Thursday, February 18, 2010

As California stumbles through its continuing budget crisis, 60% of likely voters in the state now believe it would be better if most incumbents in the state legislature were defeated in this November’s elections.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in California finds just 17% think it would be better if most of the legislative incumbents were reelected. Another 23% are undecided.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Republicans and 60% of voters not affiliated with either major party say it would be better if most incumbents were defeated, a view shared by just 52% of Democrats.

Voters are much more ambivalent, however, when asked about their own state assemblyman. Twenty-eight percent (28%) say their local representative deserves to be reelected, but 33% disagree. A sizable 39% more are undecided.

Not that voters are happier about how Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has handled the state budget crisis. Thirteen percent (13%) now give the governor good or excellent marks for the job he is doing. Fifty percent (50%) view his performance as poor.

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman now runs dead even with likely Democratic nominee Jerry Brown in California’s gubernatorial contest. Brown continues to maintain a double-digit lead over the other leading Republican in the race, State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of California voters say the bigger problem for the state is not taxpayers’ unwillingness to pay enough in taxes but is instead the unwillingness of politicians to control government spending. Still, that’s down nine points from 84% in May of last year. But only 16% see taxpayers’ unwillingness to pay enough as the bigger problem.

To meet California’s multi-billion-dollar deficit, 43% of voters say the state should cut back on services. Twenty-six percent (26%) say it should raise taxes, and 18% think the state should file for bankruptcy. These findings are little changed from a month ago. But in January 2009, California voters were evenly divided over whether taxes should be raised or government spending cut to reduce the state budget deficit.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) say the state tries to do too much, while 41% believe it doesn’t do enough. Fourteen percent (14%) say it does about the right amount of what the public wants.

As the result of a voter proposition passed in 1988, California requires automobile insurers to get approval from the state insurance commissioner before they can raise rates. With the largest public health insurer in the state just announcing rate increases up to 39%, most California voters (70%) now believe health insurance companies also should be required to get state approval before they raise their rates. Only 13% disagree, but another 17% aren’t sure.

Just 26% of voters in the state now approve of Schwarzenegger’s job performance, while 73% disapprove. These numbers include six percent (5%) who strongly approve of the job he is doing versus 37% who strongly disapprove.

For the second month in a row, incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer is in surprisingly tight races with three potential Republican challengers in California.

In 2008, Rasmussen Reports projected nationally that Obama would defeat John McCain by a 52% to 46% margin. Obama won 53% to 46%. Four years earlier, Rasmussen Reports projected the national vote totals for both George W. Bush and John Kerry within half-a-percentage-point.

To read entire report, click here.