% of Californians say that their belief in God or a higher power is absolutely certain (compared with 71% nationally); 22% say that their belief is fairly certain.
- 48% of Californians say that religion is a very important part of their lives (56% nationally). 28% say that it is somewhat important.
- 24% of Californians believe that scripture is the Word of God and is literally true (33% nationally).
- 24% of Californians believe that there is only one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion (27% nationally).
- 23% of Californians believe that their religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life (24% nationally); 67% believe that many religions can lead to eternal life (70% nationally).
The main survey results page (along with resources and maps) is here. Polling questions and data are here.
A recent Field Poll shows that most Californian registered voters prefer that the state budget deficit be solved with spending cuts rather than tax increases. 63% prefer spending cuts; 26% prefer tax increases. But the poll points out that no matter how voters feel about tax increases, 81% feel that taxes will eventually have to be increased to deal with the budget deficit.
Another new Field Poll shows that the chances look slim that Proposition 98, the more prominent of two ballot measures tackling eminent domain issues, will be passed in next week’s primary election. (In addition to reforming eminent domain, Proposition 98 would eradicate existing local rent control laws across the state.) Likely voters in the primary oppose Proposition 98 by a margin of 43-33% and support the competing initiative, Proposition 99, by a margin of 48-30%. The summary of the poll results points out that the last initiative to feature eminent domain reform, Proposition 90, was defeated by a 52-48% margin in November 2006.