— Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez
The $55 million special election called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is 11 weeks away, and, so far, Californians are not enthused, according to a Public Policy Institute survey released today.
The governor’s overall approval level is at 41 percent, holding steady from last month. Among likely voters, however, on 38 percent of registered voters and just 34 percent of California adults did not believe Arnold to be a “fantastic” governor, as he might say.
Three of the seven propositions were placed on the ballot by the governor, and none of them is supported by half the state’s voters:
- Proposition 74 – Teacher Tenure: This bizarre attempt to micromanage the time required for public school teachers to gain tenure is strangely the only one among Schwarzenegger’s three that has even a minimum of support — 49 percent favor, 42 percent oppose and 9 percent undecided.
- Proposition 76 – Budget Cap: The governor’s signature “Live within Our Means” reform measure that would place yet another arbitrary cap on state spending is losing big time — 28 percent favor, 61 percent oppose and 11 percent are undecided.
- Proposition 77 – Redistricting: This proposal is Schwarzenegger’s attempt to become a player in national Republican politics by delivering the entire 50-plus member California delegation to the GOP, and everybody knows it – 34 percent favor, 59 percent oppose and 17 percent are undecided.
Democratic leaders in the Legislature were swift to react to the poll numbers, saying that Schwarzenegger, a multimillionaire bodybuilder and actor, is out of touch with regular folks:
Democrats … noted the poll showed likely voters in every age, income, education, racial and ethnic group oppose the concept of the special election, and would prefer to decide the measures during the regular election next June.
“I don’t understand why the governor’s people don’t understand what the poll says and what everybody going back to their district understands — that people are angry,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland. “They were expecting problems to be solved, and instead we’re having some mindless election that most people don’t want, have no clear understanding of, and I don’t think will end up resolving a thing.”
Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez said “we’re headed toward a November election that is going to cost $55 million of taxpayer money, and we’re not going to solve one single problem that the state is confronting today. Hello? Of course, we’re headed in the wrong direction.”
But to the Schwarzenegger camp, the poll numbers – like everything in politics and life in general – were just fantastic!
Schwarzenegger’s camp dismissed the critiques and the poll, saying that the governor is ready and determined to get out his message in the coming weeks.
“I don’t put any stock in any of this,” said Todd Harris, a campaign spokesman for Schwarzenegger, regarding the policy institute’s poll. “Right now, the public is only hearing one voice on TV, which is the voice of the special interests who are opposed to the governor’s reforms.”