Poll: Davis’ popularity remains low despite blackout-free summer; 45 percent back Riordan
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Although not an official candidate for governor, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan holds a slight edge over incumbent Gray Davis in a new statewide poll.
The Democratic governor’s popularity remains at the same low level it fell to last spring during the statewide energy crisis, according to the poll conducted by the Field Institute.
Half of voters surveyed oppose Davis’ re-election in November 2002, while 43 percent said they would be inclined to re-elect him. He held high approval ratings for his first two years in office.
Meanwhile, Republican Riordan is favored by 45 percent and Davis by 42 percent among registered voters when they are paired in a possible 2002 general election, according to the poll. The poll’s margin of error is 3 percentage points.
The statewide poll questioned 1,003 California adults by telephone on Sept. 7-10, before terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Davis has no announced Democratic opposition for the primary in March. Riordan has said he likely will run, and Secretary of State Bill Jones and Los Angeles businessman Bill Simon also have said they will seek the Republican nomination.
In a hypothetical three-way Republican primary, Riordan captured the support of 46 percent of potential voters, followed by Jones with 19 percent and Simon with 5 percent.
Riordan is widely seen as the candidate most financially able to compete with Davis, who raised $30.5 million in campaign funds by the end of June.
Riordan has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from influential donors and in his past campaigns, he spent millions of his own money.
Davis’ support began to slip in the spring as the power crisis worsened. A Field poll in May found 42 percent approved of his job performance, while 49 percent disapproved. In January, his approval rating was 60 percent.
Now, 37 percent of those polled rated Davis’ efforts to solve the power crunch as poor, while 27 percent gave him high marks. Those polled also frowned on the state Legislature, with a 35 percent unfavorable rating.
On the Net:
Field Poll: http://www.field.com/fieldpoll
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