LOS ANGELES, Nov. 9 - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was dealt a stinging rebuke on Tuesday by voters who rejected all four special election ballot initiatives that were the basis of his efforts to change the balance of power in Sacramento.
Voters turned down an initiative to cap state spending and grant sweeping new budget powers to the governor and a plan to transfer the power to draw legislative districts from the Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, to a panel of retired judges also appeared to be failing. They also rejected Schwarzenegger-backed proposals to make it more difficult for public school teachers to win tenure and to force unions to get members' written permission before using their dues for political campaigns.
After the costliest ballot campaign in state history it was clear that the once highly popular movie-star-turned-governor had been politically humbled.
Californians also voted down four other ballot proposals that were not part of the Schwarzenegger agenda. They involved parental notification of teenagers seeking abortions, a plan to impose new regulations on electric utilities, and competing proposals for prescription drug discounts.
Mr. Schwarzenegger staked his time, his prestige and several million dollars of his personal fortune on the ballot campaign that he said was needed to fix a dysfunctional political system. The governor must now return to Sacramento and try to re-establish ties with Democratic leaders in the Legislature with whom he has been engaged in a bitter election campaign lasting for months.
Mr. Schwarzenegger appeared before all the results were in Tuesday evening and while not conceding defeat, he said he would meet on Thursday with Democrats and try to find new solutions to the state's political and economic problems.
"There is much, much work that has to be done," he said.
Mr. Schwarzenegger campaigned tirelessly for his ballot initiatives, particularly Proposition 76, which would give the governor power to unilaterally cut spending when revenues did not meet projections, and Proposition 77, a redistricting plan intended to break the hammerlock Democrats have had for a decade on the California Legislature and its Congressional delegation.
Both initiatives were losing by substantial margins with half the vote counted and The Associated Press declared that both had been defeated.
Two other proposals he supported, 74 and 75, would extend the probationary period for new public school teachers to five years from two years, and would force unions to seek written permission from members before their dues could be used for political campaigns.
Three other initiatives on the California ballot - two measures on drug discounts and a plan to impose new regulations on electric utilities - all failed by sizeable margins.
The governor's popularity has slumped in recent months because of his own political missteps and as a relentless barrage of critical political advertisements filling the airwaves. Mr. Schwarzenegger has said he intends to seek re-election next November.
In Ohio, voters soundly rejected a package of election revision measures pushed by Democrats after President Bush's narrow and disputed re-election victory in the state last year.
The four failed measures, backed by labor unions, government reform organizations and the Internet-fueled activist group MoveOn.org, would have stripped the secretary of state's office of the authority to conduct elections and made it much easier to vote absentee up to a month before Election Day. The package also included strict new limits on campaign contributions and the creation of an independent panel to redraw legislative districts.
Also on Tuesday, voters in Texas resoundingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, making Texas the 19th state to outlaw the practice. Voters in Maine ratified a state law barring discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said leaders of the gay rights movement were not surprised by the Texas outcome but were pleased by the result in Maine.
"This is a much-needed win for a national movement," Mr. Foreman said, "because we have experienced so many losses at the polls over the last year."
The Ohio initiatives were among the most closely watched of 39 ballot measures in seven states, an unusually high number in an off-year election.
The measures were put on the ballot in response to last year's presidential election, which some Democrats charged was tainted by partisan mismanagement. They put particular blame on Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican, who is the state's top election official and was the Ohio chairman of the Bush re-election campaign.
Critics said that many Democrats had to wait in hours-long lines at polling places and that many were denied ballots because they allegedly did not meet residency requirements. Critics also said that many absentee ballots from Democratic precincts were never counted.
No fraud was ever proved, but the election provoked demands for major electoral revisions.
The Ohio plan would have disbanded the current redistricting commission and created a bipartisan panel. The current system is dominated by Republicans, who have drawn the boundaries to maintain their majorities in the General Assembly and in the Congressional delegation. The law would have required the panel to make districts as competitive as possible.
Mr. Schwarzenegger endorsed the Ohio redistricting measure, which would have benefited Democrats, as well as a similar plan in California designed to make Republicans more competitive.
Keary McCarthy, a spokesman for Reform Ohio Now, the group behind the four initiatives, said that voters might have rejected the measures because they were confused by them. The national Republican Party and business interests ran a well-financed campaign to defeat them, Mr. McCarthy said.
"This became a national campaign," he said. "If we did anything tonight, these issues are now in the public consciousness."