Source AP ©

Unproductive year does not diminish Schwarzenegger's popularity

Unproductive year in the state capital didn't undermine Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's job rating.

Fifty-six percent of voters surveyed approved of the way Schwarzenegger is doing his job, according to the Field Poll released Tuesday. One in three voters said they disapproved.

The ratings are similar to those he received earlier this year.

The survey was taken from Oct. 11 to Oct. 21, before the Austrian-born governor's high profile response to the wildfires.

As the fires spread across several counties, Schwarzenneger appeared nonstop on television, comforting fire victims and cheering their exhausted rescuers.

Still, many analysts have said they doubt the positive response to how he handled the crisis will enable him to resuscitate his plan for universal health care or get his way on some of his other bogged-down legislative projects.

The Field Poll also recorded a hypothetical match-up of Schwarzenneger and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in a race to represent California in the U.S. Senate. The Republican governor had a one-point lead, 44 percent to 43 percent over the Democratic senator.

Schwarzenneger has not said if he will challenge the Democrat for her seat. Boxer is up for re-election in 2010. Schwarzenegger's term runs through the same year and he cannot run for re-election.

The last time California had a Republican senator was 1988.

In the latest poll, the sample of 1,200 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The survey was done by telephone in English and Spanish.

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