The strong partisan divisions prominent in the nation this election year are also evident in California, the latest PPIC Statewide Survey shows. As the primary nears, Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided in their views about the appropriate role and size of government. Dean Bonner, the PPIC survey’s associate director, presented these and other key survey findings in Sacramento last week.
Bonner noted that preferences among California’s likely voter in the upcoming presidential primary are similar to those seen in many states that have already voted. Among Democratic likely voters—including independents who say they will vote in the Democratic primary—48% support Hillary Clinton and 41% support Bernie Sanders. Most young voters support Sanders and most over age 45 support Clinton. Clinton leads among Latinos, women, and those who describe themselves as politically middle of the road, while Sanders leads among men and voters who describe themselves as very liberal.
Donald Trump leads the Republican field with 38%, followed by Ted Cruz with 27% and John Kasich with 14%. Bonner noted evidence in the survey of discontent with the status quo in the nation—signs that may have fueled the candidacies of “outsiders” in both major parties. A majority of likely voters—63%—say the nation is going in the wrong direction and 47% say the US will have bad times financially in the coming year. And Congress’ job performance gets a very low rating—across party lines. Notably, Republicans are more likely to approve of President Obama (20%) than they are to approve of the Republican-led Congress (11%).