A new Field poll released Friday reveals that Californians are growing increasingly disgusted with the state Legislature; only 35% approved of the Legislature while 47% disapproved of them. It appears the plunge in approval was catalyzed by the arrest of Sen. Leland Yee, (D-San Francisco), the third Democratic lawmaker suspended in 2014, because half of an April Field poll, taken before the arrest, showed the public’s approval at 43%.
Shockingly, only half of Democratic respondents approve of the Legislature, which is dominated and controlled by their own party. Only 18% of GOP respondents and 28% of independents approve of the Legislature.
The poll’s director, Mark DiCamillo, said the huge difference between partisan voters was prompted by the state’s budget, which was heavily weighted toward Democratic Party priorities. He stated, “They are reacting in a fairly predictable, partisan way toward that budget.”
Predictably, voters in inland counties, who tend to be more conservative, were largely opposed to the Legislature; 59% disapproved, as opposed to Democratic coastal counties, where 42% disapproved.
DiCamillo agreed that the disparity was a result of the partisan divide between the inland and coastal areas, but he added that the inland voters were upset because they feel the Legislature has been unresponsive to the concerns of inlanders over the drought and the state budget is more oriented toward urban areas.
Incongruously, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is still highly approved of, which DiCamillo explained was a result of the governor presenting himself as more moderate than the Legislature:
He’s not seen as a strong partisan Democrat in his policies and instincts regarding the Legislature, which I think voters believe is a more partisan body and responsive to Democratic voter constituencies. That has served him well and is why he’s receiving a much higher job rating than the Legislature.