Former President Richard Nixon still holds the lowest approval rating of any president in California in the era of modern polling, but President Bush is setting his own record: the longest streak of abysmal approval ratings ever registered in the state.
A Field Poll released Wednesday bears out the trend: Bush is now at 27 percent approval among California voters, meaning he’s hovered in the high-20s or low-30s for nearly two years.
“This is the longest running negative trough that we’ve ever seen for a president,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, which has measured Californians’ views of presidents since John F. Kennedy. “We’ve had three consecutive measures where (Bush’s) performance rating is about 1 out of every 4 voters approving of the president. That is historic.”
Nixon hit the lowest of the lows – 24 percent – in August 1974, just before he resigned. President Jimmy Carter fell to 33 percent in the summer before he lost his re-election bid. Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush, hit his nadir of 37 percent approval months before he lost the 1992 election.
“Nixon was only at that number for a very short time before he resigned,” DiCamillo said. “Here we have a president who continues in office for years having this kind of rating.”
In the latest poll, Bush is barely holding on to his Republican base: 53 percent of state Republicans approve of his job performance, while 33 percent disapprove. Voters identifying as “strongly conservative” back him 57 percent to 31 percent, while “moderately conservative voters” disapprove of his performance 48 percent to 40 percent.