Californians remain sharply divided in their views of the Affordable Care Act, but a month before its implementation, two of every three who are uninsured say they intend to purchase health insurance because of it.

Those are among the findings of a survey of 1,701 California adults conducted by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. Results were released Wednesday night. The poll was conducted Nov. 12-19, using landlines and cellphones. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent.

Although Californians are split on the question of whether the Affordable Care Act is a good thing (44 percent of adults view it favorably, and 44 percent view it unfavorably), the poll found 66 percent of Californians are aware the state is operating a health insurance purchasing exchange.

In addition, 66 percent of those who are uninsured say they intend to purchase insurance, while 24 percent intend to remain uninsured and the rest are uncertain.

The poll also showed that in the wake of two federal government fiascos -- the partial shutdown of the government and the badly flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act -- Californians' approval of the performance of both President Barack Obama and Congress has reached record lows.

Obama's approval rating among all adults stands at 51 percent approval, 45 percent disapproval. Among likely voters, 50 percent disapprove while 48 percent approve. Those figures are the lowest recorded during Obama's presidency, matching the level recorded in September 2011.

Californians have a far less favorable view of Congress' job performance. Approval of Congress now stands at 18 percent among adults and 10 percent among likely voters. It is the first time in the 15-year history of the poll that support for Congress' performance has dropped below 20 percent.

About 74 percent of Californians think it is at least somewhat likely that another partial shutdown of the federal government will take place next year.

Declining approval of the president and Congress has led to Californians to become far more pessimistic about the direction of the nation, with 57 percent saying it's on the wrong track. Just 10 months ago, the poll found the situation was nearly reversed, with 56 percent saying the country was headed in the right direction.

The pessimism about national affairs, however, does not carry over into how Californians view their state. Today, 45 percent of adults say California is headed in the right direction -- a sharp improvement from the 30 percent who felt that way a year ago.

The job approval rating for Gov. Jerry Brown has remained stable at 46 percent among adults and 48 percent among likely voters, with both figures nearly identical to what they were a year ago.

The survey is the first public poll to take an early measure of the 2014 governor's race, and found Brown with the support of 46 percent of likely voters, Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly at 16 percent and former Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado at 7 percent.

Nearly a quarter of likely voters said they are undecided. The poll did not include another potential Republican candidate, former Treasury Department official Neel Kashkari. ___

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