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Fact Sheet · August 2023

California Voter and Party Profiles

Mark Baldassare, Dean Bonner, Rachel Lawler, and Deja Thomas

Supported with funding from the Arjay and Frances F. Miller Foundation and the James Irvine Foundation

Democrats make up nearly half of registered voters; independent registration has declined in recent years.

  • The share of registered voters who are Democrats (46.9%) has increased from 2019 (43.1%), the year leading up to the last presidential election, while the share of Republicans (23.8%) has stayed steady (23.6% in 2019).
  • The share of voters who say they are independent (also known as “decline to state” or “no party preference”) is 22.5% and has declined since 2019 (28.3%). Meanwhile, the shares registering with a minor political party have increased from 5.1% in 2019 to 6.8% today.
  • Twenty years ago, during the lead up to the 2004 presidential election, Republicans made up a much higher share of the electorate (35.2% in February 2003) than today, while independents (15.3%) made up a lower share. The Democratic share (44.4%) in 2003 was slightly lower than it is today.

Most independent likely voters lean toward a major party and many are ideologically moderate.

  • In our surveys over the past year, independent likely voters have been more likely to lean Democratic (47%) than Republican (26%); 27% did not lean toward either party.
  • These shares are similar to 2019, when 43% leaned Democratic, 31% leaned Republican, and 26% did not lean toward either party.
  • Independent likely voters are much more likely to be moderate (46%) than liberal (32%) or conservative (22%). In contrast, 24% of Republican likely voters say they are moderate (72% conservative, 4% liberal), while 30% of Democratic likely voters describe themselves as moderate (60% liberal, 10% conservative).

Likely voters are disproportionately white; Democratic likely voters are more diverse.

  • Whites make up only 39% of California’s adult population but comprise 52% of likely voters. In contrast, Latinos make up 36% of the state’s adult population but only 25% of likely voters. The shares of Asian American (13%) and African American (6%) likely voters are roughly proportionate to their shares of the state’s adult population—16% for Asian Americans and 6% for African Americans.
  • More than four in ten (44%) Democratic likely voters are white; 30% are Latino, 14% are Asian American, and 8% are African American.
  • A strong majority (66%) of Republican likely voters are white; relatively few are Latino (18%), Asian American (11%), or African American (1%).
  • Among independents, 50% are white, 23% are Latino, 19% are Asian American, and 5% are African American.

Many demographic traits of likely voters differ across parties.

  • Independents (21%) and Democrats (22%) are much more likely than Republicans (9%) to be young adults (age 18 to 34), while Republicans (61%) are much more likely than Democrats (48%) or independents (43%) to be age 55 and older.
  • Democratic likely voters are much more likely to be women (57%) than men (43%), while independents are far more likely to be men (61%) than women (39%); Republicans (50% men, 50% women) are evenly divided.
  • Democrats (42%), independents (46%), and members of minor parties (50%) are somewhat more likely than Republicans (33%) to be college graduates. About one-quarter of both Democrats (22%) and Republicans (24%) have no college education.
  • One in four Democrats (25%) have household incomes under $40,000, compared to about one in six Republicans (17%) and independents (17%). Half or more across partisan groups have annual incomes of $80,000 or more (51% Democrats, 51% minor party members, 55% independents, 59% Republicans).


2024 Election Political Landscape Statewide Survey