SJ State posts polls on term limits and primary

Two new polls by the Survey and Policy Research Institute at San Jose State University offer insight into the state of voters’ minds on the presidential primary, term limits, residency for illegal immigrants and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s job performance.

A poll on the presidential primary candidates finds Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani leading in their respective party primary contests.

A second poll shows that a majority of voters favor a measure headed for the February ballot that would alter state legislative term limits. It is more popular among Republicans and Independents than among Democrats.

“The partisan and ideological breakdowns suggest that the ballot language, written by Secretary of State Jerry Brown, emphasizing the overall reduction in years a legislator may serve,” said survey director Melinda Jackson, a political science professor at San Jose State University, “is persuasive to voters who otherwise would be likely to oppose the measure because it also increases the amount of time a legislator may spend in either house.”

The California Term Limits Defense Fund, which opposes the measure through U.S. Term Limits, quickly seized upon the results to say it “confirms both the deception at the heart of the efforts by (Senate President Pro Tem) Don Perata and (Assembly Speaker) Fabian Nunez to fool the voters into weakening term limits and the fundamental flaw of their initiative.”

UPDATE: The proponents of the term limit measure sent out a statement in response to U.S. Term Limits:

“The San Jose State poll is the 4th independent, statewide poll that shows this initiative passing with a clear majority,” said Gale Kaufman, chief strategist for the measure. “This confirms what our own polling indicates and shows a clear and continuous pattern of support for this initiative. With every poll that shows us well ahead, the opposition finds itself grasping at straws to explain to their out-of-state paymasters why the voters of California support our initiative.”

In other issues, a majority of Californians support the formation of a legal path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. They also give Schwarzenegger high marks, with 61 percent of California voters saying they approve of his job performance.

For the full poll data, margin of error and methodology, click on the links above to each poll.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen