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Gov. Brown Enjoys Record High Approval Rating

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown enjoys a record high 54 percent approval rating among California voters as he heads into a likely re-election campaign next year after a relatively smooth state budget process, according to a new poll the Public Policy Institute of California released Wednesday.

So far, the Democratic governor faces no serious challengers seeking his job. Brown has not yet announced he will seek another term in 2014, but he reported to the secretary of state's office Wednesday that he has $10 million in his campaign committee account. He also reported another $3 million remaining in a campaign account for Proposition 30, the tax increase initiative voters approved in November to add about $6 billion a year in extra tax revenue.

Brown's support is less solid when it comes to his handling of the environment, though, with 39 percent of adults and 44 percent of likely voters saying they support how he has addressed the issue, PPIC said.

Nearly two-thirds of Californians believe the government should act right away to cut greenhouse gas emissions, rather than waiting for the economy to improve, the poll said. That includes passing more regulations and helping the state prepare for the effects of climate change, which 79 percent of respondents said is very important or somewhat important to do.

PPIC also said a large majority of Californians see global warming as a very serious or somewhat serious threat to the state's future economy and way of life, and believe that the effects of climate change have already begun.

The survey also showed support remains strong in California for President Barack Obama, who also has a 54 percent approval rating among likely voters in the overwhelmingly Democratic state.

If Brown, 75, does announce his intention to run for governor, no Democrats are likely to challenge him. So far, two potential GOP rivals have opened committees to raise funds for a gubernatorial race: Former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, seen as a moderate by many within his party, and conservative Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks.

The poll also surveyed Californians on several other issues related to the environment. It found:

— Half of Californians support building the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canada to Texas, The Obama administration has been weighing the proposal.

— More than half, 54 percent, oppose more oil drilling off California's coast, while 41 percent favor it.

— Following the closure of the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant, 63 percent of Californians oppose building more nuclear power plants in the state.

— Nearly 8 in 10 favor increasing federal subsidies for wind, solar and hydrogen technologies.

— Seven in 10 support AB32, the 2011 law signed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger requiring one-third of California's electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

The survey was based on interviews with 2,103 adults by landline and cellphone July 9-13. It has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all adults, and plus or minus 3.9 percentage points for likely voters.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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