SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's "year of reform" initiatives are proving a tough sell to California voters despite a multimillion dollar advertising blitz, according to a poll released Thursday.
None of his measures on the Nov. 8 ballot has majority support, and two are opposed by wide margins.
The bombardment of radio and television ads from Schwarzenegger (search) and his opponents have generated voter interest in the election, the Public Policy Institute of California poll found. So far, that interest has failed to translate into support for the governor's agenda.
"There's still a long way to go, but the governor is still looking to find the key to what will change public opinion," poll director Mark Baldassare said. "While his measures may not have moved in a negative direction, there's no sign that voters have any more inclination to support his package."
Telephone interviews were conducted with 1,079 likely voters over seven days ending Oct. 23. There was a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Voters also remain skeptical of the former action star turned politician, with a majority disapproving how he has handled the job. Only 38 percent approve of his performance in office, while 57 percent disapprove.
Schwarzenegger is promoting four of the eight special election initiatives. Proposition 74 would make teachers work longer to get tenure; Proposition 75 would require public employee unions to get written permission from members before dues could be used for political purposes; Proposition 76, puts forth a state spending cap; and Proposition 77 would strip lawmakers of the power to draw political boundaries.
The spending cap (favored by just 30 percent of likely voters) and the redistricting measure (favored by 36 percent) are furthest behind, according to the poll.
Schwarzenegger's campaign team disagreed with the findings and said internal polling showed support for three initiatives — not the state spending cap.
"The voters are saying they want to like him, they want him to do well, and they want him to succeed," said John McLaughlin, the governor's pollster.