The good news from the Golden State is that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s poll numbers are down. Not that that has any huge significance in the cosmos or even in the world of California politics four months from now. It’s just nice to see our thumping lumpish bully-boy demagogue — oh, did I say I don’t care for his act? — have a rough time selling the rubes on his patent potions for what ails him and his buddies.
The amazing thing in the latest poll results from the Public Policy Institute of California is that Schwarzenegger somehow manages to lag behind Bush in the overall approval rating among adults surveyed: 38 percent approval for the president, 34 percent for the governor. It’s a stunning achievement, really, for anyone this side of the BTK killer to trail Bush in a popularity contest.
So, since people don’t love Arnold this month, the initiatives he’s forcing on the voters by way of a special election in November are all hurting. Specifically: an initiative to increase the time it takes public-school teachers to get tenure from two years to five; a measure to create a special reapportionment panel so the Legislature can’t gerrymander things anymore; and new budget rules that would give the governor more power.
But, and this is a big but: Arnold still has two months and change to make people love him again. He’s a Hollywood guy. He’ll have lots of money to spend on wooing us and convincing us that he’s our best friend, and we are our own worst enemies.