View Full Version : California voters' support of Congress equals 25-year low

10-18-2009, 08:27 PM
California voters' support of Congress equals 25-year low

10:00 PM PDT on Friday, October 16, 2009

Washington Bureau

Congress is as unpopular as ever among Californians, with fewer than a quarter of the state's voters approving of the work being done at the U.S. Capitol, a new poll found.

Just 23 percent of the state's electorate approves of the job Congress is doing, according to today's Field Poll prepared for The Press-Enterprise and other California Media subscribers. Today's rating matches previous low rankings for Congress in the past 25 years, the poll found.

Fully two-thirds of California's voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing, and 11 percent are without an opinion, according to the poll. The low mark reflects voter disappointment that Democrats and Republicans have been unable to agree on health care, or any other high-profile issue, Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said.

"It's just not what they were hoping for," DiCamillo said. "Voters really want their elected leaders to reach bipartisan consensus."

The high mark for congressional approval came in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when 57 percent of the state's voters supported Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's popularity is also dipping among Californians. In March, 48 percent of the state's voters approved of the San Francisco Democrat's performance, with 35 percent disapproving and 17 percent without an opinion.

Six months later, just 34 percent of voters approve of Pelosi, while 44 percent disapprove and 22 percent have no opinion, the poll found.

DiCamillo said a wave of hopeful support for Pelosi that followed the election of President Barack Obama, has waned. Democrats are not as enthusiastic about Pelosi, the nation's first female speaker, and she has become a pariah to the GOP.

"Republicans, when they look at Pelosi, they look at her in horror," DiCamillo said. "They view her in an almost universally negative light."

Contrasting the flagging support for Congress and Pelosi is the generally consistent statewide approval of Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

The survey found that 46 percent of voters still approve of Feinstein, with 35 percent disapproving. Similarly, Boxer has a 44 percent approval rating, and 37 percent of voters disapprove of her performance. For both senators, 19 percent of voters had no opinion.

The Field Poll survey of 1,005 registered voters was conducted by phone between Sept. 18 and Oct 5. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for questions asked of the entire group and plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for a subset of questions asked of about half of the participants.