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									                      THE                     THE INDEPENDENT AND NON-PARTISAN SURVEY




                    FIELD
                                              OF PUBLIC OPINION ESTABLISHED IN 1947 AS
                                              THE CALIFORNIA POLL BY MERVIN FIELD




                    POLL
                                              Field Research Corporation
                                              601 California Street, Suite 900
                                              San Francisco, CA 94108-2814
                                              (415) 392-5763 FAX: (415) 434-2541
                                              EMAIL: fieldpoll@field.com
                                              www.field.com/fieldpollonline

Release #2438                                                Release Date: Thursday, February 21, 2013
BROWN’S JOB APPROVAL THE HIGHEST
SINCE HIS ELECTION. IMPROVED VIEW OF                         IMPORTANT: Contract for this service is
THE DIRECTION OF THE STATE. MOST                             subject to revocation if publication or broadcast
THINK DEMOCRATS’ TWO-THIRDS                                  takes place before release date or if contents are
CONTROL OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE IS                          divulged to persons outside of subscriber staff
A GOOD THING.                                                prior to release time. (ISSN 0195-4520)


By Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field

For the first time since Democrat Jerry Brown was elected two years ago, a solid majority of voters
(57%) approves of the job he is doing as Governor. This increase in voter esteem has occurred
despite the fact that many voters acknowledge several common criticisms lodged against the
Governor and his policies.

At the same time, a plurality of voters now believes the state is heading in the right direction –
something that has not happened since 2007.

There has also been an easing in the highly critical view that voters have had of the legislature’s job
performance, with 36% now approving of its performance and 51% disapproving. Part of the
change appears related to a more favorable view that voters have of the performance of Democratic
lawmakers. In addition, by a 55% to 39% margin, more voters believe it’s a good thing for
California that Democrats hold two-thirds control of both houses of the state legislature.

These are the highlights from the latest statewide Field Poll conducted February 5-17.

Brown’s job rating on the rise
For the first two years of Brown’s latest term as Governor voter approval ratings of his performance
were in the modest 43% to 49% range.

However, the most recent Field Poll finds a 57% majority now approving of Brown’s job
performance, the Governor’s highest rating since his election.

Contributing to this surge is the fact that big majorities of both Democratic and independent voters
now view the Governor’s performance positively. While most Republicans (65%) disapprove of the
job Brown is doing, a not inconsiderable proportion of Republicans (24%) give him a favorable
rating.

                Field Research Corporation is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer
The Field Poll                                                                                                            #2438
Thursday, February 21, 2013                                                                                              Page 2



                                             Table 1
                         Trend of job performance ratings of Jerry Brown
                               during his current term as Governor
                                     (among registered voters)
                                                    Approve     Disapprove                                  No opinion
      February 2013                                   57%           31                                          12
      Late October 2012                               46%           37                                          17
      September 2012                                  46%           37                                          17
      July 2012                                       44%           42                                          14
      Late May 2012                                   43%           40                                          17
      February 2012                                   45%           38                                          17
      November 2011                                   47%           36                                          17
      September 2011                                  49%           32                                          19
      June 2011                                       46%           31                                          23
      March 2011                                      48%           21                                          31
      Party registration (February 2013)
         Democrats                                    74%           13                                         13
         Republicans                                  24%           65                                         11
         No party preference/others                   66%           23                                         11
      Note: Late October 2012 survey conducted among likely voters in the November 2012 general election.


Review of Brown's performance ratings during his earlier terms as Governor

Brown served two earlier terms as Governor between 1975 and 1982. Field Poll surveys conducted
at the time show that while he maintained positive job ratings throughout his first term, especially
during his first two years in office, he fell out of favor with the public during his second term.

For example, early in his second year in office in March 1976, a record 69% of Californians
approved of Brown’s performance as Governor, while just 25% disapproved. However, by April
1980 and after his abortive run for President that year, Brown’s job marks turned highly negative,
with just 38% approving and 61% disapproving. His performance ratings never returned to positive
territory during the remainder of his term.
The Field Poll                                                                                                                       #2438
Thursday, February 21, 2013                                                                                                         Page 3


                                         Table 2
                    Trend of job performance ratings of Jerry Brown
                        during his first two terms as Governor
                                               Approve     Disapprove                                                No opinion
      August 1982                                43%           54                                                         3
      January 1982                               39%           58                                                         3
      October 1981                               40%           58                                                         2
      August 1981                                42%           56                                                         2
      January 1981                               48%           49                                                         3
      October 1980                               49%           49                                                         2
      July 1980                                  46%           52                                                         3
      April 1980                                 38%           61                                                         1
      February 1980                              41%           57                                                         2
      May 1979                                   46%           49                                                         5
      February 1979                              54%           42                                                         4
      August 1978                                50%           45                                                         5
      February 1978                              52%           38                                                        10
      October 1977                               60%           35                                                         5
      November 1976                              58%           33                                                         9
      August 1976                                66%           30                                                         4
      March 1976                                 69%           25                                                         6
      November 1975                              67%           24                                                         9
      Note: Original surveys used a five-point response scale and have been converted to a two-point approve/disapprove scale for
            comparative purposes and were asked of all California adults.


Voters see both positives and negatives in the Governor

During his 2010 election campaign and subsequently, Brown has been both praised and criticized
for his actions and policies. Some of the more widely pro and con descriptions of Brown were
repeated in this survey and voters were asked to what extent they felt each applied to the Governor.

Majorities of voters statewide concur with three positive statements about Brown – that he “can be
trusted to do what is right” (61%), “is the right governor for the problems facing California”
(58%), and “deserves credit for turning around the state’s finances (56%).

However, large proportions also agree with several criticisms of the Governor and his policies. For
example, a 57% majority believe he “advocates too many big government projects that the state
cannot afford right now.” In addition, 52% maintain that he “favors tax policies that are hurting
California’s economy,” while 47% agree that he “favors organized labor too much.”
The Field Poll                                                                                     #2438
Thursday, February 21, 2013                                                                       Page 4


                                            Table 3
       Voter reactions to positive and negative statements made about Governor Brown
                                    (among registered voters)
                                                  Applies to Brown "a lot" or "some"
                                                 Total     Demo-     Repub- No party
                                                voters      crats     licans pref./other
      Positive statements                            %            %           %           %
       Can be trusted to do what is right            61           79          33          64
       Is the right governor for the problems        58           79          26          60
          facing California
       Deserves credit for turning around the        56           74          25          62
          state's finances
      Negative statements
       Advocates too many big government             57           37          85          59
         projects that the state cannot afford
         right now
       Favors tax policies that are hurting          52           30          84          53
         California's economy
       Favors organized labor too much               47           30          74          42


Voters long-felt strong disapproval of the legislature's job performance eases some

In sixteen previous Field Poll measurements conducted during the past five years voters have been
strongly critical of the job the state legislature has been doing. During this period, no more than one
in four voters approved of its performance. The latest poll shows a decline in the extent of voter
disapproval and a corresponding increase in approval. While still viewed more negatively than
positively, a somewhat larger proportion of voters than previously (36%) approves, while a smaller
proportion (51%) disapproves of the job the legislature is doing.

A majority of Democratic voters (52%) offers a positive assessment of the legislature, as do about
one in three (34%) independent voters. On the other hand, just 14% of Republicans approve.
The Field Poll                                                                                                                            #2438
Thursday, February 21, 2013                                                                                                              Page 5


                                            Table 4
                Trend of voter appraisals of the job the state legislature is doing
                                   (among registered voters)
                                                      Approve       Disapprove No opinion
   February 2013                                        36%             51          13
   September 2012                                       25%             56          19
   July 2012                                            23%             64          13
   Late May 2012                                        19%             64          17
   February 2012                                        22%             64          14
   November 2011                                        22%             62          16
   September 2011                                       20%             65          15
   June 2011                                            23%             64          13
   March 2011                                           16%             70          14
   September 2010                                       10%             80          10
   July 2010                                            16%             74          10
   March 2010                                           13%             78           9
   January 2010                                         16%             72          12
   October 2009                                         13%             78           9
   April 2009                                           14%             74          12
   March 2009                                           18%             72          10
   September 2008                                       15%             73          12
   July 2008                                            27%             57          16
   May 2008                                             30%             57          13
   2007 (average)                                       38%             43          19
   2006 (average)                                       30%             50          20
   2005 (average)                                       28%             55          17
   2004 (average)                                       28%             53          19
   2003 (average)                                       25%             59          16
   2002 (average)                                       40%             40          20
   2001 (average)                                       43%             37          20
   2000 (average)                                       48%             25          27
   1999 (average)                                       45%             28          27
   1998 (average)                                       45%             33          22
   1997 (average)                                       38%             40          22
   1996 (average)                                       41%             49          10
   1995 (average)                                       34%             59           7
   1993 (average)                                       28%             64           8
   1992 (average)                                       32%             64           4
   1990 (average)                                       45%             48           7
   1988 (average)                                       57%             36           7
   1983 (average)                                       43%             49           8
   Party registration (February 2013)
     Democrats                                          52%             33          15
     Republicans                                        14%             74          12
     No party preference/other                          34%             55          11
      Note: Surveys prior to 1996 were conducted among all adults. In addition, response scales from these surveys were converted from
            their original five-point scale to the current two-point approve/disapprove scales for comparative purposes.
The Field Poll                                                                                   #2438
Thursday, February 21, 2013                                                                     Page 6


Democratic legislators viewed much more positively than Republicans

There is a sizeable difference in the way Democratic and Republican legislators are viewed by
voters.

When all voters are asked to assess the performance of the Democratic lawmakers 45% approve and
44% disapprove. By contrast, more than twice as many voters disapprove (58%) as approve (24%)
of the job being done by legislative Republicans.

Majorities of rank-and-file Democrats (64%) and independents (53%) give positive marks to
Democratic lawmakers. By comparison, about two in three of each group disapprove of the
performance of legislative Republicans, along with 44% of rank-and-file Republicans.


                                          Table 5
           Job performance of the Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature
                                  (among registered voters)
                                                 Approve    Disapprove No opinion
      Democrats in the state legislature
       February 2013                                   45%            44             11
       July 2012                                       36%            49             15
       September 2011                                  31%            55             14
       September 2010                                  25%            62             13
       Party registration (February 2013)
          Democrats                                    64%            22             14
          Republicans                                  10%            85              5
          No party preference/other                    53%            33             14
      Republicans in the state legislature
       February 2013                                   24%            58             18
       July 2012                                       20%            62             18
       September 2011                                  22%            64             14
       September 2010                                  20%            64             16
       Party registration (February 2013)
          Democrats                                    16%            65             19
          Republicans                                  42%            44             14
          No party preference/other                    17%            64             19


Majority says the Democratic supermajorities in the legislature are a good thing

For many years Democrats have held a majority of the seats in both the State Senate and Assembly.
However, the 2010 election saw Democrats expanding their advantage to where they now hold
more than two-thirds of the seats in both houses.

This means that with supermajority control of both houses, Democrats can now move forward
legislation that requires a two-thirds majority for passage, without any Republican votes.
The Field Poll                                                                                      #2438
Thursday, February 21, 2013                                                                        Page 7


Voters in this survey were asked if they felt the Democrats two-thirds control of both legislative
houses was a good thing or bad thing for California.

By a 55% to 39% margin more voters say it’s a good thing. Not surprisingly, views about this
follow party lines, with 76% of Democrats reacting positively and 86% of Republicans negatively
to this development.

Significantly, about seven in ten political independents (69%) also maintain that the two-thirds
Democratic control of the legislature is a good thing for the state.


                                             Table 6
                       California voter views of the Democrats holding a
              two-third majority of the seats in both houses of the state legislature
                                   (among registered voters)
                                                    Approve      Disapprove No opinion
      Total voters                                     55%            39              6
      Party registration (February 2013)
       Democrats                                          76%             16               8
       Republicans                                        12%             86               2
       No party preference/other                          69%             24               7


Improved view of the direction of California

For the first time in six years more voters think the state is heading in the right direction (48%) than
believe it is seriously off on the wrong track (42%).

In each of 14 Field Poll conducted in the five-year period between 2008 and July 2012, large
majorities of voters ranging from 62% to 81% believed the state was seriously off on the wrong
track.
The Field Poll                                                                                                       #2438
Thursday, February 21, 2013                                                                                         Page 8


                                               Table 7
                          Trend of the direction that California is heading
                                     (among registered voters)
                                              Right direction Wrong track                              No opinion
       February 2013                                48%              42                                   10
       September 2012                               35%              52                                   13
       July 2012                                    26%              64                                   10
       February 2012                                30%              62                                    8
       November 2011                                21%              68                                   11
       September 2011                               24%              65                                   11
       June 2011                                    23%              67                                   10
       March 2011                                   26%              64                                   10
       September 2010                               12%              81                                    7
       July 2010                                    13%              79                                    8
       January 2010                                 14%              79                                    7
       October 2009                                 15%              78                                    7
       March 2009                                   18%              73                                    9
       September 2008                               22%              70                                    8
       July 2008                                    21%              68                                   11
       May 2008                                     23%              68                                    9
       December 2007                                43%              47                                   10
       October 2007                                 42%              42                                   16
       August 2007                                  42%              45                                   13
       March 2007                                   52%              38                                   10
       September 2006                               49%              36                                   15
       July 2006                                    47%              41                                   12
       May 2006                                     32%              57                                   11
       April 2006                                   28%              56                                   16
       February 2006                                31%              55                                   14
       2005 (average)                               31%              58                                   11
       2004 (average)                               39%              48                                   13
       2003 (average)                               20%              72                                    8
       2002 (average)                               37%              52                                   11
       2001 (average)                               43%              50                                    7
       2000 (average)                               58%              35                                    7
       1999 (average)                               52%              34                                   14
       1998 (average)                               48%              42                                   10
       1997 (average)                               36%              54                                   10
       1996 (average)                               39%              49                                   12
       1995 (average)                               32%              57                                   11
       1994 (average)                               21%              70                                    9
       1993 (average)                               11%              83                                    6
       1992 (average)                                7%              90                                    3
       1989 (average)                               50%              42                                    8
       1988 (average)                               52%              43                                    5
       Party registration (February 2013)
          Democrats                                 69%              20                                   11
          Republicans                               14%              80                                    6
          No party preference/others                53%              34                                   13
      Note: Surveys prior to 1996 conducted among all California adults, not just registered adults.
                                                                  – 30 –
The Field Poll                                                                                                 #2438
Thursday, February 21, 2013                                                                                   Page 9


                                             Information About The Survey
Methodological Details
The latest Field Poll was completed February 5-17, 2013 among 834 registered voters in California. In order to
cover a broad range of issues and still minimize voter fatigue, some of the questions were asked of a random
subsample of 415 registered voters.
Interviewing was conducted by telephone in English and Spanish using live interviewers working from Field
Research Corporation’s central location telephone interviewing facilities. Up to six attempts were made to reach,
screen and interview each randomly selected voter on different days and times of day during the interviewing
period.
Interviewing was completed on either a voter’s landline phone or a cell phone depending on the source of the
telephone listing from the voter file. After the completion of interviewing, the overall registered voter sample was
weighted to Field Poll estimates of the characteristics of the overall registered voter population in California.
Sampling error estimates applicable to the results of any probability-based survey depend on sample size as well
as the percentage distribution being examined. The maximum sampling error estimates for results based on the
overall sample of 834 registered voters have a sampling error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, while findings from the
random subsample of 415 voters have a sampling error of +/- 5.0 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
The maximum sampling error is based on results in the middle of the sampling distribution (i.e., percentages at or
near 50%). Percentages at either end of the distribution (those closer to 10% or 90%) have a smaller margin of
error. There are other potential sources of error in surveys besides sampling error. However, the overall design and
execution of the survey sought to minimize these other possible sources of error.
The Field Poll was established in 1947 as The California Poll by Mervin Field, who is still an active advisor. The
Poll has operated continuously since then as an independent, non-partisan survey of California public opinion.
The Poll receives annual funding from media subscribers of The Field Poll, from several California foundations,
and the University of California and California State University systems, who receive the data files from each
Field Poll survey shortly after its completion for teaching and secondary research purposes.
Questions Asked
Thinking about this state, do you think things in California are generally going in the right direction or do
you feel things are seriously off on the wrong track?*
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jerry Brown is handling his job as Governor of California?
I am going to read some things that have been said about Governor Jerry Brown and for each please tell me
whether you think this applies to him a lot, some, a little or not at all. (ITEMS READ IN RANDOM ORDER) Do
you think this applies to him a lot, some, a little or not at all?* (SEE RELEASE FOR ITEMS READ)
Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the California state legislature is doing its job?
What about the Democrats in the state legislature? Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Democrats
in the legislature are doing their job?*
What about the Republicans in the state legislature? Do you approve or disapprove of the way the
Republicans in the legislature are doing their job?*
As a result of last year's elections, the Democrats now hold a two-thirds majority of the seats in both houses
of the state legislature. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing for California?*

* Question asked of a random subsample of 415 registered voters statewide

								
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