July 6, 2006

Schwarzenegger reconnecting with moderates: poll

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Helped by an improved standing
with centrists, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has
opened a seven-point lead over his Democratic challenger in the
November race, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The celebrity Republican governor led state Treasurer Phil
Angelides 44 percent to 37 percent, up from a lead of 40
percent to 37 percent in March, according to the Survey and
Policy Research Institute of San Jose State University.

His job approval rating was 49 percent among voters and 43
percent among all adults, the best since that rating dipped
below 50 percent in March 2005.

Democrats, liberals and Latinos were critical of
Schwarzenegger, but men, whites, conservatives, Republicans and
voters in the state's Central Valley were rallying around him.

"The governor has improved his standing among the moderates
and independents who provide the swing voters in California
elections," said Melinda Jackson, a political scientist at San
Jose State University.

"There has been a big gain among voters feeling things are
on the right track again," Jackson said.

The survey of 891 Californians, including 614 voters, had a
margin of error of 3.3 percent for all adults and 4 percent for