Only about one in four registered voters trust that state government will do what is right just about always or most of the time. Even lower is the percentage of voters who trust the federal government (18%); this is similar to the lowest level of trust (15%), recorded in December 2011. From the first PPIC Statewide Survey in April 1998 onward, trust in either level of government has never risen above 50%.
California’s registered voters have been closely divided on the question of how much state government they want, though their answers have varied over time. Today, 47% say they would rather pay higher taxes and have more services, and 48% would rather pay lower taxes and have fewer services.
There are partisan differences that have been consistent over time. Most Democratic voters prefer higher taxes and more services, most Republicans prefer lower taxes and fewer services, and independents’ preferences are less consistently on one side or the other.
A majority of voters favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. This represents a recent shift in attitudes toward same-sex marriage. When the PPIC Statewide Survey first asked the question in 2000, 39% of voters were in favor and 55% were opposed. The margin narrowed over the next decade until 2010, when 51% favored legalizing same-sex marriage for the first time. Today, a record-high 65% of registered voters are in favor, while 31% are opposed.
For many years there was a strong partisan divide on same-sex marriage, with majorities of Democrats and independents in favor and most Republicans opposed. Although a slim majority of Republicans (53%) continue to oppose same-sex marriage, Republican support has nearly doubled (from 23% to 44%) since October 2008—just before the passage of Proposition 8—and has jumped 14 points since January 2013.