USC Poll: Voters like Brown as governor, but favor Clinton for president

hillary clinton hard choicesA new USC Dornsife poll shows Gov. Jerry Brown is as popular as ever — but voters want to keep him in California, not send him to the White House.

With the economy improving, his “California is back” message playing well and a landslide re-election victory just four months in the past, the four-time governor is riding high. His approval rating was 58 percent favorable, just 26 percent unfavorable.

That contrasts sharply with his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just four years ago, as he left office, a Field Poll found Schwarzenegger’s approval rating was terminal, at 75 percent of voters looking on him negatively, with only 20 percent approving. The state was suffering through the middle of the Great Recession, with $20 billion state budget deficits.

However much voters now give a thumbs-up to Brown in the governor’s office, for the Oval Office, they seem ready for Hillary.

When asked whom they preferred for president of the two potential candidates, it came down to 49 percent for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and 26 percent for Brown.

Although Clinton has not officially announced her candidacy, yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported she will do so in April. An announcement that early could help preclude candidacies from such potential challengers as Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and former Virgina Sen. Jim Webb.

As to Brown, he started campaigning late in his three previous candidacies for president — in 1976, 1980 and 1992 — but finished strong, though falling short in the end. An early start definitely would be required this time to have a chance at heading off Clinton.

As to the recent poll, it’s not California voters who likely will decide the candidate, as our primary comes in June. More decisive will be what voters think in the Iowa Caucuses next January and the early primaries in New Hampshire, the Carolinas and Nevada.

However, should Brown and Clinton somehow both run and be contenders on the June 7 date of the California Primary, then Golden State voters really might get to decide who the next president is.

John Seiler

John Seiler

John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles,, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email: [email protected]

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