Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown ‘cruising along’ in new poll

Gov. Jerry Brown has a higher Field Poll sixth-year favorability rating than most of his predecessors, including his own first governorship.
Gov. Jerry Brown has a higher Field Poll sixth-year favorability rating than most of his predecessors, including his own first governorship. mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

Gov. Jerry Brown’s public approval rating is nowhere near as high as it was when he first took office in 1975, but California voters continue to approve of the job he is doing by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, according to a new poll.

The Field Poll, released Wednesday, comes as Brown approaches the second half of his final term.

His 56 percent approval rating is in line with nine other Field Polls taken since December 2013 and is more favorable than most of his predecessors received at comparable points in their tenures.

Thirty percent of registered voters disapprove of the job Brown is doing, according to the poll, and 14 percent have no opinion.

“He’s cruising along,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll.

Brown, governor before from 1975 to 1983, posted approval ratings in the high 60s in 1975 and 1976. But by the sixth year of his first administration, his approval rating has fallen to 46 percent. Former Republican Govs. Ronald Reagan, Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger all held public approval ratings in the 40s in their sixth years in office.

Compared with Brown’s rating at this point in his second administration, only former Gov. George Deukmejian, a Republican, posted a higher public approval rating, 66 percent.

 

Brown’s positive approval rating likely reflects the state’s improving economy and its Democratic-leaning electorate.

But Brown, a relatively moderate Democrat, is also rated favorably by one-third of Republican voters and a majority of independent voters.

“Brown is kind of seen as a fairly good counterpoint to what most would perceive as the more liberal Democratic Legislature,” DiCamillo said, “and I think that’s probably one of the reasons why Brown’s job ratings are not as partisan.”

He said California voters “kind of view him as a more moderating influence to the Democratic Legislature. And at the same time, he hasn’t turned off the Democrats.”

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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