Poll: Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval rating rises

Gov. Jerry Brown has a higher approval rating than at any time since he took office in 2011, according to a new University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll.

The poll found 55 percent of registered voters approve of the job Brown is doing as governor; that’s up from 49 percent in September 2012 and 50 percent in June of this year. This latest poll shows 33 percent disapprove.

The poll of 1,503 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5 by Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Republican polling firm American Viewpoint; the full sample has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

Unsurprisingly, Democrats like Brown best – 78 percent approval to 11 percent disapproval – but independents like him solidly as well, 68 percent to 22 percent. Republicans disapprove heavily: 68 percent, while only 22 percent approve.

Brown has tremendous support among minority voters – 67 percent to 9 percent among black voters, 65 percent to 17 percent among Asian-American voters, and 61 percent to 20 percent among Latino voters – while the white vote is somewhat more split, 51 percent approval to 41 percent disapproval.

Even so, 49 percent of all voters surveyed said California is pretty seriously on the wrong track, while 37 percent said things in the state are going in the right direction. Unhappiness with the state’s direction is highest among Republicans (79 percent), while 59 percent of nonpartisan voters say it’s on the wrong track and only 27 percent of Democrats feel that way.

“It’s impressive that Brown’s approval has increased at a time when perception of politicians are generally at historic lows,” said Drew Lieberman, vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. “The government shutdown tends to reflect on all politicians at all levels, but I think Governor Brown has built some insulation from that. This data shows Brown with a strong foundation and a solid core, but also with some work left to do.”

Indeed, the poll shows that even though Brown’s favorability continues to rise, it’s too early for voters to pronounce his re-election chances a slam dunk. Only 32 percent said they would pick him again for the job, while 37 percent said they would elect someone else.

Lots more, after the jump…
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Tim Donnelly: Make California sexy for business

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, officially launched his 2014 gubernatorial campaign today in Southern California, though really he’s been on the trail for a few months already.

He also posted this rather enjoyable web video today:

Best quotes:

“We need to make California the sexiest place to do business, because right now thing sexy to me in the State of California is my wife.”

Son: “I’m a way better shot than my dad, and I don’t take guns on planes.”
Donnelly: “Did you just say that?”

“I’m tired of the media being jerks.”

“I’m not white… I’m a fleshy pinkish tone.”

Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, the more centrist Republican in the race so far, released his first (and somewhat less light-hearted)web video today, too:


We knew the hair would come into it eventually.

I talked with Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado yesterday and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today for a story we’ll publish next week about their contest for the lieutenant governor’s office. Here’s an amusing snippet:

Newsom blasts Maldonado for taking campaign money from oil and energy companies while opposing AB 32, California’s greenhouse gas emissions law, and other air and water protection efforts. Maldonado replied that he opposed AB 32 because the Legislature should enact regulations instead of leaving it to the California Air Resources Board, which doesn’t answer to voters; however, he opposes Proposition 23, the ballot measure to roll back AB 32, lest it discourage clean-energy sector investment. He added that he has always opposed off-shore oil drilling, and that Newsom is hypocritical given his personal ties to the Getty family of oil heirs and his own family’s investments in concerns such as Transocean, which operated the now-notorious BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig. “He’s oil soaked … His whole life is oil.”

“Maybe he’s referring to my hair,” Newsom quipped, adding the oil interests Maldonado cites were independent investments made on his wife’s behalf, having nothing to do with him.


More campaign finance fun: Lt.Gov. and AG

In the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom far outpaced Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn in fundraising during this period from March 18 to May 22. Newsom raised $792,311 and spent $453,291, finishing the period with $770,776 cash on hand; Hahn raised $336,331 and spent $316,670, finishing the period with $315,430 cash on hand.

Mike Trujillo, Hahn’s campaign adviser, called me tonight to note that the two candidates are more evenly matched if you look at contributions since their campaigns began – it looks to me as if Newsom’s at about $1.06 million to Hahn’s $898,000, by that measure – and that about $200,000 of Newsom’s cash on hand is earmarked for November’s general election, while all but $9,000 of Hahn’s stash can be spent in the next 10 days.

In the GOP primary for Lieutenant Governor, appointed incumbent and former state Sen. Abel Maldonado smoked his more conservative rival, state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley. Maldonado raised $318,898 during this period and spent $121,872, leaving him with $139,060 cash on hand; Aanestad raised $44,470 during this period and spent $44,441, leaving him with $43,297 cash on hand.

In the Republican primary for Attorney General, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley trumped the fundraising during this period, with $916,066 in contributions compared to $295,302 for former Chapman University Law School Dean John Eastman – including the $25,000 he loaned his own campaign – and $150,294 for state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach. Cooley finished with the most cash on hand, too: $222,280 compared to Eastman’s $158,444 and Harman’s $112,644.

In the Democratic primary for Attorney General, former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly rules the campaign cash roost only because he put $5.6 million into his own campaign during this period (atop the $4 million he’d put in earlier). His new investment accounted for all but $79,679 of his contributions in this period and he spent $8,953,697, leaving him with cash on hand of $102,984.

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris raised $810,884 during this period and spent $1,546,812, finishing with $636,471 cash on hand; former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo raised $268,995 and spent $1,251,446, finishing with $149,762 cash on hand; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, raised $239,162 and spent $671,100, finishing with $577,002 cash on hand; and Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, raised $17,532 and spent $86,956, finishing with $24,534 cash on hand. Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, had $1,029,186 cash on hand as of March 17, the close of the last reporting period, but hasn’t yet filed this period’s report as of this time; Emeryville attorney Mike Schmier didn’t raise enough to require a report.

UPDATE @ 10:33 A.M. FRIDAY: Torrico raised $180,371.79 in this period, spent $676,560.78 and finished with $522,334.73 cash on hand.

UPDATE @ 9:30 A.M. TUESDAY 6/1: Sorry, my bad: Schmier says he has raised $12,450 to date and has $3,166.88 cash on hand remaining.


Breaking down the Maldonado confirmation vote

The state Senate this afternoon voted 25-7 to confirm Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger’s nomination of state Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, as lieutenant governor; the governor will swear him into office tomorrow.

As I’d said Friday on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California,” don’t mistake this for an instance of politics being put aside. Democrats supported Maldonado only because they want him out of the Senate so they can try to win his 15th State Senate District seat, and only now because confirming him earlier wouldn’t have allowed the SD-15 special election to be consolidated with November’s general election, when Democrats believe heavier turnout will give them an advantage.

That’s what California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring alluded to in his statement today:

“On behalf of the California Republican Party, let me be the first to congratulate State Senator Abel Maldonado on his successful confirmation as Lieutenant Governor today. It’s gratifying that after five months, Sacramento Democrats could finally muster up the votes needed for a decision that should have taken them 10 minutes to confirm a clearly qualified candidate appointed by the Governor within his constitutional authority.

“Considering the legislature’s deadline for passing a state budget is less than 60 days from now, the California Republican Party hopes that Speaker Perez, Speaker Pro Tem Steinberg and the Democrat caucus are ready to stop wasting more time calculating what’s best for their party and start taking responsibility for finding fiscal solutions that don’t put more of a burden on California taxpayers.”

But five of the seven votes against confirmation today were from Republicans. The seven were:

  • Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, who’s also running in the GOP lieutenant governor primary in June;
  • Jeff Denham, R-Merced, who withdrew from the GOP lieutenant governor primary race soon after Schwarzenegger nominated Maldonado late last year;
  • Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego;
  • Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach;
  • George Runner, R-Antelope Valley;
  • Mark Wyland, R-Escondito; and
  • Leland Yee, D-San Francisco
  • (UPDATE @ 6:06 P.M.: It occurs to me that, for context’s sake, I should note that of the four Republicans besides Aanestad who opposed Maldonado’s confirmation, three might’ve had electoral motivations as well. Denham is running against Richard Pombo for the GOP nomination in the 19th Congressional District; Harman is running against Steve Cooley and John Eastman for the GOP nomination for Attorney General; and Runner is running against Barbara Alby, George Nakanishi and Edward Streichman in the GOP primary for the state Board of Equalization’s District 2 seat. Each would want to outflank his primary rivals on the right and so, one presumes, would be quick to criticize Maldonado’s past willingness to vote for tax hikes.)

    Also, neither Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto (who preceded current Senate Republican Leader Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, in that leadership role) nor Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga (who will succeed Hollingsworth in that role) cast votes today, though they were reportedly present. So, not an awe-inspiring show of GOP support, all told.

    Last week’s Assembly vote, in the final reckoning, was 53-21. The only East Bay Assembly member voting in favor of confirmation was Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo. Voting against confirmation were Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley; Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley; Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda; Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch; and Alberto Torrico, D-Newark. The only Assembly Republican to vote against Maldonado’s confirmation was Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, who is currently a GOP U.S. Senate primary candidate.

    Maldonado issued a statement today:

    “I am humbled and honored to serve the people of California as their 47th Lieutenant Governor.

    “I’ve spent my career focused on what’s best for the people of this state – not political bosses or special interests – and I vow to continue my commitment to California’s people in this role.

    “As your Lieutenant Governor I will work hand and hand with the Governor as his promoter-in-chief of California to create and retain jobs while partnering with the education community to plan for our future workforce needs.

    “I will continue my work as a reformer while keeping an eye on government waste to ensure elected representatives are not abusing the trust of the people who put them in office.

    “The California dream is alive and well and it’s time for Sacramento to re-earn the trust of the people – I will be the people’s voice in the Capitol.”

    Replied Aanestad:

    “Today, the Governor and his politicians chose their Lt. Governor. This June, however, Republican voters will have their say.

    “Voters can either choose Abel Maldonado, who broke his promise to the voters by making a deal in exchange for his vote for the largest tax hike in California history; or they can choose Sam Aanestad, who is endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Congressman Tom McClintock because he has kept his promise to not raise taxes.

    “The choice is up to the people, not the politicians.”


    Maldonado, crime lab, Salinas gangs on ‘TWINC’

    I was on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California” last night to talk about the politics behind state Sen. Abel Maldonado’s confirmation as lieutenant governor, as well as the latest poll numbers in a few hot primary contests. The panel also featured the Chronicle’s Rachel Gordon on the San Francisco crime lab scandal, and the Monterey Herald’s Julia Reynolds on this week’s big gang sweep in Salinas.