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Does the growing trend toward “decline-to-state” voter registration portend, instead, a reshaping of the two-party system? 3 This AT ISSUE identi es the partisan differences in voter pro les and preferences, examines the decline in partisan voters and voter turnout in primaries, and considers the implications of a growing nonpartisan electorate. CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE1 MARK BALDASSARE AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PARTY PROFILES DIFFER SIGNIFICANTLY California is a “blue state” on the presidential election map, with registration statistics favoring the Democratic party (42.7%) over the Republican party (33.6%). A bout 4.4 percent of Californians register in other parties, and 19.3 percent opt for “decline to state” (i.e., independent). 4 Because neither major party has majority status, independent voters can swing general elections, but major-party voters still dominate primar y elections—and thus dictate many of the options off ered in general elections. Post-partisanship is challenged by the diff erent profi les of California’s 6.6 million Democratic voters and 5.2 million Republican voters. Recent inter views with likely voters in the PPIC Statewide Sur veys document a range of diff erences. 5 For example, women outnumber men by 14 percentage points in Democratic party registration, and men outnumber women by 8 points in Republican party registration (Fig ure 1). Over eight in 10 Republicans are white; one in three Democrats is Latino, black, or Asian (Fig ure 2). Democratic voters are more likely than Republican voters to have household incomes below $40,000 per year (29% to 22%) and to be renters (25% to 15%). However, some similarities between Democratic and Republican voters have interesting implications for the political future. Majorities of each are college graduates, and pluralities are over age 54 (43% of Democrats, 44% of Republicans). In contrast, only 30 percent of independents are over age 54. California seems headed toward replacing its aging partisan electorate with a youthful independent electorate. Geographically, the state itself appears partisan, with Democrats on the coast and Republicans inland, but the geopolitical pattern is more complex than that. A bout half of the state’s voters live in Los Angeles County and the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Most Democratic voters live in these two coastal areas and in some of the nearby coastal counties. But Republican strongholds are found in the populous Southern California counties outside Los Angeles (i.e., Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino), in the greater Central Valley (i.e., Bakersfi eld to Redding), and in the rural counties (Map 1). Voting patterns in statewide elections, including the 2004 presidential election, tend to refl ect this geographic pattern. The Democratic domination over the Republicans in California’s congressional races (34 to 19) and state legislative elections (25 to 15 in the state senate, 48 to 32 in the assembly) looks similar. 6 AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 2 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PPIC [ 3 ] Democrat Men 43% Republican FIGURE 1. THE GENDER GAP Women 46% Men 54%Women 57% Source: Combined results of 10 PPIC Statewide Sur veys conducted between July 2006 and July 2007. Democrat Republican FIGURE 2. RACIAL/ETHNIC DIFFERENCES Source: Combined results of 10 PPIC Statewide Sur veys conducted between July 2006 and July 2007.Asian 5% Black 10% Latino 20% White 63% Other 2%Asian 5% Latino 8%White 84% Black 1%Other 2% AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf MAP 1. PART Y REGISTR ATION BY COUNT Y 2004 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION Source: California Secretary of State, Repor t of Registration, December 2007.Source: California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, November 2004. Key: Democratic plurality Republican pluralityKey: Kerr y-Edwards (Democrat) Bush-Cheney (Republican) Democrat Republican FIGURE 3. POLITICAL ORIENTATION Conservative67% Middle of the Road 25% Liberal 52% Source: Combined results of 10 PPIC Statewide Sur veys conducted between July 2006 and July 2007. “Would you consider yourself to be politically ver y liberal, somewhat liberal, middle of the road, somewhat conservative, or very conservative?” Liberal 8% Middle of the Road 31% Conservative17 % AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 4 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PPIC [ 5 ] IDEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES ARE VAST The national designation of California as a “blue state,” where Democratic candidates are expected to prevail in presidential elections, suggests an ideological consistency that does not exist. Inter views with likely voters in PPIC Statewide Sur veys indicate just how great the ideological differences are. W hen asked to describe their place on the political spectrum, two in three Republicans describe themselves as conser vatives, and just over half of Democrats call themselves liberals (Fig ure 3). Only three in 10 Democrats and one in four Republicans place themselves in the political middle. Even fewer place themselves at the other end of the political spectrum from the majority of their party. In dramatic contrast, most independents describe themselves as middle-of-the-road (39%), with the remainder falling equally on the liberal (31%) and conser vative (30%) sides of the ideological spectrum. 7 Consistent with these general fi ndings, Democrats and Republicans are mirror opposites when it comes to the preferred role of government and, specifi cally, spending, taxes, and program expansion. For instance, in a recent PPIC Statewide Sur vey, seven in 10 Democrats said that they preferred to pay higher taxes and have a state government that provides more ser vices, whereas a similar seven in 10 Republicans preferred the opposite—lower taxes and a state government that provides fewer ser vices (Fig ure 4). In contrast, independent voters in the same sur vey were divided on the question of higher taxes and more ser vices versus lower taxes and fewer ser vices. 8 POLICY DIFFERENCES REFLECT VENUS AND MARS California’s Democratic and Republican voters also differ in what they consider the top policy issues. Overall, in the September PPIC Statewide Sur vey, immigration and health care were named about equally as the most important issue facing California today. Yet Republicans declared immigration the most important issue, and Democrats named health care as their top concern. 9 Perceptions of given policy issues also differ. In the June PPIC sur vey, when asked which position refl ects their views on AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Don't know Lower taxes, fewer services Higher taxes, more services Republican Democrat Percentage (%) FIGURE 4. PREFERRED ROLE OF GOVERNMENT Source: PPIC Statewide Sur vey, May 2007. “In general, which of the following statements do you agree with more: I’d rather pay higher taxes and have a state government that provides more ser vices or I’d rather pay lower taxes and have a state government that provides fewer ser vices?” AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 6 FIGURE 5. I M M I G R AT I O N AT T I T U D E S Source: PPIC Statewide Sur vey, June 2007. “Please indicate which statement comes closest to your own view — even if neither is exactly right. (1) Immigrants today are a bene t to California because of their hard work and job skills (or) (2) Immigrants today are a burden to California because they use public ser vices.” Democrat Republican Benefit 32% Burden 59nefit 61% Don’t know 9% Burden30% Don’t know 9% AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf immigration, by a two-to-one margin Democrats described immigrants as a benefi t rather than a burden to California, because of their hard work and skills (Fig ure 5). In contrast, a similar two-to- one margin of Republicans said that immigrants are a burden rather than a benefi t, because they use public ser vices. 10 They also differ sharply on health care reform. In our Januar y sur vey, nearly two in three Republicans said that they prefer the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers but some people have no insurance (Fig ure 6). In contrast, seven in 10 Democrats said that they favored a universal health insurance program, in which ever yone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and fi nanced by taxpayers. 11 Strong differences across party lines have consistently emerged in the past few years on attitudes involving the Iraq war. In the June PPIC sur vey, nine in 10 Democrats said it was not worth going to war in Iraq, whereas six in 10 Republicans held the opposite view. There are also vastly different views across parties on the president’s handling of the Iraq war, the effects of the U.S. troop surge, support for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops, and optimism about the likely outcome of this confl ict. 12 On the issue of gay marriage and abortion rights, the views of most Republican and Democratic offi ceholders refl ect the views of their rank and fi le. A lthough six in 10 Democratic voters in the June PPIC sur vey said that they were in favor of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marr y, seven in 10 Republicans opposed this policy change. Moreover, four in 10 GOP voters said that they wanted to see the Supreme Court make it harder than it is now to get an abortion; this view was held by just one in six Democrats. 13 A lthough GOP Governor Schwarzenegger and the Democratic legislators have agreed to make environmental policy a state priority—signing global warming measures into law in 2006—voters in their respective parties have different opinions on this subject. In the July PPIC sur vey, seven in 10 Democrats said that the presidential candidates’ positions on environmental issues such as air pollution, global warming, and energ y policy would be ver y important PPIC [ 7 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 8 FIGURE 6. HEALTH CARE REFORM Source: PPIC Statewide Sur vey, January 2007. “Which would you prefer: (1) the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance (or) (2) a universal health insurance program, in which ever yone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and nanced by taxpayers?” 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Don't know Universal health insurance Current system Republican Democrat Percentage (%) FIGURE 7. GAY MARRIAGE Democrat Republican Don’t know 5% Oppose 34% Favor 61% Don’t know 6% Favor 24% Oppose70% Source: PPIC Statewide Sur vey, June 2007. “Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married?” AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf in determining their vote in 2008. Only half as many Republicans agreed. In the same sur vey, Republicans were more than twice as likely as Democrats to favor more oil drilling off the California coast. Similarly, six in 10 GOP voters favored and close to six in 10 Democratic voters opposed the idea of building more nuclear power plants. 14 W hen we compare the PPIC Statewide Sur veys in the 2004 presidential election year with the most recent PPIC Statewide Sur veys in 2007, Republicans and Democrats have not changed much in their responses to sur vey questions on the role of state government, immigrants, health care reform, gay marriages, and offshore oil drilling. Responses to questions regarding federal government spending, poverty, and global warming also show little change. The biggest changes are in attitudes toward the Iraq war, with a narrowing of the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans. On this still deeply divisive issue, Democratic attitudes have shifted ver y little over time, whereas Republicans have become less supportive of U.S. policy in Iraq. 15 A DIVIDED ELECTORATE MAKES THE INDEPENDENT VOTE CRITICAL Strong partisan leanings of California voters are evident in statewide candidate elections, as well as state propositions on a range of policy issues. In candidate elections, partisan voters rarely break ranks with their party’s choice. Since California is a state where the Democrats have a registration edge but fall short of a majority, the support of the almost one in fi ve independents in the electorate is critical for victor y. Similarly, ballot measures favored by major-party voters need support from independents to reach a majority. California was a “blue state” in the 2004 presidential race, and the Kerr y-Edwards ticket easily won the election against the Bush-Cheney ticket (54% to 44%). A lthough the Democratic margin of victor y was 10 points, GOP voters supported the Republican ticket by a ver y wide margin (91% to 8%). The Democratic ticket was favored by Democratic voters by an similarly wide margin (92% to 7%), and independents supported Kerr y-Edwards over Bush-Cheney (56% to 41%). 16 PPIC [ 9 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf In that same general election, Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer easily won a third term over GOP challenger Bill Jones (58% to 38%). Once again, Jones had the over whelming support of the GOP voters (81% to 16%), Boxer was almost unanimously favored by Democratic voters (93% to 4%), and independents gave their solid support to the Democratic candidate (56% to 37%). 17 Partisanship was also evident in tax and spending measures on the November 2004 ballot. Proposition 71 provided state bonds for stem cell research and received 59 percent of the vote. A lthough it passed over whelmingly among Democrats (77%), it had weak support among GOP voters (37%), but it easily won among independents (61%). Proposition 72 would have expanded health insurance coverage but lost narrowly (51%). It passed by a wide margin among Democrats (72%), but it had little support among Republicans (21%) and fell just short of majority support among independents (49%). 18 Governor Schwarzenegger’s reelection in 2006 marked a rare recent exception to the pattern of Democratic victor y in statewide elections. In that election, Schwarzenegger won by 17 points (56% to 39%). A lthough Democratic voters supported their candidate, Phil Angelides, by a wide margin (66% to 30%), the GOP incumbent had 92 percent of his party’s vote and 54 percent of the independent vote. Meanwhile, in other statewide races in November 2006, Democratic statewide candidates won in fi ve of the six contests for the other executive branch offi ces. Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein easily won reelection over GOP challenger Richard Mountjoy (59% to 35%). In that same election, Democratic and independent voters strongly endorsed the four bond measures placed on the ballot by the governor and legislature (i.e., Propositions 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E), assuring the passage of this multi-billion-dollar bond package despite opposition to two of the four measures by the GOP voters. A year earlier, over whelming rejection by Democratic and independent voters of the four reform initiatives endorsed by the governor sealed their defeat, despite strong support for them by GOP voters. 19 AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 10 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf Governor Schwarzenegger’sreelection marked a rare recent exception to the pattern of Democratic victory instatewide elections. PPIC [ 11 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf FIGURE 9. VOTER PARTICIPATION IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEARS Sources: California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, November 2004, March 2004, November 2000, March 2000, November 1996, March 1996, November 1992, June 1992, November 1988, and June 1988. Participation (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Primary General 2004 2000 1996 1992 1988 Sources: California Secretary of State, Repor t of Registration, October 2004; and California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, November 1988. Note: The percentages reflect the statistics from the closing date for registration in the general election. FIGURE 8. PART Y REGISTR ATION IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEARS Registration (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Decline to state Other parties Republican Democratic 2004 2000 1996 1992 1988 AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 12 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf DIVIDED THEY FALL? Despite—or perhaps because—of the deep partisan divisions, there is substantial evidence in voter registration statistics and primar y voting trends that Californians are moving away from partisan politics. If we look at the close of voter registration statistics during the past fi ve presidential elections, the share of Democratic and Republican voters has dropped steadily and by a total of 11 points between 1988 (89%) and 2004 (77.7%) (Fig ure 8). At the same time, the proportion of voters outside the major parties has more than doubled, from 11 percent in 1988 (2% all third parties, 9% independents) to 22.3 percent (4.6% all third parties, 17.7% independents) in 2004. 20 Recent reports from the California Secretar y of State are even more revealing: They provide solid evidence of an actual decline in the numbers of partisan voters in California. Since October 2000, the number of adults eligible to vote has increased by 1.5 million in California as the state added new residents to its already large population. Yet, the overall numbers of registered voters in the most recent fi g ures is 15.5 million compared to 15.7 million in October 2000. At the same time, the combined numbers of Democratic and Republican voters shrank from 12.6 million to 11.8 million. With the numbers registered to third parties also shrinking, the grow th of independents largely explains the decline in number of major-party voters. 21 In this context, California has had low voter turnouts in the past fi ve presidential primaries. On average, about one in three of those eligible to vote have cast ballots. In 1996, the primar y date was moved from June to March to encourage voting in presidential primaries, but the turnout dipped to a low of 30.5 percent in March 2004. The presidential primar y has been moved to Februar y in 2008, with the expectation of a more signifi cant role in national politics. 22 Party rules are among the factors that could aff ect voter turnout in the Februar y 2008 primar y. They permit independents to vote in the Democratic but not the GOP primar y. Still, according to recent PPIC sur veys, a small proportion of independents plan to vote in the PPIC [ 13 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf presidential primar y. 23 Since the June 2008 primar y will not include any statewide candidate races, most political obser vers are expecting a ver y low turnout. California’s voting record in the fi ve presidential elections, compared to the primaries, shows higher levels of participation. Still, November ballots on average were cast by just over half of those eligible to vote. The 2008 elections have much in common with the 2000 elections, when 7.9 million voted in the presidential primar y and 11.1 million voted in the general election, since neither party had an incumbent running for president in 2000 (Table 1). Still, voter turnout is diffi cult to predict because the large numbers of independents are not driven to the polls to express partisan preferences in presidential elections. 24 FUTURE PROSPECTS AND CONSEQUENCES We asked at the outset if the governor’s belief in a new post-partisan era was realistic. The evidence suggests that major-party voters have such signifi cant diff erences in demographic profi les and voter preferences that opportunities for Democratic and Republican voters to fi nd common ground on issues are limited. At the same time, the state appears to be headed in a nonpartisan direction, refl ecting a widespread rejection of the major parties and their ideological divisions. If current registration trends continue, we expect that there will be more independents than either Republican or Democratic voters by 2025. 25 Majorities of Californians say the two parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third party is needed. PPIC Statewide Sur veys fi nd that four in 10 independents were former major-party members and seven in 10 prefer to be unaffi liated with any party. 26 Both the partisan divide and the grow th of nonpartisanship have important consequences for the democratic process. As the party rolls shrink and Democratic and Republican voters refl ect views of the opposite ends of the political spectrum, the results of party votes in state primaries will inevitably result in a polarization of the legislative branch. Because our redistricting process has been built for incumbent protection in local districts, the Democratic and Republican offi cials elected to represent the voters in the legislature will refl ect liberal and conser vative rather than more centrist views. ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 14 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf TA B L E 1. PART Y REGISTR ATION AND VOTER PARTICIPATION, 2000 AND 2007 Millions of Participants 2000 2007 Eligible adults 21.523.0 Registered voters 15.715. 5 Democratic 7.16 . 6 Republican 5.55.2 Other parties 0.80.7 Decline to state 2.33.0 Primary voters 7. 9— Election voters 11.1— Sources: California Secretary of State, Repor t of Registration, October 2000, December 2007; and California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, March 2000, November 2000. PPIC [ 15 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf The large and growing numbers of independents in California, in the meantime, can express their political will in statewide elections, such as for governor, U.S. senator, or U.S. president, assuming that the outcomes of the party primaries provide them with one or more moderate candidates. However, in recent years, when governors with more centrist views than their parties (e.g., Wilson, Davis, Schwarzenegger) were elected, they then faced major hurdles in fi nding common ground with legislators—including those in their own parties. The inability of the governor and legislature, and the two parties in the legislature, to reach consensus results in increasing use of the ballot box to circumvent the gridlock in the legislature. Such evident failures of the two-party system tend to accelerate the nonpartisan movement. 27 POLICY IMPLICATIONS AND OPTIONS With no signs that the deep rifts between Democratic and Republican voters are shrinking, Californians can expect to have state and federal legislators who largely refl ect the liberal-conser vative split of major-party voters in the party primaries. The two-party system will continue to refl ect the will of fewer and fewer people in the future, unless the parties focus on expanding their base, on inclusiveness instead of ideological purity and exclusivity. The eff ort to open up the Democratic primar y to independents is one such eff ort, but it seems to have had little eff ect on convincing the nonpartisans to get involved in partisan primaries. W hat are some other options? We can suggest six proposals to involve more independent voters and increase the numbers of moderate voices involved in choosing elected representatives: (1) State-level primaries could permit voters to vote for candidates regardless of the voter’s and the candidate’s party. Then, the two top vote-getters could have a runoff in the general election. (2) State-level primaries could be eliminated and replaced with instant runoff s in general elections. In such a system, candidate victories are decided by general election voters selecting both their fi rst and second choices. (3) General elections could use a proportional representation ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 16 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf formula. As a result, the numbers of Democratic, Republican, independent, and third-party seats in the legislature would be based on the percentage of the vote each receives, rather than winner-take-all in local districts. (4) Legislative races in general elections could be nonpartisan. In such a system, ballots would list candidates without party labels, as in mayoral, city council, and county board of super visor races in California. (5) Campaign fi nance reforms, such as public fi nancing, could be implemented in elections. In this way, nonpartisans and moderates could become fi nancially competitive against partisan candidates who can attract support from ideological and interest groups. (6) Future legislative redistricting could focus on party competition rather than incumbent advantages. In line with state trends, local elections with partisan parity would be decided by centrist and independent voters. W hat might happen if the shrinking numbers of major-party voters continue to impose their will on representative democracy? The legislature’s debates will be less and less refl ective of the policy concerns of average Californians. Partisan gridlock will force the governor and legislature to bring more public policy issues to the ballot box for voters to decide. Special elections will become more commonplace as voters are called upon to make tough policy choices on a more frequent basis. Voters will turn to the three tools of direct democracy—initiative, referendum, and recall—to get the policies and lawmakers that they want. Independents will have a greater and greater infl uence on the statewide election outcomes in candidate races and ballot measures as their numbers increase and the partisan vote continues to shrink. A ll these trends would make a reshaping of the two-party system more likely than the kind of post-partisanship the governor envisions. PPIC [ 17 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf NOTES 1 I would like to acknowledge the research suppor t provided to this study by Dean Bonner, Jennifer Paluch, and Sonja Petek and the generous funding received from The James Irvine Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for the PPIC Statewide Surveys. I thank David Lesher, Paul Lewis, Eric McGhee, Max Neiman, Joyce Peterson, and Deborah Reed for their helpful reviews. 2 “Transcript of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Second Inaugural Address,” Office of the Governor, Sacramento, California, Januar y 5 , 2007. 3 For a discussion of related national political trends, see, for example, Stanley B. Greenberg, The Two Americas , St. Mar tin’s Press, New York, 2004; Morris Fiorina, Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America, Longman, New York, 2006; The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Beyond Red vs. Blue , Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., May 2005; and The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Trends in Political Attitudes and Core Values: 1987–2007 , Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., May 2005. For a discussion of related political reforms, see, for example, Steven Hill, Fixing Elections , Routledge, London, 2003; and Steven Hill, 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy , Polipoint Press, Sausalito, California, 2006. 4 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is California Secretar y of State, Report of Registration , Sacramento, California, December 2007. 5 The PPIC Statewide Sur vey is an ongoing series directed by the author that uses random-digit dial telephone inter viewing meth ods with at least 2,000 California adults per wave. Some of the analyses that follow include individual sur vey waves; for more informati on on the methodology, see the PPIC Statewide Sur vey repor ts. Some of the analyses here involve data aggregated over 10 sur vey waves cond ucted from July 2006 to July 2007 to provide a large and representative sample of all adults (n = 21,529) and likely voters in electi ons (n = 11,323). The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are the combined PPIC sur veys and “California Voter and Par ty Profiles,” Just the Facts , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007. 6 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Report of Registration , Sacramento, California, December 2007; California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote, Sacramento, California, November 2004; and “California’s November 2006 Election,” Just the Facts , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, December 2006. 7 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “California Voter and Par ty Profiles,” Just the Facts, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007. 8 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, May 2007, including inter views with 2,005 adults and 986 likely voters. 9 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 1,045 likely vot ers. 10 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, June 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 983 likely voters. 11 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, Januar y 2007, including inter views with 2,014 adults and 1,180 likely voter s. 12 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, June 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 983 likely voters. 13 Ib i d. 14 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and the Environment,” PPIC Statewide Survey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, July 2007, including inter views with 2,500 adults and 1,238 likely voters. 15 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “California’s Par tisan Divide,” Just the Facts, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007. 16 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , Sacramento, California, November 2004; and the Los Angeles Times Exit Poll , November 2004. ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 18 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf 17 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote, Sacramento, California, November 2004; and the Los Angeles Times Exit Poll , November 2004. 18 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , Sacramento, California, November 2004; and the Los Angeles Times Exit Poll , November 2004. 19 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , Sacramento, California, November 2006; “Californians and the Initiative Process,” PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, November 2005, including inter views with 2,002 special election voters; and “Californians and the Future,” PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, November 2006, including inter views with 2,000 general elec tion voters. 20 The sources for data reported in the accompanying text are California Secretary of State, Report of Registration, Sacramento, California, October 2004; and California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, Sacramento, California, November 1988. 21 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Report of Registration, Sacramento, California, October 2000, December 2007, with the numbers derived from the 29-day repor t for the November 2000 election and the 60-day repo rt for the Februar y 2008 primar y. See the discussions about California political par ties and independents in Mark Baldassare, California in the New Millennium , University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 2000; Mark Baldassare, A California State of Mind , University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 2002; Mark Baldassare and Cher yl Katz, The Coming Age of Direct Democracy , Roman and Littlefield, New York, 2007; Gar y Jacobson, “Par tisan and Ideological Polarization in the California Electorate,” Politics and Policy Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2004, pp. 113 –139; David Lesher and Mark Baldassare, “California’s Independent Streak,” Los Angeles Times, Februar y 19, 2006; and Mark Baldassare and David Lesher, “California Registers Growing Numbers of Independents,” Sacramento Bee , October 29, 2006. 22 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , Sacramento, California, March 2004, March 2000, March 1996, June 1992, and June 1988. 23 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 1,045 likely vot ers. 24 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , November 2004, March 2004, November 2000, March 2000, November 1996, March 1996, November 1992, June 1992, November 1988, and June 1988. 25 See David Lesher and Mark Baldassare, “California’s Independent Streak,” Los Angeles Times, Februar y 19, 2006; Mark Baldassare and David Lesher, “California Registers Growing Numbers of Independents,” Sacramento Bee , October 29, 2006. 26 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, June 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 983 likely voters; an d “Californians and the Future”, PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, October 2006, including inter views with 2,002 adults and 1,076 likely voters. 27 See Mark Baldassare and Cher yl Katz, The Coming Age of Direct Democracy, Roman and Littlefield, New York, 2007. PPIC [ 19 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf Eric McGhee Research Fellow, 415.291.4439, mcghee@ppic.org Expertise Elections – California redistricting reform – State and local voter initiatives – Voting behavior Legislative behavior – Legislative organization – Responsiveness to public opinion – State term limits Political participation Political parties and party polarization Polling and public opinion Education Ph.D. (2003) and M.A. (1998), political science, University of California, Berkeley PPIC EXPERTS Mark Baldassare President and Chief Executive Officer, 415.291.4427, baldassare@ppic.org Expertise Public opinion Public policy preferences Elections State initiatives State and local government relations Political participation Demographics Education Ph.D. (1976), sociology, University of California, Berkeley M.A. (1973), sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara Max Neiman Associate Director, Senior Fellow, 415.291.4441, neiman@ppic.org Expertise Local government – Government structure – Population growth – Regional and metropolitan governance – Urban and suburban politics – Local taxation and spending – Evaluation of local government performance – Local elections – Effect of local government on state and national policy Local economic development Urban development Education Ph.D. (1973) and M.A. (1968), political science, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 20 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf RELATED PPIC PUBLICATIONS At Issue: California’s Exclusive Electorate Mark Baldassare September 2006 The Season of Our Discontent: Voters’ Views on California Elections Mark Baldassare, Bruce E. Cain, D. E. Apollonio, and Jonathan Cohen October 2004 A California State of Mind: The Conflicted Voter in a Changing World Mark Baldassare September 2002 California in the New Millennium: The Changing Social and Political Landscape Mark Baldassare April 2000 Just the Facts This publication series provides detailed statistics on a wide range of current issues. Please see http://www.ppic.org/main/allpubs.asp?sort=type#a14 for Just The Facts relevant to legislative reform. PPIC Statewide Survey This survey series provides timely and comprehensive public opinion data on the urgent social, economic, and political issues facing all Californians. Please see http://www.ppic.org/main/allpubs.asp?sort=type#a12 for information about the survey and complete text of all surveys. Karthick Ramakrishnan Adjunct Fellow, University of California, Riverside, 951.827.5540, karthick@ucr.edu Expertise Political participation Voter turnout | Non-electoral participation Civic participation and volunteerism Immigration and immigrants Racial and ethnic populations Public opinion and social relations | Latino and Asian American politics Education Ph.D. (2002), politics, Princeton University PPIC [ 21 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PPIC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Thomas C. Sutton, Chair Retired Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Pacific Life Insurance Company Mark Baldassare President and Chief Executive Officer Public Policy Institute of California Ruben Barrales President and Chief Executive Officer San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Linda Griego President and Chief Executive Officer Griego Enterprises, Inc. Edward K. Hamilton Chairman Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Associates, Inc. Gary K. Hart Former State Senator and Secretary of Education State of California Walter B. Hewlett Director Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities Donna Lucas Chief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs Leon E. Panetta Director The Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy Ki Suh Park Design and Managing Partner Gruen Associates Constance L . Rice Co-Director The Advancement Project Raymond L. Watson Vice Chairman of the Board Emeritus The Irvine Company Carol Whiteside President Great Valley Center AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 22 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf © Januar y 2008 by Public Policy Institute of California. All rights reser ved. San Francisco, CA Short sections of text, not to exceed three paragraphs, may be quoted without written permission provided that full attribution is given to the source and the above copyright notice is included. PPIC does not take or support positions on any ballot measure or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it 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 the staff, officers, or Board of Directors of the Public Policy Institute of California. This publication was funded in part by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. PPIC [ 23 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE of500 WASHINGTON STREET, SUITE 600 ANCISCO, CA 9 4111 P 415.291.4400415.291.4401www.ppic.org PPIC SACR 11b1 L STREET, SUITE 801 AMENTO, CA 95814 P 916.4 4 0.1120916.4 4 0.1121 DOWNLOAD THIS PUBLICATION FREE OF CHARGE AT WWW.PPIC.ORG AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf" } ["___content":protected]=> string(106) "

AI 108MBAI

" ["_permalink":protected]=> string(77) "https://www.ppic.org/publication/californias-post-partisan-future/ai_108mbai/" ["_next":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_prev":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_css_class":protected]=> NULL ["id"]=> int(8633) ["ID"]=> int(8633) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_content"]=> string(0) "" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:39:22" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(3890) ["post_status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["post_title"]=> string(10) "AI 108MBAI" ["post_type"]=> string(10) "attachment" ["slug"]=> string(10) "ai_108mbai" ["__type":protected]=> NULL ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(14) "AI_108MBAI.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(7) "4045308" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(40318) "PPIC [ 1 ] In his second inaugural address, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger surprised the state’s partisan political establishment by declaring “I believe that we have an opportunity to move past partisanship…to move past bi-partisanship…to move to post-partisanship,” which he de ned as “Republicans and Democrats actively giving birth to new ideas together.” 2 But how realistic is the governor’s belief? Is the partisan divide in California so deep that it precludes such accord? Does the growing trend toward “decline-to-state” voter registration portend, instead, a reshaping of the two-party system? 3 This AT ISSUE identi es the partisan differences in voter pro les and preferences, examines the decline in partisan voters and voter turnout in primaries, and considers the implications of a growing nonpartisan electorate. CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE1 MARK BALDASSARE AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PARTY PROFILES DIFFER SIGNIFICANTLY California is a “blue state” on the presidential election map, with registration statistics favoring the Democratic party (42.7%) over the Republican party (33.6%). A bout 4.4 percent of Californians register in other parties, and 19.3 percent opt for “decline to state” (i.e., independent). 4 Because neither major party has majority status, independent voters can swing general elections, but major-party voters still dominate primar y elections—and thus dictate many of the options off ered in general elections. Post-partisanship is challenged by the diff erent profi les of California’s 6.6 million Democratic voters and 5.2 million Republican voters. Recent inter views with likely voters in the PPIC Statewide Sur veys document a range of diff erences. 5 For example, women outnumber men by 14 percentage points in Democratic party registration, and men outnumber women by 8 points in Republican party registration (Fig ure 1). Over eight in 10 Republicans are white; one in three Democrats is Latino, black, or Asian (Fig ure 2). Democratic voters are more likely than Republican voters to have household incomes below $40,000 per year (29% to 22%) and to be renters (25% to 15%). However, some similarities between Democratic and Republican voters have interesting implications for the political future. Majorities of each are college graduates, and pluralities are over age 54 (43% of Democrats, 44% of Republicans). In contrast, only 30 percent of independents are over age 54. California seems headed toward replacing its aging partisan electorate with a youthful independent electorate. Geographically, the state itself appears partisan, with Democrats on the coast and Republicans inland, but the geopolitical pattern is more complex than that. A bout half of the state’s voters live in Los Angeles County and the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. Most Democratic voters live in these two coastal areas and in some of the nearby coastal counties. But Republican strongholds are found in the populous Southern California counties outside Los Angeles (i.e., Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino), in the greater Central Valley (i.e., Bakersfi eld to Redding), and in the rural counties (Map 1). Voting patterns in statewide elections, including the 2004 presidential election, tend to refl ect this geographic pattern. The Democratic domination over the Republicans in California’s congressional races (34 to 19) and state legislative elections (25 to 15 in the state senate, 48 to 32 in the assembly) looks similar. 6 AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 2 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PPIC [ 3 ] Democrat Men 43% Republican FIGURE 1. THE GENDER GAP Women 46% Men 54%Women 57% Source: Combined results of 10 PPIC Statewide Sur veys conducted between July 2006 and July 2007. Democrat Republican FIGURE 2. RACIAL/ETHNIC DIFFERENCES Source: Combined results of 10 PPIC Statewide Sur veys conducted between July 2006 and July 2007.Asian 5% Black 10% Latino 20% White 63% Other 2%Asian 5% Latino 8%White 84% Black 1%Other 2% AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf MAP 1. PART Y REGISTR ATION BY COUNT Y 2004 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION Source: California Secretary of State, Repor t of Registration, December 2007.Source: California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, November 2004. Key: Democratic plurality Republican pluralityKey: Kerr y-Edwards (Democrat) Bush-Cheney (Republican) Democrat Republican FIGURE 3. POLITICAL ORIENTATION Conservative67% Middle of the Road 25% Liberal 52% Source: Combined results of 10 PPIC Statewide Sur veys conducted between July 2006 and July 2007. “Would you consider yourself to be politically ver y liberal, somewhat liberal, middle of the road, somewhat conservative, or very conservative?” Liberal 8% Middle of the Road 31% Conservative17 % AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 4 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PPIC [ 5 ] IDEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES ARE VAST The national designation of California as a “blue state,” where Democratic candidates are expected to prevail in presidential elections, suggests an ideological consistency that does not exist. Inter views with likely voters in PPIC Statewide Sur veys indicate just how great the ideological differences are. W hen asked to describe their place on the political spectrum, two in three Republicans describe themselves as conser vatives, and just over half of Democrats call themselves liberals (Fig ure 3). Only three in 10 Democrats and one in four Republicans place themselves in the political middle. Even fewer place themselves at the other end of the political spectrum from the majority of their party. In dramatic contrast, most independents describe themselves as middle-of-the-road (39%), with the remainder falling equally on the liberal (31%) and conser vative (30%) sides of the ideological spectrum. 7 Consistent with these general fi ndings, Democrats and Republicans are mirror opposites when it comes to the preferred role of government and, specifi cally, spending, taxes, and program expansion. For instance, in a recent PPIC Statewide Sur vey, seven in 10 Democrats said that they preferred to pay higher taxes and have a state government that provides more ser vices, whereas a similar seven in 10 Republicans preferred the opposite—lower taxes and a state government that provides fewer ser vices (Fig ure 4). In contrast, independent voters in the same sur vey were divided on the question of higher taxes and more ser vices versus lower taxes and fewer ser vices. 8 POLICY DIFFERENCES REFLECT VENUS AND MARS California’s Democratic and Republican voters also differ in what they consider the top policy issues. Overall, in the September PPIC Statewide Sur vey, immigration and health care were named about equally as the most important issue facing California today. Yet Republicans declared immigration the most important issue, and Democrats named health care as their top concern. 9 Perceptions of given policy issues also differ. In the June PPIC sur vey, when asked which position refl ects their views on AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Don't know Lower taxes, fewer services Higher taxes, more services Republican Democrat Percentage (%) FIGURE 4. PREFERRED ROLE OF GOVERNMENT Source: PPIC Statewide Sur vey, May 2007. “In general, which of the following statements do you agree with more: I’d rather pay higher taxes and have a state government that provides more ser vices or I’d rather pay lower taxes and have a state government that provides fewer ser vices?” AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 6 FIGURE 5. I M M I G R AT I O N AT T I T U D E S Source: PPIC Statewide Sur vey, June 2007. “Please indicate which statement comes closest to your own view — even if neither is exactly right. (1) Immigrants today are a bene t to California because of their hard work and job skills (or) (2) Immigrants today are a burden to California because they use public ser vices.” Democrat Republican Benefit 32% Burden 59nefit 61% Don’t know 9% Burden30% Don’t know 9% AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf immigration, by a two-to-one margin Democrats described immigrants as a benefi t rather than a burden to California, because of their hard work and skills (Fig ure 5). In contrast, a similar two-to- one margin of Republicans said that immigrants are a burden rather than a benefi t, because they use public ser vices. 10 They also differ sharply on health care reform. In our Januar y sur vey, nearly two in three Republicans said that they prefer the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers but some people have no insurance (Fig ure 6). In contrast, seven in 10 Democrats said that they favored a universal health insurance program, in which ever yone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and fi nanced by taxpayers. 11 Strong differences across party lines have consistently emerged in the past few years on attitudes involving the Iraq war. In the June PPIC sur vey, nine in 10 Democrats said it was not worth going to war in Iraq, whereas six in 10 Republicans held the opposite view. There are also vastly different views across parties on the president’s handling of the Iraq war, the effects of the U.S. troop surge, support for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops, and optimism about the likely outcome of this confl ict. 12 On the issue of gay marriage and abortion rights, the views of most Republican and Democratic offi ceholders refl ect the views of their rank and fi le. A lthough six in 10 Democratic voters in the June PPIC sur vey said that they were in favor of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marr y, seven in 10 Republicans opposed this policy change. Moreover, four in 10 GOP voters said that they wanted to see the Supreme Court make it harder than it is now to get an abortion; this view was held by just one in six Democrats. 13 A lthough GOP Governor Schwarzenegger and the Democratic legislators have agreed to make environmental policy a state priority—signing global warming measures into law in 2006—voters in their respective parties have different opinions on this subject. In the July PPIC sur vey, seven in 10 Democrats said that the presidential candidates’ positions on environmental issues such as air pollution, global warming, and energ y policy would be ver y important PPIC [ 7 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 8 FIGURE 6. HEALTH CARE REFORM Source: PPIC Statewide Sur vey, January 2007. “Which would you prefer: (1) the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance (or) (2) a universal health insurance program, in which ever yone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and nanced by taxpayers?” 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Don't know Universal health insurance Current system Republican Democrat Percentage (%) FIGURE 7. GAY MARRIAGE Democrat Republican Don’t know 5% Oppose 34% Favor 61% Don’t know 6% Favor 24% Oppose70% Source: PPIC Statewide Sur vey, June 2007. “Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married?” AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf in determining their vote in 2008. Only half as many Republicans agreed. In the same sur vey, Republicans were more than twice as likely as Democrats to favor more oil drilling off the California coast. Similarly, six in 10 GOP voters favored and close to six in 10 Democratic voters opposed the idea of building more nuclear power plants. 14 W hen we compare the PPIC Statewide Sur veys in the 2004 presidential election year with the most recent PPIC Statewide Sur veys in 2007, Republicans and Democrats have not changed much in their responses to sur vey questions on the role of state government, immigrants, health care reform, gay marriages, and offshore oil drilling. Responses to questions regarding federal government spending, poverty, and global warming also show little change. The biggest changes are in attitudes toward the Iraq war, with a narrowing of the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans. On this still deeply divisive issue, Democratic attitudes have shifted ver y little over time, whereas Republicans have become less supportive of U.S. policy in Iraq. 15 A DIVIDED ELECTORATE MAKES THE INDEPENDENT VOTE CRITICAL Strong partisan leanings of California voters are evident in statewide candidate elections, as well as state propositions on a range of policy issues. In candidate elections, partisan voters rarely break ranks with their party’s choice. Since California is a state where the Democrats have a registration edge but fall short of a majority, the support of the almost one in fi ve independents in the electorate is critical for victor y. Similarly, ballot measures favored by major-party voters need support from independents to reach a majority. California was a “blue state” in the 2004 presidential race, and the Kerr y-Edwards ticket easily won the election against the Bush-Cheney ticket (54% to 44%). A lthough the Democratic margin of victor y was 10 points, GOP voters supported the Republican ticket by a ver y wide margin (91% to 8%). The Democratic ticket was favored by Democratic voters by an similarly wide margin (92% to 7%), and independents supported Kerr y-Edwards over Bush-Cheney (56% to 41%). 16 PPIC [ 9 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf In that same general election, Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer easily won a third term over GOP challenger Bill Jones (58% to 38%). Once again, Jones had the over whelming support of the GOP voters (81% to 16%), Boxer was almost unanimously favored by Democratic voters (93% to 4%), and independents gave their solid support to the Democratic candidate (56% to 37%). 17 Partisanship was also evident in tax and spending measures on the November 2004 ballot. Proposition 71 provided state bonds for stem cell research and received 59 percent of the vote. A lthough it passed over whelmingly among Democrats (77%), it had weak support among GOP voters (37%), but it easily won among independents (61%). Proposition 72 would have expanded health insurance coverage but lost narrowly (51%). It passed by a wide margin among Democrats (72%), but it had little support among Republicans (21%) and fell just short of majority support among independents (49%). 18 Governor Schwarzenegger’s reelection in 2006 marked a rare recent exception to the pattern of Democratic victor y in statewide elections. In that election, Schwarzenegger won by 17 points (56% to 39%). A lthough Democratic voters supported their candidate, Phil Angelides, by a wide margin (66% to 30%), the GOP incumbent had 92 percent of his party’s vote and 54 percent of the independent vote. Meanwhile, in other statewide races in November 2006, Democratic statewide candidates won in fi ve of the six contests for the other executive branch offi ces. Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein easily won reelection over GOP challenger Richard Mountjoy (59% to 35%). In that same election, Democratic and independent voters strongly endorsed the four bond measures placed on the ballot by the governor and legislature (i.e., Propositions 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E), assuring the passage of this multi-billion-dollar bond package despite opposition to two of the four measures by the GOP voters. A year earlier, over whelming rejection by Democratic and independent voters of the four reform initiatives endorsed by the governor sealed their defeat, despite strong support for them by GOP voters. 19 AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 10 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf Governor Schwarzenegger’sreelection marked a rare recent exception to the pattern of Democratic victory instatewide elections. PPIC [ 11 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf FIGURE 9. VOTER PARTICIPATION IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEARS Sources: California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, November 2004, March 2004, November 2000, March 2000, November 1996, March 1996, November 1992, June 1992, November 1988, and June 1988. Participation (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Primary General 2004 2000 1996 1992 1988 Sources: California Secretary of State, Repor t of Registration, October 2004; and California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, November 1988. Note: The percentages reflect the statistics from the closing date for registration in the general election. FIGURE 8. PART Y REGISTR ATION IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEARS Registration (%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Decline to state Other parties Republican Democratic 2004 2000 1996 1992 1988 AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 12 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf DIVIDED THEY FALL? Despite—or perhaps because—of the deep partisan divisions, there is substantial evidence in voter registration statistics and primar y voting trends that Californians are moving away from partisan politics. If we look at the close of voter registration statistics during the past fi ve presidential elections, the share of Democratic and Republican voters has dropped steadily and by a total of 11 points between 1988 (89%) and 2004 (77.7%) (Fig ure 8). At the same time, the proportion of voters outside the major parties has more than doubled, from 11 percent in 1988 (2% all third parties, 9% independents) to 22.3 percent (4.6% all third parties, 17.7% independents) in 2004. 20 Recent reports from the California Secretar y of State are even more revealing: They provide solid evidence of an actual decline in the numbers of partisan voters in California. Since October 2000, the number of adults eligible to vote has increased by 1.5 million in California as the state added new residents to its already large population. Yet, the overall numbers of registered voters in the most recent fi g ures is 15.5 million compared to 15.7 million in October 2000. At the same time, the combined numbers of Democratic and Republican voters shrank from 12.6 million to 11.8 million. With the numbers registered to third parties also shrinking, the grow th of independents largely explains the decline in number of major-party voters. 21 In this context, California has had low voter turnouts in the past fi ve presidential primaries. On average, about one in three of those eligible to vote have cast ballots. In 1996, the primar y date was moved from June to March to encourage voting in presidential primaries, but the turnout dipped to a low of 30.5 percent in March 2004. The presidential primar y has been moved to Februar y in 2008, with the expectation of a more signifi cant role in national politics. 22 Party rules are among the factors that could aff ect voter turnout in the Februar y 2008 primar y. They permit independents to vote in the Democratic but not the GOP primar y. Still, according to recent PPIC sur veys, a small proportion of independents plan to vote in the PPIC [ 13 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf presidential primar y. 23 Since the June 2008 primar y will not include any statewide candidate races, most political obser vers are expecting a ver y low turnout. California’s voting record in the fi ve presidential elections, compared to the primaries, shows higher levels of participation. Still, November ballots on average were cast by just over half of those eligible to vote. The 2008 elections have much in common with the 2000 elections, when 7.9 million voted in the presidential primar y and 11.1 million voted in the general election, since neither party had an incumbent running for president in 2000 (Table 1). Still, voter turnout is diffi cult to predict because the large numbers of independents are not driven to the polls to express partisan preferences in presidential elections. 24 FUTURE PROSPECTS AND CONSEQUENCES We asked at the outset if the governor’s belief in a new post-partisan era was realistic. The evidence suggests that major-party voters have such signifi cant diff erences in demographic profi les and voter preferences that opportunities for Democratic and Republican voters to fi nd common ground on issues are limited. At the same time, the state appears to be headed in a nonpartisan direction, refl ecting a widespread rejection of the major parties and their ideological divisions. If current registration trends continue, we expect that there will be more independents than either Republican or Democratic voters by 2025. 25 Majorities of Californians say the two parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third party is needed. PPIC Statewide Sur veys fi nd that four in 10 independents were former major-party members and seven in 10 prefer to be unaffi liated with any party. 26 Both the partisan divide and the grow th of nonpartisanship have important consequences for the democratic process. As the party rolls shrink and Democratic and Republican voters refl ect views of the opposite ends of the political spectrum, the results of party votes in state primaries will inevitably result in a polarization of the legislative branch. Because our redistricting process has been built for incumbent protection in local districts, the Democratic and Republican offi cials elected to represent the voters in the legislature will refl ect liberal and conser vative rather than more centrist views. ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 14 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf TA B L E 1. PART Y REGISTR ATION AND VOTER PARTICIPATION, 2000 AND 2007 Millions of Participants 2000 2007 Eligible adults 21.523.0 Registered voters 15.715. 5 Democratic 7.16 . 6 Republican 5.55.2 Other parties 0.80.7 Decline to state 2.33.0 Primary voters 7. 9— Election voters 11.1— Sources: California Secretary of State, Repor t of Registration, October 2000, December 2007; and California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, March 2000, November 2000. PPIC [ 15 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf The large and growing numbers of independents in California, in the meantime, can express their political will in statewide elections, such as for governor, U.S. senator, or U.S. president, assuming that the outcomes of the party primaries provide them with one or more moderate candidates. However, in recent years, when governors with more centrist views than their parties (e.g., Wilson, Davis, Schwarzenegger) were elected, they then faced major hurdles in fi nding common ground with legislators—including those in their own parties. The inability of the governor and legislature, and the two parties in the legislature, to reach consensus results in increasing use of the ballot box to circumvent the gridlock in the legislature. Such evident failures of the two-party system tend to accelerate the nonpartisan movement. 27 POLICY IMPLICATIONS AND OPTIONS With no signs that the deep rifts between Democratic and Republican voters are shrinking, Californians can expect to have state and federal legislators who largely refl ect the liberal-conser vative split of major-party voters in the party primaries. The two-party system will continue to refl ect the will of fewer and fewer people in the future, unless the parties focus on expanding their base, on inclusiveness instead of ideological purity and exclusivity. The eff ort to open up the Democratic primar y to independents is one such eff ort, but it seems to have had little eff ect on convincing the nonpartisans to get involved in partisan primaries. W hat are some other options? We can suggest six proposals to involve more independent voters and increase the numbers of moderate voices involved in choosing elected representatives: (1) State-level primaries could permit voters to vote for candidates regardless of the voter’s and the candidate’s party. Then, the two top vote-getters could have a runoff in the general election. (2) State-level primaries could be eliminated and replaced with instant runoff s in general elections. In such a system, candidate victories are decided by general election voters selecting both their fi rst and second choices. (3) General elections could use a proportional representation ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 16 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf formula. As a result, the numbers of Democratic, Republican, independent, and third-party seats in the legislature would be based on the percentage of the vote each receives, rather than winner-take-all in local districts. (4) Legislative races in general elections could be nonpartisan. In such a system, ballots would list candidates without party labels, as in mayoral, city council, and county board of super visor races in California. (5) Campaign fi nance reforms, such as public fi nancing, could be implemented in elections. In this way, nonpartisans and moderates could become fi nancially competitive against partisan candidates who can attract support from ideological and interest groups. (6) Future legislative redistricting could focus on party competition rather than incumbent advantages. In line with state trends, local elections with partisan parity would be decided by centrist and independent voters. W hat might happen if the shrinking numbers of major-party voters continue to impose their will on representative democracy? The legislature’s debates will be less and less refl ective of the policy concerns of average Californians. Partisan gridlock will force the governor and legislature to bring more public policy issues to the ballot box for voters to decide. Special elections will become more commonplace as voters are called upon to make tough policy choices on a more frequent basis. Voters will turn to the three tools of direct democracy—initiative, referendum, and recall—to get the policies and lawmakers that they want. Independents will have a greater and greater infl uence on the statewide election outcomes in candidate races and ballot measures as their numbers increase and the partisan vote continues to shrink. A ll these trends would make a reshaping of the two-party system more likely than the kind of post-partisanship the governor envisions. PPIC [ 17 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf NOTES 1 I would like to acknowledge the research suppor t provided to this study by Dean Bonner, Jennifer Paluch, and Sonja Petek and the generous funding received from The James Irvine Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for the PPIC Statewide Surveys. I thank David Lesher, Paul Lewis, Eric McGhee, Max Neiman, Joyce Peterson, and Deborah Reed for their helpful reviews. 2 “Transcript of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Second Inaugural Address,” Office of the Governor, Sacramento, California, Januar y 5 , 2007. 3 For a discussion of related national political trends, see, for example, Stanley B. Greenberg, The Two Americas , St. Mar tin’s Press, New York, 2004; Morris Fiorina, Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America, Longman, New York, 2006; The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Beyond Red vs. Blue , Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., May 2005; and The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Trends in Political Attitudes and Core Values: 1987–2007 , Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., May 2005. For a discussion of related political reforms, see, for example, Steven Hill, Fixing Elections , Routledge, London, 2003; and Steven Hill, 10 Steps to Repair American Democracy , Polipoint Press, Sausalito, California, 2006. 4 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is California Secretar y of State, Report of Registration , Sacramento, California, December 2007. 5 The PPIC Statewide Sur vey is an ongoing series directed by the author that uses random-digit dial telephone inter viewing meth ods with at least 2,000 California adults per wave. Some of the analyses that follow include individual sur vey waves; for more informati on on the methodology, see the PPIC Statewide Sur vey repor ts. Some of the analyses here involve data aggregated over 10 sur vey waves cond ucted from July 2006 to July 2007 to provide a large and representative sample of all adults (n = 21,529) and likely voters in electi ons (n = 11,323). The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are the combined PPIC sur veys and “California Voter and Par ty Profiles,” Just the Facts , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007. 6 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Report of Registration , Sacramento, California, December 2007; California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote, Sacramento, California, November 2004; and “California’s November 2006 Election,” Just the Facts , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, December 2006. 7 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “California Voter and Par ty Profiles,” Just the Facts, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007. 8 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, May 2007, including inter views with 2,005 adults and 986 likely voters. 9 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 1,045 likely vot ers. 10 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, June 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 983 likely voters. 11 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, Januar y 2007, including inter views with 2,014 adults and 1,180 likely voter s. 12 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Sur vey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, June 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 983 likely voters. 13 Ib i d. 14 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and the Environment,” PPIC Statewide Survey, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, July 2007, including inter views with 2,500 adults and 1,238 likely voters. 15 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “California’s Par tisan Divide,” Just the Facts, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007. 16 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , Sacramento, California, November 2004; and the Los Angeles Times Exit Poll , November 2004. ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 18 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf 17 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote, Sacramento, California, November 2004; and the Los Angeles Times Exit Poll , November 2004. 18 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , Sacramento, California, November 2004; and the Los Angeles Times Exit Poll , November 2004. 19 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , Sacramento, California, November 2006; “Californians and the Initiative Process,” PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, November 2005, including inter views with 2,002 special election voters; and “Californians and the Future,” PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, November 2006, including inter views with 2,000 general elec tion voters. 20 The sources for data reported in the accompanying text are California Secretary of State, Report of Registration, Sacramento, California, October 2004; and California Secretary of State, Statement of Vote, Sacramento, California, November 1988. 21 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Report of Registration, Sacramento, California, October 2000, December 2007, with the numbers derived from the 29-day repor t for the November 2000 election and the 60-day repo rt for the Februar y 2008 primar y. See the discussions about California political par ties and independents in Mark Baldassare, California in the New Millennium , University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 2000; Mark Baldassare, A California State of Mind , University of California Press, Berkeley, California, 2002; Mark Baldassare and Cher yl Katz, The Coming Age of Direct Democracy , Roman and Littlefield, New York, 2007; Gar y Jacobson, “Par tisan and Ideological Polarization in the California Electorate,” Politics and Policy Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2004, pp. 113 –139; David Lesher and Mark Baldassare, “California’s Independent Streak,” Los Angeles Times, Februar y 19, 2006; and Mark Baldassare and David Lesher, “California Registers Growing Numbers of Independents,” Sacramento Bee , October 29, 2006. 22 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , Sacramento, California, March 2004, March 2000, March 1996, June 1992, and June 1988. 23 The source for data repor ted in the accompanying text is “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, September 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 1,045 likely vot ers. 24 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are California Secretar y of State, Statement of Vote , November 2004, March 2004, November 2000, March 2000, November 1996, March 1996, November 1992, June 1992, November 1988, and June 1988. 25 See David Lesher and Mark Baldassare, “California’s Independent Streak,” Los Angeles Times, Februar y 19, 2006; Mark Baldassare and David Lesher, “California Registers Growing Numbers of Independents,” Sacramento Bee , October 29, 2006. 26 The sources for data repor ted in the accompanying text are “Californians and Their Government,” PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, June 2007, including inter views with 2,003 adults and 983 likely voters; an d “Californians and the Future”, PPIC Statewide Survey , Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, October 2006, including inter views with 2,002 adults and 1,076 likely voters. 27 See Mark Baldassare and Cher yl Katz, The Coming Age of Direct Democracy, Roman and Littlefield, New York, 2007. PPIC [ 19 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf Eric McGhee Research Fellow, 415.291.4439, mcghee@ppic.org Expertise Elections – California redistricting reform – State and local voter initiatives – Voting behavior Legislative behavior – Legislative organization – Responsiveness to public opinion – State term limits Political participation Political parties and party polarization Polling and public opinion Education Ph.D. (2003) and M.A. (1998), political science, University of California, Berkeley PPIC EXPERTS Mark Baldassare President and Chief Executive Officer, 415.291.4427, baldassare@ppic.org Expertise Public opinion Public policy preferences Elections State initiatives State and local government relations Political participation Demographics Education Ph.D. (1976), sociology, University of California, Berkeley M.A. (1973), sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara Max Neiman Associate Director, Senior Fellow, 415.291.4441, neiman@ppic.org Expertise Local government – Government structure – Population growth – Regional and metropolitan governance – Urban and suburban politics – Local taxation and spending – Evaluation of local government performance – Local elections – Effect of local government on state and national policy Local economic development Urban development Education Ph.D. (1973) and M.A. (1968), political science, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee ATISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 20 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf RELATED PPIC PUBLICATIONS At Issue: California’s Exclusive Electorate Mark Baldassare September 2006 The Season of Our Discontent: Voters’ Views on California Elections Mark Baldassare, Bruce E. Cain, D. E. Apollonio, and Jonathan Cohen October 2004 A California State of Mind: The Conflicted Voter in a Changing World Mark Baldassare September 2002 California in the New Millennium: The Changing Social and Political Landscape Mark Baldassare April 2000 Just the Facts This publication series provides detailed statistics on a wide range of current issues. Please see http://www.ppic.org/main/allpubs.asp?sort=type#a14 for Just The Facts relevant to legislative reform. PPIC Statewide Survey This survey series provides timely and comprehensive public opinion data on the urgent social, economic, and political issues facing all Californians. Please see http://www.ppic.org/main/allpubs.asp?sort=type#a12 for information about the survey and complete text of all surveys. Karthick Ramakrishnan Adjunct Fellow, University of California, Riverside, 951.827.5540, karthick@ucr.edu Expertise Political participation Voter turnout | Non-electoral participation Civic participation and volunteerism Immigration and immigrants Racial and ethnic populations Public opinion and social relations | Latino and Asian American politics Education Ph.D. (2002), politics, Princeton University PPIC [ 21 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PPIC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Thomas C. Sutton, Chair Retired Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Pacific Life Insurance Company Mark Baldassare President and Chief Executive Officer Public Policy Institute of California Ruben Barrales President and Chief Executive Officer San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Linda Griego President and Chief Executive Officer Griego Enterprises, Inc. Edward K. Hamilton Chairman Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Associates, Inc. Gary K. Hart Former State Senator and Secretary of Education State of California Walter B. Hewlett Director Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities Donna Lucas Chief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs Leon E. Panetta Director The Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy Ki Suh Park Design and Managing Partner Gruen Associates Constance L . Rice Co-Director The Advancement Project Raymond L. Watson Vice Chairman of the Board Emeritus The Irvine Company Carol Whiteside President Great Valley Center AT ISSUE [ CALIFORNIA’S POST-PARTISAN FUTURE ] 22 AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf © Januar y 2008 by Public Policy Institute of California. All rights reser ved. San Francisco, CA Short sections of text, not to exceed three paragraphs, may be quoted without written permission provided that full attribution is given to the source and the above copyright notice is included. PPIC does not take or support positions on any ballot measure or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it 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 the staff, officers, or Board of Directors of the Public Policy Institute of California. This publication was funded in part by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. PPIC [ 23 ] AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE of500 WASHINGTON STREET, SUITE 600 ANCISCO, CA 9 4111 P 415.291.4400415.291.4401www.ppic.org PPIC SACR 11b1 L STREET, SUITE 801 AMENTO, CA 95814 P 916.4 4 0.1120916.4 4 0.1121 DOWNLOAD THIS PUBLICATION FREE OF CHARGE AT WWW.PPIC.ORG AT ISSUE_Al_Baldassare_web.pdf" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 09:39:22" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(10) "ai_108mbai" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:39:22" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 09:39:22" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["guid"]=> string(52) "http://148.62.4.17/wp-content/uploads/AI_108MBAI.pdf" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_mime_type"]=> string(15) "application/pdf" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["attachment_authors"]=> bool(false) }