Arnold Schwarzenegger, late in his term as governor, had a 39 percent favorability rating and a 55 percent unfavorable. In the latest California Field Poll, his favorability has collapsed to 20 percent statewide and only 10 percent in his home county, Los Angeles.
While his term of office had ups and downs, the collapse was related to his announcement of fathering a child with his household employee.
Twenty percent is a new low for California governors, and reflects that Schwarzenegger has no political base; not Republicans, conservatives, Democrats or liberals – they all have an unfavorable opinion of him.
Gray Davis, who Schwarzenegger replaced after a recall, had a 27 percent final favorability, and a 41 percent today. Pete Wilson, governor in the 1990s, was in office during a calmer period and left with a 50 percent favorability. His current low rating partially reflects that a quarter (26%) of California voters couldn’t rate him.
Schwarzenegger’s shaky personal life was always a greater threat to his career than political mistakes in office. But, Hollywood is amazingly tolerant of sexual and personal aberrations, and careers have continued after extraordinary controversies. So, Schwarzenegger can expect a recovery, although it’s hard to see a Kindergarten Cop or Twins as his next role.