SACRAMENTO — California Gov. Gray Davis’ public approval rating has slipped to the lowest point since he took office in 1999, according to a Field Poll released Friday.
The survey is the second released this week that shows Davis’ job-performance rating eroding in the face of a statewide energy crisis.
Forty-two percent of those surveyed for the San Francisco-based Field Institute said they approve of Davis’ job as governor, while 49 percent said they disapprove.
In January, 60 percent of those polled said they supported Davis’ performance.
The latest survey also found that 51 percent of registered voters in California say they are not inclined to re-elect Davis to a second term. Davis is up for re-election in November 2002.
But when voters were asked who they would support for governor if the election were held now, the Democratic governor topped both Secretary of State Bill Jones and Los Angeles investment banker William Simon Jr.
Davis led Jones, the only Republican who has announced his candidacy for governor, 47 percent to 33 percent, and topped Simon, another Republican who is considering running, 48 percent to 31 percent.
Garry South, chief campaign consultant for Davis, said Davis and his political team “fully expected” the governor to take a hit in the polls in the face of rolling blackouts and rising electricity rates.
“People really don’t have a very full understanding of what he is doing and what he has done to solve this problem,” South said.
South issued a statement Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the poll’s release stating that former Gov. Pete Wilson received dismal approval ratings before being elected to a second term.
The statement reminded “those preparing to dance on Governor Gray Davis’ political grave,” that Wilson posted a 15 percent job-performance rating in May 1993, during his first term.
The poll, which questioned 1,015 California adults, including 727 registered voters, between May 11 and May 20, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points, the institute said.
A Public Policy Institute of California poll released Monday found that Gov. Gray Davis’ job approval rating dove from 66 percent in September to less than half of Californians surveyed this month.