Poll: California voters approve of Jerry Brown, not the Legislature
A new poll suggests California voters approve of the job that Gov. Jerry Brown is doing by a 2-to-1 margin – albeit with many undecided. Their view of the Legislature is poor.
With California Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative Republicans locked in a battle of wills over the budget, a new poll suggests that California voters are much happier with the job Governor Brown is doing than they are with the Legislature.Skip to next paragraph
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Brown’s job performance is winning the approval of California voters by a more than 2-to-1 margin – 48 to 21 percent, with 31 percent of respondents having no opinion. At the same time, state legislators continue to receive abysmal marks, with 16 percent of respondents holding a favorable opinion and 70 percent disapproving.
While some experts note that Brown's approval rating is below 50 percent, others say the poll comes at an opportune time for Brown. Two influential chambers of commerce have backed Brown's bid to hold a special election this summer on extending certain tax rates – a move that Republicans are blocking. Moreover, a new election law in California could help blunt any backlash against Republicans who defect to Brown's side.
In that light, the poll could increase pressure on Republicans in the legislature – something Brown is already trying to exploit.
“It could help him at least get the ear of some of these legislators,” says Sherry Jeffe, a political scientist at the School of Policy, Planning, and Development at the University of Southern California. “It shows voters might be more likely to listen to Brown than them.”
Special election is crucial
The tax-rate extension is crucial to Brown’s fiscal year 2012 budget, because the revenues it generates would cover half of the $26.4 billion shortfall. The other half is to be made up of program cuts.
Time is running out for the special election. Brown wants to hold it in June, in part because the current tax rates expire at the end of the month – meaning "tax extensions" would then become "tax increases." A previous Field Poll showed much stronger resistance by voters to “tax increases.”
Bolstered by the findings of Tuesday's poll, Brown launched a YouTube video today, speaking directly to voters to lean on legislators. “Let your legislators know if you would like to have this vote or be shut out,” he says, leaning forward from his oak desk with California flag furled behind.
He reiterated concerns from his campaign, inaugural address, and his State of the State speech: His aim is to set the state on solid fiscal ground "without smoke and mirrors" or "gimmicks."