The big question in the California elections community these days is whether we will have a special election this Fall. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has several initiatives he is qualifiying for the ballot, and, as governor, has the authority to call a special election when an initiative qualifies. The Governor's proposals are not the only measures that have qualified for the ballot -- there are several other initiatives that have been qualified or are pending signature verification. (See the Secretary of State's Initiative Update for more details.)
One of the main incentives for the Governor to call a special election rather than wait for the June 2006 statewide primary is that he wants a redistricting of California's political districts prior to that election. There's a considerable amount of debate about whether that's feasible. (See the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials' analysis for an explanation of the obstacles.)
Now comes a new statewide survey, from the Public Policy Institute of California, which finds that California voters, by a 2-1 margin oppose a Fall special election.
Here are excerpts from John Wildermuth's article about the survey in today's San Francisco Chronicle:
If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger calls a special election this November, he will have to face voters angry at the prospect of yet another statewide ballot, a new poll showed today.
By a nearly 2-to-1 ratio, California adults would rather see Schwarzenegger's government reform plan go on the ballot for the scheduled June 2006 primary election than this fall.
"Since January, we have seen the support for a special election drop by 12 percentage points,'' said Marc Baldassare, director of the Public Policy Institute of California poll. "The more (voters) have heard about the governor's initiatives, the less they are convinced this is something we need to do this year.''
The governor and his allies have initiatives on redistricting, teacher tenure and the state budget nearly ready to go on a special election ballot. Schwarzenegger must decide by June 13 whether he wants to call that election for Nov. 8.
Schwarzenegger won't have an easy time getting voters behind his initiative efforts. On redistricting, for example, while 41 percent of likely voters support his effort to take it out of the hands of the Legislature and give it to a neutral panel of retired judges, 40 percent oppose the plan.
"It's a pretty disappointed group of Californians in this poll,'' said Baldassare. "They're unhappy with the governor and the Legislature and not happy with the way the state is heading.''