The USC Dornslife/Los Angeles Times survey released Saturday found 52 percent of Californians see the project as a waste of money and want it stopped. Forty-three percent favor allowing it to proceed.
The $68 billion project would link Los Angeles and San Francisco with trains running as fast as 220 mph.
Funding for planning the project had won the approval of the electorate in a 2008 referendum, but Saturday's poll discovered a level of buyers' remorse with 70 percent of voters agreeing it should be placed back on the ballot for another vote.
Proponents says it will offer a valuable new option for in-state travel.
Opponents -- including farmers and homeowners along the proposed route through the San Joaquin Valley -- say the project should be canceled, the poll shows.
"It should have public support to go forward," said former state Sen. Quentin Kopp, whom the Times said has become an influential critic of the project after being one of its earliest proponents. "The lack of support reflects a general disbelief of the [California High-Speed Rail] Authority leadership, which has become a public relations game."
The poll surveyed 1,500 registered voters in mid-September. The margin of error in the poll was 2.9 percentage points.
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