The California Legislature’s approval rating among registered state voters has climbed to 50 percent, up from as low as 10 percent in September 2010.
The response to a new statewide Field/IGS Poll marks a rare moment for Sacramento lawmakers. According to annual data from the pollster, a greater percentage of Californians have disapproved, rather than approved, of the job the Legislature is doing since 2003.
Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, said voters’ views of the Legislature are largely tied to the economy. When the state faces a deficit or budget cuts, lawmakers are often forced to make difficult decisions such as raising taxes or cutting programs, which may be unpopular with voters, DiCamillo said.
“Generally speaking, the Legislature gets rated negatively because the public doesn’t like the choices they are left with,” DiCamillo said. “When you have a surplus, the choices are much better.”
With gridlock in Congress and a highly contentious presidential election playing out, the poll also found that Californians aren’t jazzed about the direction of the country. About 62 percent of state voters believe the U.S. is “seriously off on the wrong track.”
Voters expressed a more mixed take on their home state.
About 51 percent believe things are on the right track in California. Roughly 49 percent said it’s all gone to the dogs, a 10 percent jump in negative views from the last poll in July.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval rating rose to 60 percent in September, up from 56 percent in July. Brown’s disapproval rating also grew, from 30 to 40 percent in the same period.