Grading the governor

Half of all Californians said they would give Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a below average or failing grade, according to a new Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research Poll.


The survey of 750 likely primary voters asked respondents to give the governor a letter grade for his six years in office. One-quarter of those respondents gave the governor an “F.” Another 25 percent gave him a “D,” saying the state is somewhat worse off that when he was first elected.


The survey was conducted between Oct. 26-28 and has a margin of error of 3.7 percent Schwarzenegger is entering his final year in office, six years after voters threw out Gov. Gray Davis in the beginning of Davis's second term. Poll director Adam Probolsky says the new survey shows time is of the essence for Schwarzenegger "It shows the governor has a very short window of time to improve his legacy," he said. "But it is important to recognize he’s been the governor presiding over the worst economy of several generations. The fact is we just saw yeterday an incumbent governor lose his post (in New Jersey).


"It’s a good thing the governor isn’t on the ballot this year."


Just 3 percent of those who responded gave the governor an “A” grade. He was given a “B” by 16 percent of those surveyed, and 28 percent gave him a “C,” saying the state is in about the same shape as when he was first elected.


Not surprisingly, Democrats proved to be the tough graders on this particular report card. About 57 percent of Democrats gave the governor a “D” or “F” grade. The governor received those low marks from 41 percent of Republican respondents.


The governor received a passing grade from 51 percent of the decline-to-state voters who responded to the survey.


Respondents were given prompts to correspond with the letter grades. An "A" meant "big accomplishments, the state is much better off than when he was first elected." A "B" greade meant "the state is somewhat better off"; a "C" indicated "the state is about the same as when he was first elected"; a "D" meant "the state is somewhat worse off" than before he took office. An "F" indicated the governor was "a disaster, the state is much worse off than when he was first elected."


The northern half of the state seemed to have a slightly more favorable opinion of the governor than the rest of California. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the governor received a passing grade of A, B, or C from 56 percent of respondents. In the rest of Northern California, that number jumped to 60 percent.


The poll will be released in its entirely in Thursday’s Capitol Weekly.


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