Updated 7:01 am, Thursday, April 10, 2014
Sacramento– Public opinion of the California Legislature has taken a sudden, negative turn since a San Francisco senator was charged with corruption and arms trafficking, according to a Field Poll released Thursday.
Pollsters were in the midst of collecting updated voter opinions on the state Legislature when Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, was arrested March 26, which provided analysts a rare opportunity to compare interviews conducted before and after the scandal became public. What they found, poll director Mark DiCamillo said, was that lawmakers’ overall ratings took a nosedive.
A week before Yee’s arrest, 46 percent of voters approved of the job the state Legislature was doing – the highest ratings since 2002 – while 40 percent disapproved.
After Yee’s arrest, those numbers nearly reversed. More voters expressed disapproval – 46 percent – while approval fell to 43 percent.
The decline follows two years of climbing voter sentiment.
“Before the Yee arrest, you had this upward trajectory of voters approving of the Legislature,” DiCamillo said.
Robert Richardson, a Democrat who lives in South San Francisco, said he is deeply disappointed in the Legislature, thanks to the scandals.
“I would have said they were doing an excellent job,” he said. “This makes you lose faith. It makes you wonder how much is going on that you don’t know about.”
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