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Blog Post · October 8, 2019

Video: Californians and Their Government

photo - White House

As California’s 2020 Democratic presidential primary draws closer, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders lead the rest of the field by a wide margin. However, many voters say they would consider supporting a candidate other than their current choice. These and other key findings from PPIC’s latest statewide survey were outlined by Rachel Lawler in Sacramento last Thursday.

Likely voters identifying as registered Democrats or as Democratic-leaning independents support Elizabeth Warren (23%), Joe Biden (22%), and Bernie Sanders (21%) at levels well above Kamala Harris (8%) and Pete Buttigieg (6%). No other candidate is preferred by more than 3 percent, and 9 percent say they don’t know which candidate they prefer. More than half of voters who expressed a preference would consider supporting another candidate.

The survey asked about a $15 billion bond for school and college construction that has been approved by the legislature for the March 2020 ballot. It has the support of two in three adults—but only 54 percent of likely voters. This narrow margin of support coincides with concern about the state’s economic outlook. Fewer than half (41% adults, 37% likely voters) expect good times financially in California during the next 12 months.

A potential November 2020 ballot measure that would amend Proposition 13 to tax commercial properties at their current market rate and direct some of the new revenue to K–12 public schools is favored by 57 percent of adults. However, fewer than half (47%) of likely voters favor the measure, and this share is down somewhat from April 2019 (54%). A potential state bond measure to fund water infrastructure is favored by 68 percent of adults and 57 percent of likely voters.

Other survey highlights:

  • Californians are most likely to name homelessness (15% adults, 16% likely voters) and jobs and the economy (15% adults, 13% likely voters) as the top issue facing the state. Other issues named include housing costs, immigration, and the environment.
  • Most Californians view immigrants as a benefit to the state, and half are at least somewhat worried about someone they know being deported as a result of increased federal immigration enforcement.
  • Two in three Californians think the Supreme Court should not overturn Roe v. Wade; more than half think some states are making it too difficult to get an abortion.
  • Half of Californians say they have a disaster plan and six in ten have a disaster supplies kit. Six in ten are very (28%) or somewhat (32%) worried about personal injury, property damage, or a major disruption of their routine as the result of a disaster.



bonds economic outlook elections Higher Education homelessness housing jobs Joe Biden K–12 Education natural disaster Political Landscape primary split roll Statewide Survey voters