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Voters Weigh In On State Ballot Measures

Although Governor Jerry Brown maintains a 16-point lead against Neel Kashkari that continues to widen, several hot-topic state propositions on this year’s ballot are more important to likely voters than the gubernational race.

So says a just published state-wide poll, sponsored by the Public Policy Institute of California, which also reports that water issues and the drought are just about as important to voters as jobs and the economy.

Four years ago, 59% of likely voters considered jobs and the economy the top issue. Currently, 72% of them identify water supplies as a major issue. Approximately two-thirds of voters say that governments in California are not doing enough to address the drought and only 4% say that they are doing too much.

The poll indicates that more than half of likely voters say they would vote yes on the Governor Brown-supported Proposition 1 — to create a $7.5 billion water bond to fund water quality, supply, treatment, and storage products. Most Democrats and independents favor the measure. Republicans are evenly divided.

About half of likely voters across party lines say that they would support Proposition 2, to develop a “rainy day” fund that provides for a separate reserve for public schools, another measure that Brown is campaigning on. According to the poll, approximately 17% of voters are still undecided.

Support for Proposition 45, to require the insurance commissioner’s approval for changes to health insurance-related charges, is currently wavering. Currently, 39% of voters approve of the measure, which is down from 48% last month, 46% would vote no, and 15% are uncertain. The poll shows that voters remain evenly divided over the healthcare reform law, itself.

Most voters identify crime as a problem in California and that they would vote yes on Proposition 47, which requires that certain drug and property offenses receive a misdemeanor rather than a felony sentence. The proposed measure does not apply to registered sex offenders or other offenders with a prior conviction for serious or violent crimes. Democrats and independents show solid support while Republicans are more divided on the measure.

Slightly more than a third of California voters approve of the way the state legislature and their own state assembly and senate representatives are doing their jobs, up from 10% four years ago. President Obama’s current 44% job approval rating is at a record low in the state and only 16% of likely California voters approve of how the U.S. Congress is performing.

To view the The Public Policy Institute poll in more detail, click here.