SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A $15 million bond measure touted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) as the way for California to avoid a financial meltdown isn't supported by a majority of voters, a statewide poll shows.
Thirty-eight percent approve of the measure and 41 percent oppose it, according the Public Policy Institute of California (search) poll. Twenty-one percent are undecided.
Schwarzenegger needs voters to pass the measure March 2 so that he can pay off short-term loans that come due in June and help close next year's budget gap. Without the bond money, the governor has said deep cuts will be necessary.
The governor, a Republican, and several Democratic leaders, including Controller Steve Westly (search) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (search), have been campaigning in support of the measure. Schwarzenegger also is spending about $1.5 million a week on TV ads airing statewide.
But voters are not impressed so far, said Mark Baldassare, poll director for the institute. When the ads began on Feb. 10, the poll found 37 percent in favor, 45 percent opposed and 18 percent undecided.
"People are wondering if this is the best time to be borrowing money," he said. "I think people are skittish about what we are proposing here."
Sixty-one percent of likely voters approve of the way the governor is doing his job. But of those who approve of Schwarzenegger, only 49 percent support the bond proposal.
Also, the poll found likely California voters favor the Democratic nominee over President Bush — 54 percent to 37 percent. Nine percent are undecided.
Among the candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, Kerry would capture 55 percent of his party's vote. Far behind are former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who dropped out of the race Wednesday, with 11 percent and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards with 10 percent.
The poll was conducted between Feb. 8-16 with 1,013 likely voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.