SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's sky-high popularity has dropped amid deepening partisan divisions over a budget stalemate, according to a poll released Thursday.
Schwarzenegger, who enjoyed near-record performance ratings two months ago, received approval from 57 percent of Californians in a survey from the Public Policy Institute - 7 percentage points lower than a poll the group conducted in May.
While the Republican's approval numbers remained high, the survey found most of the drop came among Democrats and independent voters -- two groups that had been most enthusiastic about Schwarzenegger's efforts to remain above the partisan fray.
Pollster Mark Baldassare said the three-week-old budget impasse and Schwarzenegger's increasingly partisan tone were eroding his support.
"This is the governor who promised he was going to be able to deliver the budget on time," said Baldassare. "And now he's caught up with the Legislature in the annual blame game about who is responsible for that not happening, and why."
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