PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government

header-hoover-institution-fellows1-1PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government.

Full Report PDF

Some findings of the current survey:

  • Californians are much more likely than adults nationwide to view global climate change as a very serious problem.
  • Two in three Californians say the state is divided into haves and have-nots.
  • Slightly more than half (54%) favor providing health care coverage for undocumented immigrants in California.
  • Half prioritize new ideas and a different approach over experience and a proven record in a presidential candidate.

Fifty-one percent of adults and 54 percent of likely voters approve of the way Jerry Brown is handling his job as California’s governor. The governor’s approval rating was similar in September (52% adults, 55% likely voters) and last December, after his reelection (54% adults, 57% likely voters). Today, approval is far higher among Democrats (71%) than among independents (52%) and Republicans (27%). Approval is higher in the San Francisco Bay Area (62%) than in other regions. Majorities of blacks (64%), Latinos (54%), and Asians (52%), along with 48 percent of whites, approve of the governor’s job performance.

pp1Californians name water and the drought (27%) and jobs and the economy (24%) as the most important issues facing the state. Water and the drought (32%) was mentioned more often than jobs and the economy (20%) in September, while jobs and the economy (29%) led water and the drought (23%) last December. Across regions, Orange/San Diego residents (34%) are the most likely to mention water and the drought, while Los Angeles residents are the most likely to mention jobs and the economy (29%). Democrats and independents (30% each) are more likely than Republicans (16%) to mention water and the drought while partisan groups make similar mention of jobs and the economy (24% Democrats, 20% Republicans, 24% independents). Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area are the most likely to mention housing as the most important issue. Statewide, less than one in 10 adults name other issues—such as immigration, the state budget, education and schools, and housing—as the most important issue.

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HEALTH CARE POLICY

In June, the United States Supreme Court preserved the Affordable Care Act with a much anticipated ruling. Today, about half of Californians (51%) have a generally favorable opinion of the health care law, while four in 10 (42%) have a generally unfavorable opinion. Opinions of the law were similar in January (51% favorable, 41% unfavorable) and March (52% favorable, 42% unfavorable), while fewer than half viewed the law favorably in seven surveys from December 2013 to December 2014. Adults nationwide are more divided (42% favorable, 42% unfavorable), according to an October Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

Partisans view the law much differently, with two in three Democrats (66%) viewing it favorably, while eight in 10 Republicans (80%) view it unfavorably. Independents offer a more divided opinion. There are also stark differences among those who have health insurance and those who do not. About half of those with health insurance (53%) have a favorable opinion of the law, while six in 10 of those who do not have insurance (60%) view it unfavorably. About six in 10 blacks (62%), Latinos (59%), and Asians (58%) view the law favorably, while whites are divided (44% favorable, 49% unfavorable). Residents in the San Francisco Bay Area (61%) are the most likely to have favorable opinions, followed by those in Los Angeles (52%), Orange/San Diego (52%), the Central Valley (45%), and the Inland Empire (41%).

pp 3In May 2016, California will extend health care coverage to some low-income undocumented immigrant children. There are also proposals to further extend coverage, possibly to include undocumented adults. How do Californians view health care coverage for undocumented immigrants? A slim majority of Californians (54%) are in favor, while four in 10 are opposed (42%). Among likely voters the findings are reversed (42% favor, 55% opposed).

A majority of Democrats (63%) favor this idea, while a majority of independents (55%) and Republicans (87%) are opposed. Latinos (85%) are far more likely than Asians (53%), blacks (44%), and whites (33%) to be in favor.
APPROVAL RATINGS FOR FEDERAL ELECTED OFFICIALS

Today, 61 percent of California adults and 56 percent of likely voters approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president. The president’s current approval ratings are similar to those in our September survey (60% adults, 53% likely voters) and higher than in our December 2013 poll (51% adults, 48% likely voters). There are stark partisan differences, with 86 percent of Democrats approving of the way President Obama is handling his job and 84 percent of Republicans disapproving. Half of independents (52%) approve of the president while 45 percent disapprove. There are also notable differences across regions. Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area (71%) and Los Angeles (70%) are the most likely to approve of the president, while those in the Central Valley are the least likely to approve (49%). More than seven in 10 blacks (83%), Asians (76%), and Latinos (72%), approve of the way the president is handling his job, while about half of whites (48%) do so. Californians age 18 to 34 (72%) are far more likely to approve of President Obama than are Californians age 55 or older (49%). Majorities across education and income groups approve of the president. In a November CBS/New York Times poll, 45 percent of adults nationwide approved of the way President Obama is handling his job while 48 percent disapproved.

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PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

As the Republican and Democratic parties hold their primary debates, how satisfied are Californians with their choices in the presidential election? Today, 46 percent of California adults and 53 percent of likely voters say they are satisfied with their choices of candidates. Republicans (58%) are slightly more likely than Democrats (51%) to say they are satisfied with their choices. Four in 10 independents (41%) say they are satisfied with their choices while a majority say they are not satisfied (53%). Across racial/ethnic groups, whites (51%) are the most likely to be satisfied with their choices, followed by Asians (46%), Latinos (43%), and blacks (40%). Californians with an annual household income of $40,000 or more (51%) are somewhat more likely than those with a lower income (40%) to say they are satisfied with their choices in the election. Notably, among Californians who have a favorable view of the Tea Party movement, six in 10 say they are satisfied with their choices of candidates. Today, satisfaction among likely voters is slightly lower than in December 2007, when 61 percent of likely voters said they were satisfied with their choices of candidates in the presidential primary election.

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POLITICAL PARTY FAVORABILITY

As we approach the election year, what are Californians’ attitudes toward the two major parties? Among all adults, half (51%) have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party, and 30 percent have a favorable impression of the Republican Party. Likely voters are more inclined to view the Democratic Party favorably (47%) than to view the Republican Party favorably (33%). Today’s party favorability is similar to our findings in October 2014 (46% Democrats, 29% Republicans) and December 2013 (52% Democrats, 33% Republicans). Statewide, 43 percent of California voters are registered as Democrats, 28 percent as Republicans, 5 percent in other parties, and 24 percent as independents (i.e., no party preference), according to the most recent report from the California Secretary of State.

Among registered Democrats, three in four (76%) view their party favorably, while two in 10 (19%) view it unfavorably. Among registered Republicans, three in four (74%) view their party favorably, while one in four (23%) view it unfavorably. Registered independents are more likely to view the Democratic Party favorably (41%) than to view the Republican Party favorably (25%). Half of independents (50%) view the Democratic Party unfavorably, and six in 10 (60%) view the Republican Party unfavorably. Across racial/ethnic groups, half or more of Asians (52%), Latinos (64%), and blacks (69%) have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party, and solid majorities of each have an unfavorable impression of the Republican Party (61% Asian, 67% Latino, 82% black). About half of whites have an unfavorable impression of both the Democratic Party (50%) and the Republican Party (54%).

Majorities of Californians (53%) and likely voters (57%) have an unfavorable impression of the political movement known as the Tea Party; about one in four adults (24%) and likely voters (28%) have a favorable impression. Around one in four Californians have viewed the Tea Party favorably since we began asking about it in 2010. Today, half of Republicans (53%) have a favorable impression of the Tea Party, as do one in ten Democrats (12%) and one in four independents (26%).
pp 6As we approach the election year, what are Californians’ attitudes toward the two major parties? Among all adults, half (51%) have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party, and 30 percent have a favorable impression of the Republican Party. Likely voters are more inclined to view the Democratic Party favorably (47%) than to view the Republican Party favorably (33%). Today’s party favorability is similar to our findings in October 2014 (46% Democrats, 29% Republicans) and December 2013 (52% Democrats, 33% Republicans). Statewide, 43 percent of California voters are registered as Democrats, 28 percent as Republicans, 5 percent in other parties, and 24 percent as independents (i.e., no party preference), according to the most recent report from the California Secretary of State.

Among registered Democrats, three in four (76%) view their party favorably, while two in 10 (19%) view it unfavorably. Among registered Republicans, three in four (74%) view their party favorably, while one in four (23%) view it unfavorably. Registered independents are more likely to view the Democratic Party favorably (41%) than to view the Republican Party favorably (25%). Half of independents (50%) view the Democratic Party unfavorably, and six in 10 (60%) view the Republican Party unfavorably. Across racial/ethnic groups, half or more of Asians (52%), Latinos (64%), and blacks (69%) have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party, and solid majorities of each have an unfavorable impression of the Republican Party (61% Asian, 67% Latino, 82% black). About half of whites have an unfavorable impression of both the Democratic Party (50%) and the Republican Party (54%).

Majorities of Californians (53%) and likely voters (57%) have an unfavorable impression of the political movement known as the Tea Party; about one in four adults (24%) and likely voters (28%) have a favorable impression. Around one in four Californians have viewed the Tea Party favorably since we began asking about it in 2010. Today, half of Republicans (53%) have a favorable impression of the Tea Party, as do one in ten Democrats (12%) and one in four independents (26%).

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