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It Turns Out That Voters Really, Really Like It When A Governor & The Legislature Work Together

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JERRY BROWN
Gov. Jerry Brown responds to a question concerning his proposed 2014-15 state budget he unveiled at a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday Jan. 9, 2014. A robust economic recovery and surging revenue propelled by voter-approved tax increases has sent California's general fund spending to a record high, marking a dramatic turn-around for the state. With the an increase in tax receipts, Brown is proposing a spending plan that includes a 8.5 percent increase in general fu | ASSOCIATED PRESS

In a sharp turnaround from the past several years, Californians are giving high marks to Gov. Jerry Brown for his management of the state and his proposed budget with a residual boost for the state Legislature, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The Public Policy Institute of California also reported that President Obama is at his lowest point among adult Californians, even though 51 percent of those surveyed have a favorable view of him.

Public Policy Institute President Mark Baldassare said the numbers for Brown, who has yet to announce plans for re-election this year, show him with an approval rating of 58 percent among adults and 60 percent among likely voters. This represents an increase of 10 points from December, Baldassare said.

Brown also scored well with independents -- 57 percent gave him favorable marks -- as well as 36 percent among Republicans.

It showed the state Legislature with an approval rating of 48 percent, up from 35 percent in December.

"This is definitely the best we've seen for the governor and the Legislature since before the recession," Baldassare said. "Keep in mind, we were taking this survey just after the state budget came out showing a surplus and the governor was talking about setting money aside for a rainy day fund.

"Also, I think the comparison with what's going on in Washington presented some pretty stark contrasts so that people feel pretty good about what's going on here."

The survey of 1,700 adults, including 1,433 registered voters, was taken between Jan. 14 and Jan. 21. It has a 4.2 percent margin of error.

For the coming year, Californians said the top issues remain jobs and the economy, with 51 percent of likely voters saying they believe Brown and the Legislature will be able to work together on issues.

On three major fiscal issues, 62 percent of likely voters support limits on how much state spending can grow each year; there is some support for a split roll on Proposition 13 to increase taxes on commercial property, and 85 percent of likely voters want to see changes in public employee pensions.

Raphael Sonenshein, executive director at the Pat Brown Institute at Cal State L.A., said he was surprised at the high numbers for the Legislature.

"I think it's a cumulative thing of having a budget adopted on time the last three or four years and the rainy day fund," Sonenshein said. "Californians don't like to have government in their face, and there is no real serious opposition in Sacramento."

At the same time, he said, Democrats who are up for election this year are still concerned over voter turnout.

"Having support is one thing, but getting it mobilized to turn out is something completely different," Sonenshein said.

As for Obama, the survey found that 60 percent believe the president and Congress will continue to have difficulties working together and his job approval rating among likely voters has dropped to a new low of 46 percent.

The job approval for Congress was even lower, with only 26 percent giving them favorable marks. ___

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