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Thursday, April 28, 2005

CA-Gov: Schwarzenegger Flunks Education Poll

Posted by Bob Brigham

Following yesterday's new poll numbers that showed Schwarzenegger with a re-elect number of 29, we now have a major new poll on education. This poll isn't just bad, this is have your Secretary of Edcation resign bad. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Sacramento -- Richard Riordan, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's secretary for education, announced his resignation Wednesday as a new poll showed the governor's approval rating plummeting to an all-time low, largely because voters don't support his handling of education.

Schwarzenegger's education policy, backed by Riordan, has faltered this year as the governor has come under intense fire by school officials for reneging on a promise to devote more money to education in the state budget.

Before we get into the poll numbers, one thing that pops in my mind whenever I think of former LA Mayor Richard Riordan.

His tenure was marred by an incident last summer when he told a 6-year-old girl named Isis that her name means "dirty, stupid girl." The remark, caught on camera, prompted some to call for Riordan to resign, but he apologized and, with Schwarzenegger's support, stayed on.

Anyway, in California, the Secretary of Education doesn't really do anything other than show up when the Governor has a presser about kids. Governor Schwarzenegger's Administration may be trying to get a clean slate now that Riordian is leaving, but this is Arnold's disaster and the Governor bears full responsibility.

Back to the poll, 2,502 registered voters, April 4-17, ± 2 pts:

Even with his low approval ratings, however, the poll shows that many voters agree with the Republican governor's stated goals to make education the state government's top priority and to change the teacher tenure system.

But asked whose approach they prefer in fixing the state educational system, 39 percent of likely voters cited "Democrats in the Legislature," compared to just 25 percent who cited Schwarzenegger's plans, and 15 percent who favored the approach of the Republicans in the Legislature.

Survey director Mark Baldassare says the governor's latest poll numbers underscore the increasingly deep worries of residents about the state of education in Democrat-leaning California as the governor pushes plans for a special election later this year.

"Concerns about his handling of education issues has now generalized to more global concerns about his overall leadership,'' said Baldassare. "The governor -- who had been so successful in communicating with people outside his party, telling them he was working in their best interests -- has lost considerable support among independents and Democrats.''

And the numbers could still be moving. This poll was in the field for almost two weeks and was pretty stale by the time it was released. It shows a 43% approval rating. But yesterday's poll went into the field after this poll concluded, and showed a 38% approval.

My gut says that Schwarzenegger has yet to bottom out.

Posted at 09:35 AM in 2006 Elections - State, California | Technorati