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Blog Post · June 21, 2024

Video: Californians and Their Government

photo - California State Capitol

PPIC’s June survey tracks Californians’ support for presidential and US Senate candidates as well as some fiscal measures that may appear on the November ballot. The survey explores opinions about the governor’s May Revision of the state budget. At a virtual event last week, PPIC associate survey director Dean Bonner outlined these and other findings and then discussed key takeaways with survey analyst Lauren Mora.

This month’s survey brings economic pessimism and financial concerns to the forefront. Bonner noted that Californians are most likely to name cost of living/economy/inflation as the top state and national issue, and solid majorities are pessimistic about the direction and economic future of both the state and the nation. There are partisan differences—for example, Republicans are more likely to name immigration as a top national issue than either independents or Democrats, and six in ten Democrats think the state is headed in the right direction.

While it’s not possible to pinpoint the exact causes of this pessimism, Mora pointed to several other survey findings: “We have seen that inflation, economy, jobs, cost of living, housing costs and availability, and homelessness have consistently been named the state’s top issues since May 2022.” Bonner added, “I think it’s probably a whole bunch of things that are stacking on top of one another.”

Mora highlighted a couple of tax-related findings. She noted that about two-thirds feel they are paying either somewhat or much more in state and local taxes than they should. She also pointed to an all-time high (56%) in the share of Californians who would prefer to pay lower taxes and have fewer government services. She noted that Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to prefer lower taxes and fewer services. But, she added, “Overall, this is the highest share of Californians who say they prefer lower taxes and fewer services since we first asked this question in February 2003. The share has only exceeded 50% once before, in February 2023.”

“This is really surprising,” said Bonner, noting that the share preferring lower taxes and fewer services increased 7 points since February. “I’d say that right now it’s unclear whether this is just a sign of the times, given all the other economic and financial worries we’re seeing in the survey,” said Mora. “But I think it will be really interesting to see how this changes over time.”


2024 Election elections homelessness Housing immigration inflation jobs Political Landscape presidential primary state budget Statewide Survey taxes US Senate