Automatic reductions in state spending are a bad idea, they tell pollsters; also, Gov. Brown’s approval rating barely changes

BY JIM MILLER
SACRAMENTO BUREAU
jmiller@pe.com

Published: 05 December 2011 06:43 AM

SACRAMENTO — Two-thirds of California voters continue to strongly oppose the likelihood of automatic midyear spending cuts to make up for lower-than-expected state revenue, a new survey shows.

The conclusions of today’s Field Poll are virtually unchanged from a survey two months ago, and come a little more than a week before Gov. Jerry Brown’s finance department releases its assessment of the state’s revenue picture.

Last month, the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst projected that state revenue was on track to be $3.7 billion short of June budget estimates. That would trigger $2 billion in cuts to schools, universities and social services.

The new poll finds that 47 percent of voters approve of Gov. Jerry Brown’s job performance, virtually unchanged from September. But 36 percent of voters give him low marks, up from 32 percent in September. The share of voters with no opinion has dropped from 19 percent to 17 percent.

“With each poll, we’re starting to see more voters disapprove of the job Brown is doing,” Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said. “As (the cuts) get closer to reality, it’s part of the reason why Brown’s rating is slipping just a little bit.”

Voters continue to have a low opinion of the Legislature. Sixty-two percent disapprove of its job performance, down slightly from September.

Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of voters, 68 percent, think the state is on the wrong track. That is a small increase from two months ago.

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