Pelosi's popularity takes a hit
A new poll of about 2,000 California residents reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's standing in her homestate is headed in the wrong direction: her approval rating has fallen 13 percentage points since March, to 39% from 52%.
That finding, in the new survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, is of a piece with attitudes toward Congress in general in the state; 33% give the gang on Capitol Hill positive ratings, down 9 percentage points since the Democrats took control in January. And 68% say they don't expect the Democrats and President Bush will be able to work effectively to accomplish much this year.
The public's view of Congress traditionally polls low, even in the best of times. Still, the trend-line isn't one Pelosi and her fellow Democratic leaders in Washington can find comforting.
Closer to home, Californians aren't all that optimistic about the Democratic state Legislature and GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger becoming a juggernaut for progress, either --- 49% think they might be able to work well together, down from 62% in January.
Bush's ratings, in one of the bluest of blue states, remain dismal: 68% of Californians disapprove of the job he is doing, only 28% approve. And the partisan gap in views about him is not as wide as might be expected, pollster Mark Baldassare notes. While a majority of Republicans (56%) approve of his job performance, the share who disapprove --- 40% --- is the highest recorded by the poll. Among Democrats and independents, disapproval is overwhelming --- 88% and 76%, respectively.
Immigration tops the list, easily, of the most pressing issues facing the state. It was picked by 25% of those polled, followed by the economy (11%) and health care (9%).
The survey's findings on aspects of the controversial immigration bill that stalled Thursday morning in a crucial Senate vote is in line with several national polls --- including one recently conducted by The Times and the Bloomberg News Service. And the results continue to indicate that the intensity of opposition to the bill is not matched by sheer numbers.
Fully 74% of the Californians say illegal immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for more than two years should be allowed to keep their jobs and apply for legal status. When the sample was reduced to likely voters (983 interviewed), support for this proposition remained high: 65%.
-- Don Frederick & Scott Martelle
Photo: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Credit: Susan Walsh/AP