SAN FRANCISCO, October 26, 2022—In the final weeks before Election Day on November 8, support for Proposition 30, the state ballot measure on funding to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, has slid to less than a majority. On the congressional front, Democrats hold an overall edge across the 10 competitive districts that could determine which party controls the US House of Representatives. Meanwhile, fewer than half of the state’s voters are satisfied with how democracy is working in the US. 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, “Voters’ Views on November’s Propositions.”)
After being read the ballot measure title and label, 41 percent of likely voters say they would vote “yes” on Prop 30 if the election were held today, while 52 percent say they would vote “no” and 7 percent don’t know. Support for Prop 30 has fallen since September, when 55 percent of likely voters said they would vote “yes.” Today, Democrats (61%) are far more likely than independents (38%) and Republicans (15%) to say they would vote “yes.” Support for Prop 30 falls short of a majority across education levels (36% high school only, 43% some college education, 41% college graduate), across all income groups but the lowest (52% annual household income of less than $40,000, 42% $40,000 to $79,999, 36% $80,000 or above), and across every region except Los Angeles (51% Los Angeles, 44% San Francisco Bay Area, 37% Orange/San Diego, 32% Inland Empire, 29% Central Valley).
“Proposition 30 has lost favor in the past month and support is now below a majority,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “A majority of Democrats still support this initiative, but most other voter groups are now in the ‘no’ camp.”
Two closely watched ballot measures on gambling are failing to gain majority support. One in three likely voters (34%) say they would vote “yes” on Prop 26 (sports betting at tribal casinos), while one in four (26%) would vote “yes” on Prop 27 (online sports gambling).
California voters have a low level of interest in gambling on sports, with 9 percent of likely voters saying they are personally interested in sports gambling. Nearly half (48%) say that legalizing sports betting in California would be a bad thing.
“Propositions 26 and 27 both fall well short of majority support,” Baldassare said. “Few California voters have a personal interest in sports gambling and many say that legalizing it would be a bad thing for the state.”
The new statewide survey also finds:
- Democrats hold an overall edge across competitive House races. Most likely voters (56%) say that if the election were held today, they would vote for or lean toward the Democratic candidate in their US House district (39% Republican candidate, 5% don’t know). In the ten competitive California House districts according to the Cook Political Report (districts 3, 9, 13, 22, 27, 40, 41, 45, 47, and 49), 54 percent of likely voters favor the Democratic candidate, 32 percent favor the Republican, and 14 percent don’t know.
“Most California likely voters support the Democrat running in their local House race, and a majority favor the Democratic candidate across the competitive districts that will help determine which party controls the House,” Baldassare said.
- Most voters say abortion rights are an important consideration in their choice for Congress. Asked how important the issue of abortion rights is in their vote for Congress, six in ten likely voters (61%) say it is very important. Across partisan groups, 78 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents, and 43 percent of Republicans say the issue is very important. Fifty-one percent of likely voters are either extremely enthusiastic (18%) or very enthusiastic (33%) about voting for Congress this year. The level of enthusiasm is similar among Democrats (18% extremely, 36% very) and Republicans (22% extremely, 32% very).
“Six in ten say the issue of abortion rights is very important in their vote for Congress, with Democrats much more likely than Republicans to hold this view,” Baldassare said. “However, Democrats and Republicans are equally enthusiastic about voting.”
- Californians hold generally negative views of their own finances and the US economy. Four in ten Californians (39% adults, 43% likely voters) say their family is worse off financially than a year ago. Fewer Californians (17% adults, 13% likely voters) say they are better off than a year ago (the same as a year ago: 43% adults, 44% likely voters). Overwhelming majorities of Californians say the state of the US economy is either not so good (43% adults, 40% likely voters) or poor (33% adults, 36% likely voters).
“Many Californians have negative perceptions of their personal finances and the US economy this election season,” Baldassare said. “This is the political wildcard in the midterm election for Congress.”
- Fewer than half of likely voters are satisfied with how US democracy is working. Four in ten California likely voters are either very satisfied (8%) or somewhat satisfied (32%) with the way democracy is working in the US. Similarly, 39 percent of likely voters are optimistic that Americans of different political views can come together and work out their differences. This is a 16-point decline from September 2017, when we first asked this question. Across party lines, majorities of adults (59% Republicans, 55% Democrats, 52% independents) are pessimistic about Americans with different political views working out their differences.
“In the final stages of the midterm election, fewer than half of California likely voters are satisfied with the way US democracy is working, and majorities of Californians across party lines are pessimistic that Americans can work out their political differences,” Baldassare said.
- Governor Newsom continues to hold a sizeable lead in his reelection bid. Most likely voters (55%) favor incumbent Gavin Newsom in the gubernatorial election, while 36 percent favor State Senator Brian Dahle. This is similar to findings in September (58% Newsom, 31% Dahle). Across partisan groups, 91 percent of Democrats favor Newsom and 86 percent of Republicans favor Dahle, while Newsom holds an edge over Dahle (47% to 37%) among independents.
“Gavin Newsom has a strong lead in his third election since four years ago,” Baldassare said. “Partisans continue to be deeply divided while independents lean toward supporting their current governor.”
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 1,715 California adult residents. The sampling error is ±3.9 percent for the total unweighted sample and ±5.1 percent for the 1,111 likely voters. Interviewing took place from October 14–23, 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.