Nearly 7 years after recalling him from office California voters would like to have Gray Davis back...or at least they'd rather have him than Arnold Schwarzenegger. 44% on our most recent poll said they'd rather have Davis as Governor to 38% who picked Schwarzenegger. Democrats (64%) are more unified around the desire for Davis than Republicans are around Schwarzenegger (59%), although independents do lean toward the current Governor by a 41-37 margin.
Davis is still pretty unpopular with voters in the state. 32% view him favorably to 44% with a negative opinion. It's interesting to note that -12 favorability spread is equal to Carly Fiorina's (28/40) and better than Meg Whitman's -20 at 30/50. The GOP ticket's chances would be a lot better if their candidates didn't have Gray Davis like polling numbers.
The Davis/Schwarzenegger breakdown is actually a pretty good proxy for this year's Governor's race. Voters in the state don't like Jerry Brown (or Davis) but they like Whitman (or Schwarzenegger) even less and that drives a Democratic lead.
California voters are much more charitable when looking back on the Republicans of the past. 41% say Ronald Reagan is their favorite out of the state's last six Governors with Jerry Brown the runner up but far behind at 22%. Californians aren't opposed to all Republicans, but none of the ones the party has put forward recently have come close to matching the Reagan magic.
Full results here