Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Artist Formerly Known as "Arnold Strong" 

Hasta la vista, baby:
Just as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares to sell a reduced "reform" agenda to voters, a newly released statewide poll shows the Republican governor's popularity has plummeted.

The poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that only 40 percent of adults now approve of the way Schwarzenegger is handling his job as governor, a whopping 20 percentage point drop since January.

Among "likely voters," his approval rating was a higher 45 percent, but that fell from 63 percent at the start of the year.
Schwarzenegger retains 73% approval among Republican voters -- a barely acceptable figure for that notoriously credulous demographic -- but among Democrats and independents his numbers are doing a Wile E. Coyote: as with the President's plan to phase out Social Security, the more voters see, the less they like. Tim Grieve of Salon's "War Room" summarizes a few of the large-breasted governor's negatives:
Schwarzenegger isn't plagued with Bush's problems -- people don't think Arnold lied about the reasons for a war or is conning them on Social Security -- but the Gubernator has got some troubles of his own. Schwarzenegger started the year threatening to put four "reform" measures on the statewide ballot if Democrats in the state legislature didn't approve them first. Since then, he's caved in on one, a plan to privatize the state's pension plan, and he seemed to concede on Wednesday that he's going to have to negotiate with Democrats on another, his plan to change the way California does redistricting. A third Schwarzenegger proposal -- his plan to put teachers on a merit pay plan -- isn't all that likely to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. And on Wednesday, Schwarzenegger was forced to announce that his frustrated education chief, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, will be quitting in June. Add to that a gaffe about the need to "close the border" with Mexico -- Schwarzenegger apologized, saying that he might need to "go back to school" to work on his English -- and a split between some of his conservative advisors and his more liberal wife, and Schwarzenegger is suddenly looking more like a girlie man than the political superstar the GOP hoped he would be.

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