Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Californians increasingly dissatisfied with their own congress member

As voters across the country have for years, Californians harbor an overwhelmingly negative view of Congress. But a new Field Poll reveals that voters have also begun to sour on their own House representatives, who were largely buttressed against Congress’ dismal approval ratings until now.

Three-quarters of California voters disapprove of Congress’ job performance, compared to only 13 percent who approve, according to the latest poll, a low mark that has stayed fairly consistent since early 2010.

However, voters’ opinions of their own representative have dropped dramatically this year, to 36 percent approval and 40 percent disapproval. That’s a sharp 15-point swing from April, when 44 percent of voters approved of their representative and 33 percent disapproved.

Sinking popularity could spell trouble for several California Democrats who are facing tough re-election battles this fall. Christopher Cadelago has more on those races in today’s paper.

Here are the statistical tabulations prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert, as well as the publicly released results from the poll.

VIDEO: While plenty of California legislators face questions over their residency, they are unlikely to be prosecuted like Sen. Rod Wright, Dan Walters says.

PICK YOUR PONY: Plans are now set for a debate between Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, and Republican challenger Doug Ose on Oct. 8. Find out more at We’re asking readers to help us develop the questions that the candidates will be asked. To submit a question, email

LET MY WATER GO: California may soon implement historic groundwater regulations, becoming the last state in the West to oversee pumping from the water table. Spurred on by concerns over California’s severe drought, the legislation nevertheless received tremendous pushback from Central Valley lawmakers and farmers who argued it would create additional unnecessary bureaucracy and unlawfully prevent land owners from using resources on their own property. With only Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature left for the bills to become law, Republican state Sens. Anthony Cannella of Ceres and Andy Vidak of Hanford and Assembly members Jim Patterson of Fresno and Kristin Olsen of Riverbank will join with various agricultural groups, 10:30 a.m. at Panoche Creek Ranch in Madera County, to call on Brown to veto the regulations.

RIDE WITH ME: How soon will self-driving cars be ready for the road? It could take years, but California isn’t taking any chances. State agencies have been working since last year to come up with operating rules for driverless vehicles. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones will hold a public hearing to discuss insurance issues for self-driving cars, 10 a.m. at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

GOLD STAR: Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris will present the Medal of Valor, the highest honor California bestows on its public servants, to 14 public safety officials from across the state, 11 a.m. in the Governor’s Office at the Capitol.