As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

PPIC Poll: The Special Election Is Going Down

I think the state legislature and the Governor might want to try the tactic of opposing the May 19 ballot initiatives, because apparently, anything they support, the public does the opposite.

When read the full text of the ballot measures, likely voters express these preferences:

Proposition 1A: About four in 10 support the measure (39% yes, 46% no, 15% undecided) to change the
budget process by increasing the state “rainy day” fund. Less than half say the measure would be very (7%)
or somewhat (38%) effective in helping California avoid future state budget deficits.

Proposition 1B: They are divided (44% yes, 41% no, 15% undecided) on the initiative that would require future
supplemental payments to local school districts and community colleges to address recent budget cuts.

Proposition 1C: Half oppose (37% yes, 50% no, 11% undecided) the measure to modernize the lottery and
allow for $5 billion in borrowing from future lottery profits to help balance next year’s state budget.

Proposition 1D: Nearly half support (48% yes, 36% no, 16% undecided) the proposition to temporarily transfer
funds from early childhood education to help balance the state budget.

Proposition 1E: Nearly half favor (47% yes, 37% no, 16% undecided) the measure to transfer money from
mental health services to the general fund to help balance the state budget.

Proposition 1F: An overwhelming majority (81% yes, 13% no, 6% undecided) support the initiative that would
block pay increases to state elected officials in years of budget deficit.

Keep in mind that the first poll, taken about a month ago, showed all six measures passing by a fairly decent margin. And there has been no coordinated opposition. So what changed? I'd gather the confidence in the legislature and the Governor has completely collapsed:

Eight weeks before the special election—called as part of the 2009–2010 budget agreement between the governor and legislature—those Californians most likely to go to the polls are feeling grim about the state of their state: The vast majority (77%) say it is headed in the wrong direction and see its fiscal situation as a big problem (85%). They give record low ratings to the legislature (11%) and to their own legislators (29%). Their approval rating for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (33%) has dropped to a new low among likely voters. For the first time, a majority of Republican likely voters (54%) disapprove of the job performance of the Republican governor.

The results are striking when compared to rising approval ratings for Congress and California’s senators and to
a strongly positive view of President Obama—despite a challenging economic climate.

“Californians are clear that the budget situation is serious, but most disapprove of the leadership in
Sacramento—the people who are providing the solutions,” says Mark Baldassare, PPIC president, CEO, and
survey director. “These leaders have their work cut out for them if they want to persuade voters that the ballot
measures are necessary to address the problem.”

If you want to know why the Governor had to explain that he's not running for future office, that would be because nobody likes him. And the legislature, obviously, is even worse - the 29% rating for people's local legislator is absurdly low and quite dangerous. In a normal world, that would spell lots of primary challenges.

Let me stress that this election is not over - the opposition still isn't well-funded, and the CTA just put $2 million into Prop. 1B. The Governor has already started funding the other measures. With an unbalanced funding war, these measures could bounce back. But the rule of thumb is that measures in this position right now lose. I see 1A in particular in the situation of the mountain climber from The Price Is Right, with just a little opposition sufficient to send him over the cliff.

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