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Poll: Voters vexed by California corruption probes

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- California voters are alarmed by a string of corruption scandals in Sacramento, but most feel any wrongdoing is not widespread, a poll indicated Saturday.

The University of Southern California Dornsife-Los Angeles Times poll says 84 percent of voters are either very, or somewhat, concerned about corruption in the Legislature.

But most believe the trouble is limited to a small number of lawmakers, a sentiment that cuts across party lines.

“While a significant number of Californians are concerned about corruption in the state Legislature, voters are more likely to blame a select few rather than make a blanket judgment on their elected officials,” Matt Rodriguez, co-director of the poll and a Democratic strategist, said in a statement.

The findings come a few days before the state's Tuesday primary election, which has been shaded by the cases that all involve Democrats.

Sens. Ronald Calderon of Montebello and Leland Yee of San Francisco have been indicted on federal bribery and corruption charges. Sen. Rod Wright of Inglewood was convicted of perjury and voter fraud in January for lying about his legal residence in Los Angeles County.

Voters are split on lawmakers' overall performance, with 41 percent approving and 40 percent saying they are failing. That's not a ringing vote of confidence, but their standing has increased since the state has slowly climbed out of recession.

Most voters support overhauling the Legislature's ethics rules. Ninety percent favor expelling legislators who had been convicted of corruption or other serious crimes, and three of four favored banning legislators from accepting gifts from special interests and lobbyists.

About two of three favor requiring candidates to accept campaign contributions only from people who live in their districts.

The survey of 1,500 voters conducted in late May has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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