Schwarzenegger's approval at all-time low

December 17, 2009 7:40:11 PM PST
Potholes are a very visible symptom of the systemic problems that California is facing; problems that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is facing on the job and in the polls. His approval numbers have plummeted.

You don't have to look farther than the unemployment office to find Californians pointing at Schwarzenegger for their jobless misery during this economic recession.

They say deep cutbacks in government spending aren't helping either.

"How are you going to help the economy if you're not helping it grow? You're just helping prolong it. His method is really not working," said job seeker Earnest Thomas.

A new Public Policy Institute of California poll shows the governor's approval rating is at his career low, right about where his predecessor Governor Gray Davis was when he was kicked out of office.

Schwarzenegger is one point above Davis at 27 percent.

When the recession began two years ago, Schwarzenegger was at 57 percent and a few months after taking office, the governor was at 65 percent when people liked his celebrity status as a former movie star and political outsider.

"When people are unhappy with the economy, they blame public officials, including governors who are projections of the entire state government, fairly or unfairly," said Tim Hodson from the Center of California Studies. "The downside of celebrity, the capacity of love turning to hatred came into effect."

The governor agrees, saying, "It's clear the worldwide economic crash has affected all elected officials' poll numbers, even the president's."

That is why you will find most Californians ignoring the 2010 governors race. They have their own troubles and a replacement in Sacramento will not solve everything.

"It's everybody's fault. Everybody that makes decisions from the president on down," said Melvyn Burton who is unemployed.

Some pollsters expect the governor's numbers to drop even lower. The state's new $21 billion deficit means more unpopular budget cuts are on the way.

Hodson advises Schwarzenegger not to worry about his poll numbers in his last year in office, but to concentrate on balancing the budget.


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