Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Barack Obama’s approval surges in California

President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address on Jan. 20, 2015, in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address on Jan. 20, 2015, in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol. TNS

President Barack Obama’s approval rating is surging in California, reaching its highest point in two years.

In a new Field Poll, 57 percent of California voters said they approved of Obama’s job performance, compared to 36 percent who disapproved. This is the most positive assessment Californians have given Obama since February 2013, shortly after his second inauguration, when 62 percent of voters said they approved of his job performance.

Obama may be buoyed by optimism over the economic recovery: 57 percent of poll respondents supported how Obama is handling the economy, up from 48 percent last April, and 41 percent believe the U.S. is moving in the right direction, up from 36 percent in December. (Forty-three percent of Californians still believe the country is on the wrong track, however.)

But foreign policy remains a major weak spot for Obama. Only 44 percent of California voters believe he is handling that well, and an equal number disapprove, his worst appraisal ever.

You can find more in our story from today’s paper, including links to the statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert, and the publicly released results of the poll.

VIDEO: Assembly Democrats and Republicans have come together in rare bipartisan action over the University of California’s budget, Dan Walters says.

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM: Voter turnout in the November election sank to a record-low 42 percent in California, and it bottomed out at an anemic 31 percent in Los Angeles County. The Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments and Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting will return to the scene of the electoral disaster for a joint oversight hearing on causes of and potential solutions to low voter turnout, 10 a.m. at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Among those scheduled to testify are Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, data guru Paul Mitchell and Jessica Levinson, a political ethics expert at Loyola Law School.

ROCK ‘N’ ENROLL: Public Policy Institute of California researcher Laurel Beck discusses how the Affordable Care Act can be used as a gateway to enroll more low-income children in other health and nutrition safety-net programs, noon at the Capitol Event Center on 11th Street.

HEALD YOUR PAIN: After halting payments for Heald College students last week because of questions over the school’s financial health, the California Student Aid Commission will reconsider Heald’s eligibility for the Cal Grant scholarship program, 8:45 a.m. at the commission headquarters in Rancho Cordova.

TAKE ME HOME: Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins will serve as one of today’s keynote speakers at the 2015 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness, 1 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina in San Diego. Atkins has often mentioned ending homelessness, especially for veterans, as her personal policy priority.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, D-Encino, who turns 34 today.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.