Gov. Davis unpopular with voters More than half of registered voters disapprove in poll

Tuesday May 07, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO — Californians continue to disapprove of Gov. Gray Davis’ performance, and they believe state lawmakers will reduce the budget deficit better than the governor, according to a new poll. 

The state’s residents also believe California is heading in the wrong direction again, ending a short period of optimism seen after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to the Field Poll released Sunday. 

Fifty percent of those surveyed believe the state is seriously off track, while 43 percent feel it’s headed in the right direction. 

Overall, 49 percent of Californians surveyed disapproved of Davis’ performance while 42 percent approved. That’s down from the first two years of his tenure when his favorable ratings ranged from 56 percent to 61 percent with relatively small unfavorable ratings. 

With seven months remaining before Davis faces Republican Bill Simon in the November election, his support among registered voters is even worse. They disapprove of his work in office by 55 percent to 39 percent. 

The poll was taken before the Davis administration was hit by the scandal over a $95 million, no-bid contract with Oracle Corp. that a Davis aide negotiated while accepting a $25,000 campaign contribution. 

Since May 2001, the height of the state’s energy crisis, the Democratic governor has seen consistently low approval marks in Field polls. 

The state now faces an estimated $20 billion budget shortfall. 

More than 80 percent of Californians believe the shortfall is somewhat or very serious, the poll shows. The numbers remained similar among Democrats and Republicans. By almost a 2-to-1 ratio, Californians would trust the Legislature over Davis to reduce the budget deficit. 

The latest survey of 1,021 adults was conducted by telephone between April 19 and 25. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.