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Press Release · May 25, 2022

A Majority of California Likely Voters Would Vote for the Democratic Candidate in Their House District

NEARLY SIX IN TEN PREFER A CANDIDATE WHO SUPPORTS KEEPING ROE V. WADE IN PLACE; THE ECONOMY AND RISING PRICES ARE THE TOP ISSUE FOR CALIFORNIANS

Related Event Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Government · May 26, 2022 Contact

Steven Bliss
Director of Digital Strategy

Email 415-291-4412

SAN FRANCISCO, May 25, 2022—Most California likely voters say they would opt for the Democratic candidate in their House district in the November midterm election. Nearly six in ten likely voters say they prefer a candidate who wants Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights ruling, kept in place. Meanwhile, Californians are most likely to name the economy, jobs, and rising prices as the most important issue facing the state, and a majority approve of the $18 billion package that Governor Newsom has proposed to address inflation. These are among the key findings of a statewide survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Note: As a companion to the new survey, PPIC is publishing a blog post by president and CEO Mark Baldassare, “Most California Voters Say ‘We Know Best.’”)

Most likely voters (55%) say they would vote for the Democratic candidate in their House district, while about one-third (35%) favor the Republican candidate. In the 10 competitive California House districts as defined by the Cook Political Report, 49 percent of likely voters would vote for the Democratic candidate, while 40 percent would vote Republican. Statewide, nearly six in ten likely voters (58%) say they are more likely to support a candidate who wants Roe v. Wade kept in place. This includes an overwhelming majority of Democrats (79%) and a majority of independents (53%), but only about one in four Republicans (27%).

Nearly four in ten likely voters are extremely (17%) or very (21%) enthusiastic about voting for Congress this year. Fifty percent of Republicans are extremely (23%) or very (27%) enthusiastic, compared with 34 percent of Democrats (14% extremely, 20% very) and 32 percent of independents (16% extremely, 16% very).

“A majority of likely voters favor the Democratic candidate in their House district race, and nearly six in ten are more likely to support a candidate who wants Roe v. Wade kept in place,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats about voting for Congress this year.”

The new statewide survey also finds:

  • Rising prices, the economy, and housing are the top issues for Californians. Asked to name the most important issue facing California, one in four adults (27%) say jobs, the economy, and inflation. Another quarter say either housing costs/availability (12%) or homelessness (11%). The next top issues are gasoline and oil prices (7%) and water and drought (6%).

    “Many Californians mention inflation, jobs, and the economy, along with housing and gasoline prices, when asked to name the most important issue,” Baldassare said. “These responses reflect the financial strains on residents today.”

  • More than one-third of Californians—and a larger share of lower-income residents—say rising prices pose a serious hardship. A strong majority of Californians (67%) say that price increases have caused financial hardship for their households, including 36 percent who say increases have caused serious hardship. Among those with an annual household income of less than $40,000, 81 percent say rising prices pose a financial hardship, with 53 percent saying they pose a serious hardship.

    “About one in three Californians, and half of lower-income residents, say that rising prices are causing serious financial hardships for themselves,” Baldassare said.

  • Partisans differ on how to spend the state’s budget surplus; most Californians approve of the governor’s proposed package to address inflation. Asked about the state’s historic budget surplus, a plurality of Democrats (42%) favor using it to fund education and health and human services, while pluralities of Republicans (36%) and independents (30%) support refunding some of the money to the people of California. Majorities of Californians (62% adults, 54% likely voters) approve of the $18 billion package that Governor Newsom has proposed to address inflation.

    “Californians are divided along party lines on how they want to spend the state’s surplus revenues,” Baldassare said. “The majority of Californians favor the governor’s proposal to address inflation.”

  • Half of Californians support sanctions against Russia even if they lead to higher energy prices; an overwhelming majority approve of accepting Ukrainian refugees. Overall, more than seven in ten Californians support the US and its European allies imposing economic sanctions on Russia (71% adults, 80% likely voters). Half of California adults (49%) and a solid majority of likely voters (63%) are supportive even if it means higher energy prices. Overwhelming majorities (70% adults, 72% likely voters) approve of the US admitting thousands of refugees from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    “In the context of deep concerns about inflation, about half of Californians support sanctions on Russia even if they lead to higher energy prices,” Baldassare said. “An overwhelming majority say that the US should accept thousands of refugees.”

  • Majorities of Californians have a pessimistic outlook for the US. Most Californians (63% adults, 73% likely voters) think the US is going in the wrong direction, including solid majorities across party lines (90% Republicans, 75% independents, 61% Democrats). Overwhelming majorities (70% adults, 75% likely voters)—including solid majorities across partisan groups—think that the US will have bad times financially in the next 12 months. Views are more divided on California’s direction, with 45 percent (45% likely voters) saying things are headed in the right direction and 50 percent (52% likely voters) saying wrong direction. Democrats (62%) are far more likely than independents (35%) and Republicans (12%) to say right direction.

    “While deeply divided along party lines on whether the state is headed in the right direction, there is broad consensus that the nation is headed in the wrong direction and that the US will have bad times financially in the next year,” Baldassare said.

  • Majorities approve of how Governor Newsom is handling his job, while about half approve of President Biden’s job performance. Majorities of adults (53%) and likely voters (52%) approve of the governor’s job performance, similar to a year ago. Approval ratings vary across partisan lines (75% Democrats, 41% independents, 10% Republicans). Fifty percent of Californians and 48 percent of likely voters approve of President Biden’s job performance, with approval diverging along party lines (66% Democrats, 47% independents, 7% Republicans).

    “About half of Californians continue to approve of Governor Newsom and President Biden, while partisans are deeply divided in their views,” Baldassare said. Baldassare said.

About the Survey

The Californians and Their Government survey is supported with funding from the Arjay and Frances F. Miller Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation.

The findings presented above are based on responses from 1,702 California adult residents. The sampling error is ±3.9 percent for the total unweighted sample and  ±4.9 percent for the 1,179 likely voters. Interviewing took place from May 12–22, 2022. For more information, please see the methodology section in the full survey report.

Mark Baldassare is president and CEO of PPIC, where he holds the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Public Policy. He is founder of the PPIC Statewide Survey, which he has directed since 1998.

The Public Policy Institute of California is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research. We are a public charity. We do not take or support positions on any ballot measure or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor do we endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office. Research publications reflect the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of our funders or of the staff, officers, advisory councils, or board of directors of the Public Policy Institute of California.

Public Policy Institute of California