Arnold Schwarzenegger faces difficult re-election bid in California this autumn

Just 37 percent of California 's likely voters are inclined to re-elect Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in November, a huge drop from a year ago, according to a poll released Thursday.

But the statewide Field Poll also found the Republican governor running competitively against each of the Democrats vying for their party's nomination in the June primary.

State Treasurer Phil Angelides and state Controller Steve Westly are largely unknown around the state, and about two-thirds of voters had no opinion of either one, according to the poll.

Still, the numbers signaled a difficult re-election campaign for Schwarzenegger, already disadvantaged as a Republican in a state where two-thirds of voters are Democrats or independents.

Forty-seven percent of voters said they were not inclined to vote for Schwarzenegger, who took office in November 2003 after the historic recall of Democrat Gray Davis. A year ago, 56 percent of likely voters said they were inclined to re-elect him.

Schwarzenegger's political fortunes soured as he embarked on a failed attempt to reform government last year, alienating teachers, public employee unions, Democrats and independents.

The poll showed him matching up evenly against Angelides, with 39 percent favoring each candidate. Westly held an edge of 4 percentage points over the governor. In each matchup, about one in five voters remained undecided.

More than half of likely Democratic primary voters were undecided about which candidate to support, with 26 percent backing Angelides and 18 percent backing Westly.

The poll was based on telephone surveys of 507 likely California voters conducted Feb. 12-26 and had a sampling error of 4.5 percentage points, reports the AP.

D.M.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team