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Californians are worried about the stagnant economy and are generally sour on the direction the state is headed, but Gov. Jerry Brown gets relatively high marks for his performance to date, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

PPIC found that 41 percent of Californians and 45 percent of likely voters approve of Brown's efforts to balance the state budget and otherwise govern -- not an overwhelming endorsement but, compared to most other politicians, relatively strong.

Just a few days earlier, the Field Poll came up with similar results, a 49 percent approval rating for Brown.

"Most Californians -- regardless of political party -- say things are going in the wrong direction in the state and the nation," Mark Baldassare, PPIC's president, says in a statement accompanying release of the poll results.

"Most don't see evidence that the president's attempts to stimulate the economy have had a positive impact -- although when asked to choose, they side with him over the Republicans in Congress," Baldassare added. "And for most Californians, the impact of the state's budget problems have hit home. In every region of the state, majorities say that state budget cuts have affected their local government services a lot."

Here are other findings in the PPIC poll:

• President Barack Obama's once-soaring approval numbers in California -- 70 percent when he first took office -- have declined sharply to just 51 percent;

• Congress gets even lower marks from California voters, but Democratic U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, who faces re-election next year, and Barbara Boxer, who won a new term last year, stand at 46 percent and 49 percent respectively.

• The state Legislature, like Congress, gets low approval ratings, and most of those surveyed support changing legislative term limits along the lines of a pending ballot measure -- from six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate to 12 years that could be served in either house. But voters oppose returning the Legislature to a part-time body and are divided over whether to change the Legislature to a one-house body.

• While voters like California's initiative system, they worry about special interests controlling it and would like to see some systemic reforms.

• Voters, who last year reduced the legislative vote for budgets from two-thirds to a simple majority, are closely divided on whether to also reduce the vote margin on taxes.

• Although California voters have twice approved ballot measures to bar same-sex marriages, they now favor legalization with 53 percent supportive and 42 percent opposed.

The full PPIC poll results are available here.


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