SAN FRANCISCO, September 14, 2022—With the November election two months away, two key state ballot measures—Proposition 1 on abortion rights and Proposition 30 on funding to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—have majority support among likely voters. Proposition 27, on online sports gambling, currently falls well short of majority support. Six in ten likely voters favor the Democratic candidate in their own US House district, while Governor Newsom has a sizeable lead in his race for reelection. 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, “Abortion Rights Are Number One for Californians this November.”)
After being read the ballot measure title and label, a strong majority of likely voters (69%) say they would vote “yes” on Prop 1 (constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion rights) if the election were held today, while 25% would vote “no” and 6% don’t know. Prop 30 (funding for GHG-emission reduction) has the support of 55% of likely voters (40% oppose, 5% don’t know), while about one-third (34%) favor Prop 27 (allowing online sports gambling), with 54% opposing and 12% saying they don’t know.
Sixty-one percent of likely voters say the outcome of the vote on Prop 1 is very important to them, more than for Prop 30 (42%) and Prop 27 (29%). However, partisans vary on the importance of Prop 1, with 73% of Democratic likely voters saying it is very important, compared to 51% of independents and 48% of Republicans.
”There is strong majority support for Prop 1 on constitutional abortion rights and majority support for Prop 30 on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while one in three support Prop 27 on online sports gambling,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “Of these three ballot measures, California likely voters are most likely to say the election outcome on Prop 1 is very important to them—with Democrats far more likely than Republicans to hold this perception.”
The new statewide survey also finds:
- Californians say jobs, the economy, and inflation is the top issue facing the state. More than one in four Californians (29%) name jobs, the economy, and inflation as the top issue facing the state, more than for any other issue. Thirty-eight percent say that rising prices have caused serious financial hardship for their household, including half (50%) of those with annual household incomes of less than $40,000. A strong majority (66%) say they expect the US to have bad times financially in the next 12 months, similar to the 70% who expected bad times in May.
“Californians name jobs, the economy, and inflation as the top issue facing the state,” Baldassare said. “Nearly four in ten Californians—and half of lower-income adults—have experienced serious hardships from rising prices. Most residents have a gloomy outlook on the US economy.”
- Newsom holds a sizeable lead in the governor’s race. Fifty-eight percent of likely voters would reelect Gavin Newsom, while 31% favor state senator Brian Dahle, the Republican challenger. When likely voters are asked about their choices of candidates, 73% of Democrats, 45% of independents, and 31% of Republicans say they are satisfied with their options (not satisfied: 55% of Republicans, 46% of independents, 21% of Democrats).
“Similar to the results of last year’s gubernatorial recall, 58 percent would vote for Gavin Newsom if the governor’s election were today,” Baldassare said. “Democrats are overwhelmingly satisfied with their choices of gubernatorial candidates, compared to three in ten Republicans.”
- A solid majority of likely voters prefer the Democratic candidate in their US House district race. Six in ten likely voters (60%) say that if the election were held today, they would vote for or lean toward the Democratic candidate in their US House district (34% Republican candidate; 7% don’t know). Forty-three percent of likely voters say that voting in this year’s midterm elections is more important than in past midterms, while 3% say it is less important and 54% say the importance is about the same. Across partisan groups of likely voters, 52% of Republicans, 45% of Democrats, and 37% of independents say that voting this year is more important than in prior midterms.
“Sixty percent of likely voters would support the Democratic candidate in their local US House race if the election were today,” Baldassare said. “About four in ten say that voting this year is more important than in past midterm elections, with Republicans slightly more likely than Democrats to express this view.”
- Most likely voters approve of the job being done by Newsom, Biden, and their own US House representative. Nearly half approve of the state legislature; approval is lower for Congress. Majorities of adults (52%) and likely voters (55%) approve of how Governor Newsom is handling his job. Approval was similar in May (53% adults, 52% likely voters) and has been at about 50% or more since before the pandemic. Meanwhile, nearly half of adults (49%) and likely voters (47%) approve of how the California Legislature is handling its job; similar shares (48% adults, 48% likely voters) approve of their own state legislators.
On the federal level, most adults (53%) and likely voters (53%) approve of the job that President Biden is doing, with approval varying across partisan groups: 81% of Democrats, 49% of independents, and 7% of Republicans. Most adults (54%) and likely voters (56%) approve of the job their own representative in the US House is doing, but smaller shares (39% adults, 34% likely voters) approve of how Congress overall is handling its job.
“In the early stages of this year’s midterm, majorities of likely voters approve of Governor Newsom, President Biden, and their own House member,” Baldassare said. “More than four in ten approve of the state legislature and their own state legislator, while fewer approve of Congress.”
- Most Californians have seen an increased presence of people experiencing homelessness in their community; four in ten say that violence and street crime has increased in their community. Sixty-one percent of adults and 59% of likely voters say the presence of people experiencing homelessness has increased in their local community in the past 12 months. Smaller but still notable shares—42% adults, 43% likely voters—say that violence and street crime in their community has increased in the past 12 months.
“With local elections also on the November ballot, about six in ten Californians say that the presence of the homeless has increased in their local community in the past 12 months, while four in ten say that local violence and street crime has increased,” 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 1,705 California adult residents. The sampling error is ±3.9 percent for the total unweighted sample and ±5.4 percent for the 1,060 likely voters. Interviewing took place from September 2–11, 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.