Poll: Davis’ ratings, public confidence take dive
SACRAMENTO (AP) – Californians’ confidence in state government and the economy have plunged in the face of a statewide energy crisis, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Monday.
The poll also found that Gov. Gray Davis’ job approval rating dove from 66 percent in September to less than half of Californians surveyed this month.
”This crisis and general economic uncertainty have severely undermined public confidence in California’s future and in its leaders,” said survey director Mark Baldassare.
For the first time since the mid-1990s, more of the state’s residents – 48 percent – believe that California is headed in the wrong direction than the 44 percent who believe it is on the right track.
The institute, a nonprofit organization that researches economic, social and political issues, interviewed 2,001 adult California residents, in English and Spanish, between May 1 and May 9 for the survey. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Of those surveyed, 46 percent said they approve of the way Davis is handling his job as governor.
That compares to approval ratings of 66 percent, 60 percent and 63 percent for the Democratic governor in surveys done between last September and January.
Still, Californians blame the electric utility companies more than anyone else for the energy crunch. Thirty-two percent said they fault utilities, while 26 percent blame former Gov. Pete Wilson and the Legislature, 10 percent blame Davis and the current Legislature and 10 percent blame power generators.
When asked for the best solution, 43 percent said they favor building more power plants while 1 percent opted for raising electricity rates.
The survey also found that the majority of Californians prefer issuing revenue bonds rather than using taxpayer dollars to help pay for the state’s electricity costs.
Davis has signed a law authorizing the sale of $13.4 billion in revenue bonds to repay the state treasury for energy buys.
The survey also found that 57 percent of Californians approve of the way that President Bush is handling his job, while 36 percent disapprove. At the same time, 56 percent of those surveyed disapprove of the way the president is handling the electricity crisis.
However, all but 8 percent of those surveyed said they do not blame Bush for the power crisis.
On the Net: The institute’s home page is at http://www.ppic.org
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