02/10/2011 11:35 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Jerry Brown Approval Numbers Find Voters Unsure

This story comes courtesy of California Watch.

By Chase Davis

A growing number of Californians aren't sure what to make of Gov. Jerry Brown's early job performance, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California poll released tonight.

The poll is the second in a month to measure voters' thoughts on Brown's first days in office, as he wrestles with a $25 billion budget deficit and a massive reordering of state and local government responsibilities.

In the poll, 49.5 percent of adults said they weren't sure what to make of Brown's job performance, compared to 33.7 percent who approved of it. Last month, 39 percent of California adults said they were unsure about Brown's job performance and 41 percent approved.

In what could prove a boon to Brown's efforts to shift some state services to local agencies, a small majority of Californians believe that their local governments do a good job of providing basic services, though more than two-thirds were concerned that local governments haven't done enough to encourage job growth.

Still, their faith in local government far surpasses their faith in the state Legislature. A majority of those polled gave high marks to local parks, police protection, health care services, public schools and roads, but just 24 percent had a favorable view of state lawmakers.

"As Californians and governments at all levels struggle with health care costs and the prospect of cuts in services, most residents view prevention as important, and they see that local conditions can indeed make a difference in their health," Public Policy Institute CEO Mark Baldassare said in a statement.

The poll centered primarily on Californians' attitudes about health care, including their views on the divisive issue of federal health care reform, which a slim majority of Californians support.

Overall, eight in 10 Californians consider their health to be either good or excellent, and a similar proportion is happy with their lives. If there's one thing they're not happy about, it's their weight -- nearly half of Californians say they could afford to drop a few pounds.