Yesterday’s California Field Poll is full of good news for Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. Republicans on the other hand, have little to celebrate, given that the poll shows the Republican gubernatorial field getting annihilated by Brown. Brown leads all three hypothetical Republican opponents combined by a 52-23 margin. While Brown tallies 52 percent support from California voters, Republican Abel Maldonado is the GOP’s leading candidate polling just 11 percent.
The poll is a resounding vote of confidence for Governor Brown’s pragmatic and effective leadership. His current approval rating is at its highest since he took office in January 2011, with 58 percent approving of his job performance to 33 percent who disapprove of his job performance. Brown adviser and political strategist, Dan Newman, expresses why he believes Brown has become so popular as follows:
He not only silenced the critics, he won them over by doing what few thought possible: He restored fiscal stability, erased a deficit, reformed our school funding system, created jobs and led the way on climate change. It’s entirely understandable that people prefer continued strong, effective leadership instead of abruptly turning California over to the tea party.
Brown is popular throughout the state, enjoying positive approval numbers in every region. In addition, he enjoys equal support from men (58-34 approval rating) and women (57-33), showing no gender gap in his popularity. While white voters approve of Brown’s leadership by a modest 51-43 margin, minority voters support his job performance by more lopsided margins. Asians (62-29), blacks (62-28) and Latinos (66-26) all approve of Brown’s job performance by greater than 2 to 1 ratios.
Brown’s effective, pragmatic governance has even earned him some support from voters who identify with the Tea Party. A more stable budget, better schools, and lower unemployment has a way of muting critics and garnering support even from ideological opponents. While 58 percent of Tea Partiers disapprove of Governor Brown’s performance, over a third (38 percent) say he is doing a good job. Outside the Tea Party, the Governor is appreciated by an overwhelming 69-24 margin.
Republicans face a daunting task in trying to unseat Governor Brown. The political environment could change in the eleven months between now and November 2014, but right now Governor Brown appears borderline invincible if he decides to seek re-election.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.