Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Public Policy Institute of California's new statewide poll is adding fuel to the fire in the fight over Proposition 23.

The poll results, released last night, found that roughly two-thirds of Californians ( and 61 percent of likely voters) support AB 32, the 2006 law mandating that California drop its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. That figure remains consistent with support in past years.

That law would be suspended until the unemployment rate hits 5.5 percent or lower for four consecutive calendar quarters by Proposition 23, considered by many the battle royal among the November initiatives. Supporters of the initiative say that move is needed to ease the regulatory burden on businesses until the economy rebounds.

Despite the strong support for the law, Californians were divided when asked whether the government should act right away to reduce emissions or wait until the economy recovers as the initiative proponents suggest.

A slim majority of Californians (53 percent) said the government should still immediately take action, with 42 percent of respondents saying they think the state should wait. Likely voters were split, with 48 percent of respondents on either side of the issue.

Prop 23 opponents seized on the results as a sign that ""Californians know that we can have both a strong economy and clean air."

But the Yes on Prop 23 campaign dismissed the findings, saying the questions were unfairly centered on global warming, not the economic impacts of AB 32.

"Folks instinctively will say we should reduce emissions related to global warming," Jack Stewart, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, said in a statement. "Poll after poll shows that jobs and the economy are voters' top priority. At the end of the day, Californians will be unwilling to spend billions and risk over a million jobs for a global warming law that will do nothing to reduce global warming."

The poll also showed narrow leads for Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, with nearly a quarter of voters in both races still undecided. Dan Walters has more on those numbers on Capitol Alert.

Click here for the full poll, which includes voter opinions on offshore oil drilling, the direction of the state and job approval ratings of elected officials.

PRESSER: Plaintiffs in a lawsuit to block the implementation of the "top-two" primary system approved under Proposition 14 are holding an 11 a.m. news conference in San Jose to announce their plans. Read more about the suit, which will be filed today in San Francisco Superior Court, here.

BALLOT WATCH: Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced yesterday that an initiative to change the state's legislative term-limit laws has qualified for the ballot, just not for the one in November. The measure will be on the ballot for the next statewide election after the Nov. 2 general election, likely the February 2012 primary. The initiative would lower the current 14-year cap (six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate) to 12 years, but allow officials to serve their time consecutively in one house or split between the Assembly and the Senate. The measure didn't make the deadline for the November ballot.

BIRTHDAY: Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Merced, turns 43 today.


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