Following the November election, Californians’ views on the state of the nation changed only slightly overall—but the opinions of partisans diverged greatly. In our January 2017 survey, only 36% of Californians said that things in the United States were generally going in the right direction. This was a slight decline from October 2016, when 43% were optimistic. In addition, in January, about half (52%) thought that good economic times could be expected in the next year—a slight increase from October (46%).
The mood of partisans changed dramatically after the election of President Donald Trump, with Republicans becoming much more optimistic and Democrats much more pessimistic. Republicans’ optimism about the direction of the nation went up 44 percentage points (17% in October, 61% in January), and their optimism about the country’s economic outlook rose 56 points (27% in October, 83% in January). On the other hand, Democrats became much more pessimistic, with a 37 point drop in optimism about the direction of the nation (57% in October, 20% in January) and a 20 point decline in economic optimism (58% in October, 38% in January). On both measures, independents were more optimistic in January (up 10 points on direction of the nation, up 13 points on economic outlook).
While the partisan differences were the most evident, there were also changes across racial/ethnic groups. Notably, there was a drop in optimism about the direction of the nation among Latinos (down 22 points, from 53% in October to 31% in January) and Asian Americans (down 21 points, from 55% in October to 34% in January). Latinos were also less optimistic about the economic outlook of the nation (down 12 points, from 58% in October to 46% in January), while there was a sharp increase in economic optimism among whites (up 24 points, from 36% in October to 60% in January).
As President Trump works to implement his policies, we will continue to periodically track Californians’ views of the state of the nation as well as monitor partisan and demographic differences.
News and analysis
of California policy
issues from PPIC