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Fact Sheet · August 2023

California’s Likely Voters

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

More than eight in ten eligible Californians are registered to vote.

  • As of February 2023, nearly 22 million of California’s 26.7 million eligible adults (82%) were registered to vote.
  • The current registration rate is 3 percentage points higher than it was in February 2019 (79%), the year preceding the last presidential election.
  • Voter registration and enthusiasm will play a big role in the statewide primary in March and the general election next November.

Likely voters lean Democratic and are ideologically mixed.

  • Among likely voters in our surveys over the past year, 49% are Democrats, 26% are Republicans, 21% are independents, and 4% are registered with other parties. Of those we consider infrequent voters, 44% are Democrats, 34% are independents, 19% are Republicans, and 3% are registered with other parties.
  • Ideologically, 38% of likely voters are politically liberal, 32% are moderate, and 30% are conservative. Among infrequent voters, 31% say they are liberal, 45% are moderate, and 24% are conservative.

Independent likely voters and unregistered adults lean Democratic, but many say they gravitate toward neither major party.

  • Among independent likely voters, 46% lean toward the Democratic Party, while 26% lean toward the Republican Party and 28% volunteer that they lean toward neither major party or are unsure.
  • Among independent infrequent voters, 35% lean Democratic, 23% lean Republican, and 42% lean toward neither party or are unsure.
  • Among unregistered adults—including noncitizens—43% lean Democratic, 18% lean Republican, and 39% lean toward neither party or are unsure.

Likely voters are disproportionately white.

  • Whites make up only 39% of California’s adult population but 52% of the state’s likely voters. In contrast, Latinos comprise 36% of the adult population but just 25% of likely voters. Asian Americans make up 16% of adults and 13% of likely voters, while 6% of adults and 6% of likely voters are African American. “Other race” and multiracial adults make up 4% of the adult population and 4% of likely voters.
  • Nearly six in ten unregistered adults, including noncitizens, are Latino (57%); fewer are white (21%), Asian American (17%), or African American (3%).

Likely voters tend to be older, more educated and affluent, homeowners, and US born.

  • Californians age 55 and older make up 35% of the state’s adult population but constitute half (50%) of likely voters. Young adults (age 18 to 34) make up 31% of the population but only 18% of likely voters, while adults age 35 to 54 account for 34% of the population and 32% of likely voters.
  • About eight in ten likely voters either have some college education (38%) or are college graduates (41%); 21% have no college education.
  • Fifty-four percent of likely voters have annual household incomes of $80,000 or more, while 26% earn between $40,000 and $79,999 and 21% earn $40,000 or less.
  • A strong majority of likely voters are homeowners (69%), while 31% are renters. In contrast, 68% of unregistered adults and 59% of infrequent voters are renters.
  • Eighty-four percent of likely voters and 80% of infrequent voters were born in the United States, compared to just 35% of unregistered adults.
  • Women (50%) and men (50%) make up equal shares of California’s likely voters.


2024 Election Political Landscape Statewide Survey