Thursday, April 28, 2005

Arnold drops in the polls

Schwarzenegger's rating drops sharply

Since January, his popularity has plunged 20 points.

By Gary Delsohn -- Bee Capitol Bureau
Published 2:15 am PDT Thursday, April 28, 2005

Just as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares to sell a reduced "reform" agenda to voters, a newly released statewide poll shows the Republican governor's popularity has plummeted.

The poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that only 40 percent of adults now approve of the way Schwarzenegger is handling his job as governor, a whopping 20 percentage point drop since January.

Among "likely voters," his approval rating was a higher 45 percent, but that fell from 63 percent at the start of the year.

Schwarzenegger aides dismissed the results as little more than a temporary slide after months of attacks from public employee labor unions and other critics of his policies.

But while Republican voters are still solidly behind Schwarzenegger, pollster Mark Baldassare said the numbers make it clear Democrats and independent voters don't like him as much as they once did.

"Since January, the governor has been less able to communicate effectively with the people, particularly outside of his party, that he's representing their interests," Baldassare said. "People on the other side have been more effective in communicating that he's not.

"Whether it's a temporary drop or a trend, it's too early to say. I think the next few months are going to be crucial."

The poll was released at a pivotal point for the governor, who must decide soon whether to submit signatures to put initiatives that many Democrats oppose on a statewide ballot.
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