Support is weakening for California's Proposition 93, which would change the state's term limits law. According to the latest Field Poll, "yes" and "no" voters divide evenly at 39 percent each, but all the momentum is with the nay-sayers.
The proposition would allow legislators to serve up to 12 years in the chamber of their choice, as opposed to current law that limits them to six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate. The measure would have the effect of keeping current leaders in place -- always enough to turn off voters who remain skeptical of politicians.
I've written a lot about term limits and how everyone who works in and around state capitals -- not just legislators but governors and lobbyists -- hates them. And rightly so.
Go more than 500 yards away from the capital grounds, however, and the public still supports limits where they are in place. All the deals Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and others have cut in the past year to earn institutional and interest group support for the proposition failed to excite actual voters.
That's why efforts to repeal limits have mostly failed and why California is about to join Ohio and Florida in the ranks of states that have failed to extend limits.
Update: Dan Walters offers his take on the poll and suggests that Schwarzenegger's endorsement didn't help: "Anti-Proposition 93 advertising and widespread denunciation of the measure in newspaper editorials undoubtedly contributed to the decline, but Schwarzenegger's endorsement may have played a role as well. Why? Because his unexpected action drew lavish media attention, and his praise for Núñez and Perata reminded conservatives that they were the measure's chief beneficiaries, which the pro-Proposition 93 campaign had downplayed."