By David Siders
Published: Thursday, May. 24, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Thursday, May. 24, 2012 – 7:07 am

The honeymoon is ending for Gov. Jerry Brown.

For the first time in a major California poll since Brown took office, a plurality of likely voters disapproves of the job he is doing, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday.

The margin is pencil-thin – 43 percent disapprove while 42 percent approve – but follows more than a year of relatively favorable marks for the Democratic governor. In April, Brown’s job approval rating among likely voters was 47 percent.

Brown’s dip in public opinion was registered in the days immediately after his announcement last week that California’s budget deficit had grown to $15.7 billion, up from $9.2 billion in January.

“There are things that, as governor, you don’t have any control over, and in particular the economy seems to have either stalled or worse over the last few months,” poll director Mark Baldassare said. “People are getting worried again.”

Despite their dimmer view of Brown, likely voters remain supportive of his November ballot initiative to raise taxes – 56 percent to 38 percent, according to the poll. That level of support is slightly higher than in April.

The initiative, a major part of Brown’s agenda this year, would raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California’s highest earners.

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