SAN FRANCISCO – A majority of California voters does not want to see Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) re-elected, according to the latest poll showing the Republican's political appeal sliding.
The nonpartisan Field Poll (search) of registered voters found that just 39 percent said they were inclined to give Schwarzenegger a second term, while 57 percent were not. As recently as February, the numbers were almost reversed, with 56 percent saying they were inclined to re-elect Schwarzenegger and just 42 percent were not.
A series of polls released by Field researchers indicates Schwarzenegger has lost considerable ground among voters in recent months. The drop in the governor's popularity has coincided with his push for a fall special election for voters to consider several ballot measures aimed at curbing the power of Democrats and public employee unions in state government.
Earlier installments of the poll have shown that Schwarzenegger's job approval ratings have tumbled amid voters expressing skepticism about the special election and tepid support for his ballot measures.
Schwarzenegger has repeatedly said he would favor negotiating an agreement with legislators over the ballot measures that could avert a contentious showdown in the fall.
Still, the findings released Wednesday show that Schwarzenegger has fallen out of favor with almost every major demographic group.
The governor still enjoys considerable support among Republican voters, with 71 percent saying they were inclined to re-elect him.
But the poll found that 83 percent of Democrats, who form the majority of the state's registered voters, would oppose a second term, as would 61 percent of independent voters. Solid majorities of Hispanic voters and women also say they do not want to see the governor re-elected.
"This is a definite turn away from the governor," Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo (search) said. "It's fallen so far, so fast and in a very broad-based way."
Todd Harris, a Schwarzenegger political adviser who is working on the special election campaign, said the poll results on a distant would-be election didn't concern him.
"It's June of '05 and they're talking about November '06," Harris said. "I'm not exactly losing sleep over a poll that asks voters about a hypothetical ballot matchup that is 17 months away."
Schwarzenegger has not yet announced whether he plans to seek a second term.
The poll found that the governor's sagging political fortunes have bolstered the status of two Democrats who have announced they are running for governor. In hypothetical one-on-one matchups, the poll found that voters would chose state Treasurer Phil Angelides or Controller Steve Westly over Schwarzenegger.
However, the poll found voters would favor the former action movie star over two other well-known Hollywood faces, director Rob Reiner (search) and actor Warren Beatty (search). Both are active in Californina politics but have not signaled any intention to run for governor.
The poll of 711 registered voters was conducted from June 13 to June 19 and had a sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.