It’s a really bad time to be an incumbent.
For the first time in the history of the Public Policy Institute of California’s survey history, the state legislature’s approval ratings among likely voters have dropped to a single digit — 9 percent.
“Pessimism about the economy, disdain for the major parties and low approval ratings for elected officials are creating an unusual amount of political turbulence this election year,” said PPIC president and pollster Mark Baldassare. “The candidates cannot take any voters for granted — regardless of their party identification and past loyalties — because Californians want answers to problems that won’t go away.”
In other poll findings:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s record low approval rating of 25 percent hovers near former Gov. Gray Davis’ lowest level before the recall of 21 percent.
Congress’ approval rating is 14 percent, a 15-point drop in three months.
When asked to rate their own members of Congress, the numbers rise to 44 percent favorable but that is a new low, too.
When it comes to the political parties, 41 percent have a favorable impression of Democrats while 31 percent gave passing marks to Republicans, while 55 percent say the county needs a new third party.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman holds a 50-point lead over primary opponent Steve Whitman. In a potential November match-up with Democrat Jerry Brown, Whitman leads Brown 41 percent to 36 percent.
In the U.S. Senate race, Carly Fiorina and Tom Campbell are battling for top spot, each is deadlocked with Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer.
A slim majority of those surveyed support Proposition 14, which would end the partisan-based primary process in California.
Half of those responded, for the first time, support same-sex marriage.
Half also support health care reform although the partisan split is strong — 70 percent of Democrats like it, 76 percent of Republicans are opposed.
On immigration, 70 percent say illegal immigrants who have been living and working in the United States for at least years should be allowed to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status.