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object(Timber\Post)#3742 (44) { ["ImageClass"]=> string(12) "Timber\Image" ["PostClass"]=> string(11) "Timber\Post" ["TermClass"]=> string(11) "Timber\Term" ["object_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["custom"]=> array(5) { ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(12) "S_109MBS.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(6) "904243" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(87387) "january 2009 &Californians their government in collaboration with The James Irvine Foundation Mark Baldassare Dean Bonner Jennifer Paluch Sonja Petek The Public Policy Institute of California is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. The institute’s goal is to raise public awareness and to give elected representatives and other decisionmakers a more informed basis for developing policies and programs. The institute’s research focuses on the underlying forces shaping California’s future, cutting across a wide range of public policy concerns, including economic development, education, environment and resources, governance, population, public finance, and social and health policy. PPIC is a private, nonprofit organization. It does not take or support positions on any ballot measures or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office. PPIC was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. Mark Baldassare is President and Chief Executive Officer of PPIC. Thomas C. Sutton is Chair of the Board of Directors. TABLE OF CONTENTS About the Survey Press Release National Issues State Issues Regional Map Methodology Questionnaire and Results 1 3 7 13 24 25 27 Copyright © 2009 Public Policy Institute of California All rights reserved 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. ABOUT THE SURVEY The PPIC Statewide Survey provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with objective, advocacy-free information on the perceptions, opinions, and public policy preferences of California residents. Inaugurated in April 1998, this is the 94th PPIC Statewide Survey in a series that has generated a database that includes the responses of more than 200,000 Californians. This survey is the 34th in the Californians and Their Government series, which is conducted periodically to examine the social, economic, and political trends that influence public policy preferences and ballot choices. It is supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. In this survey, we interview California residents as the governor and the state legislature work to close a record budget deficit of approximately $40 billion; as the nation and the state deal with an economic recession; as leaders change in the White House; and as President Barack Obama and Congress develop a federal economic stimulus plan. The survey seeks to raise public awareness, inform decisionmakers, and stimulate public discussion. This report presents the responses of 2,001 California adult residents on these specific topics: „ National issues, including overall perceptions of the direction of the country, its economic outlook, and President Obama’s proposed economic stimulus plan. We also examine residents’ attitudes and expectations of the new president and his economic policies, of how united the country will be under his leadership, and their views on whether he and Congress will be able to collaborate and be productive in the coming year. We also examine how Californians rate Congress, overall and in its specific economic plans and policies. „ State fiscal issues, including perceptions of the seriousness of the state’s budget situation, preferred methods for dealing with the budget gap, satisfaction with the governor’s budget proposal, and overall support for the spending cuts and tax increases included in his budget plan. We also report findings on Californians’ support for specific tax proposals designed to raise state revenues, their support for structural budget reforms, and their attitudes toward obtaining aid from the federal government. We examine perceptions of the most important issue for the governor and legislature to work on in 2009; opinions about the general direction of the state and its economic outlook; concern about housing; approval ratings for Governor Schwarzenegger and the legislature, including their job performances, handling of the state budget, taxes, jobs and the economy; and views of whether the governor and legislature will be able to collaborate and be productive in the coming year. „ The extent to which Californians—based on their political party affiliation, region of residence, race/ethnicity, and other demographics—may differ with regard to perceptions, attitudes, and preferences involving state and national issues. Copies of this report may be ordered online (www.ppic.org) or by phone (415-291-4400). For questions about the survey, please contact survey@ppic.org. View our searchable PPIC Statewide Survey database online at http://www.ppic.org/main/survAdvancedSearch.asp. 1 PRESS RELEASE Para ver este comunicado de prensa en español, por favor visite nuestra página de internet: http://www.ppic.org/main/pressreleaseindex.asp PPIC STATEWIDE SURVEY: CALIFORNIANS AND THEIR GOVERNMENT Californians Back President Obama’s Recovery Plan, Have High Hopes for Him Despite Worries About U.S. Economy BUT THEY TAKE DIM VIEW OF STATE LEADERS, FAVOR LOWERING TWO-THIRDS REQUIREMENT TO PASS BUDGET SAN FRANCISCO, California, January 28, 2009 — A majority of Californians support President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan and see it as important in meeting the state’s infrastructure needs, according to a survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. As Obama begins his presidency, Californians express both high hopes for what he can accomplish and deep worries about the national economy. An overwhelming majority (79%) agree that he will be a strong and capable president—a much bigger vote of confidence than George W. Bush enjoyed among the state’s residents at the outset of his two terms in office (54% in January 2001, 51% in January 2005). With a Democrat in the White House and larger Democratic majorities in Congress, most Californians (81%) also say the president and Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot this year. This is an opinion held across party lines (90% Democrats, 79% independents, 66% Republicans) and despite Californians’ low approval ratings of Congress (37% approve, 56% disapprove). Asked about the new president’s multibillion-dollar economic recovery plan of tax cuts and investments in infrastructure projects, 57 percent of Californians say they are satisfied, and 82 percent say it is important (49% very important, 33% somewhat important) in addressing California’s infrastructure needs. Despite their enthusiasm for the new president, Californians don’t see a quick fix for the troubled economy. A solid majority (71%) believe bad economic times lie ahead in the next year, and many residents believe they will suffer personally: 58 percent say they are concerned (37% very concerned, 21% somewhat concerned) that they or someone in their family will lose a job in the next year, and 5 percent volunteer that they or a family member has already lost a job. Their pessimism grows when Californians are asked about their state. With a record-high budget deficit and state coffers nearly empty, the state’s residents give record-low ratings to their elected officials in their handling of the budget and economy. Just 30 percent approve of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance on these issues. The legislature fares worse: 14 percent of Californians approve of its handling of the budget and taxes, and 15 percent approve of its handling of jobs and the economy. Just 39 percent of Californians say the governor and legislature will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, with 53 percent saying the two branches will be unable to do so. “We’ve seen a sharp turnaround in the last two years,” says Mark Baldassare, PPIC president, CEO, and survey director. “After the November 2006 election, Californians felt their governor and legislature would be able to work together, but that their president and Congress would not. Today, Californians’ hopes lie in Washington.” With most state residents (75%) saying the budget situation is a big problem, support for fiscal reforms has grown. For the first time since this survey began asking the question in 2003, a majority of Californians (54%) say it would be a good idea to replace the two-thirds requirement for legislative passage of the budget with a 55 percent majority. 3 Californians and Their Government NEW ADMINISTRATION IN WASHINGTON, NEW HOPES IN CALIFORNIA Despite an ailing national economy, the state’s residents are optimistic about the change in national leadership: • Californians like what they see on the economy: 72 percent approve of Obama’s handling of economic plans and policies. Democrats (89% approve, 3% disapprove) and independents (70% approve, 13% disapprove) are strongly favorable, while Republicans are divided (40% approve, 39% disapprove). • They see the nation uniting behind Obama: 73 percent say the nation will be able to unite behind Obama to accomplish a lot in the next four years. In 2001, just 44 percent said the nation would be able to unite behind Bush; and in 2005, only 35 percent felt that way. • Fewer see the nation headed in the wrong direction: Although just 32 percent say the nation is headed in the right direction and 62 percent see it going in the wrong direction, this is a marked improvement from last August (21% right direction, 74% wrong direction). Californians are also much more optimistic than adults nationwide, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in mid-January (19% right direction, 78% wrong direction). CLOSER TO HOME: A GROWING APPETITE FOR REFORM AS STATE FISCAL WOES INCREASE A record-high percentage (75%) of Californians say the state is heading in the wrong direction—a marked increase from January 2008 (54%) and dramatically higher than in January 2007 (37%). Across political parties, regions, and demographic groups, majorities of Californians hold this view. Their pessimism about the state’s economy has also increased greatly: 77 percent expect bad economic times in the year ahead, compared to 39 percent in January 2007. Residents recognize that the budget situation is grim. Although they most frequently (42%) name jobs and the economy as the most important issue for the governor and legislature to work on, 25 percent of residents say the state budget is most important—the highest percentage since January 2004 (31%). As they have said since January 2008, when the deficit was much smaller, Californians today (44%) favor closing the budget gap with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases rather than primarily through cuts (33%), primarily through tax hikes (8%), or by borrowing money and running a deficit (7%). Californians are generally dissatisfied with the governor’s recently released budget for the current and next fiscal years (59% dissatisfied, 34% satisfied). On the specifics of his proposal: • Alcohol excise tax: Residents overwhelmingly support raising it by 5 cents per drink (85% favor, 13% oppose). • Vehicle license fee: A majority favor raising it by $12 (58% favor, 41% oppose). • Sales tax: A slim majority favor temporarily increasing the state sales tax by 1.5 cents (52% favor, 46% oppose); 47 percent favor and 50 percent oppose extending the state sales tax to include services such as vehicle repair, veterinary services, and tickets to sporting events. • Cutting state employee compensation: Residents are divided (49% oppose, 45% favor). The governor has proposed requiring employees to take two unpaid days off a month, eliminating two holidays, and changing overtime rules. • Shortening school year: A majority oppose it (63% oppose, 35% favor). While they appear willing to help reduce the budget deficit by increasing their own taxes, Californians are more eager to increase the taxes of others. Majorities favor raising the state income tax rate paid by the wealthiest residents (72%) and raising the state taxes paid by corporations (60%). But they remain opposed (55%) to borrowing money from future state lottery income to fill the budget gap, regardless of their political party (64% of Republicans, 55% of Democrats, 53% of independents are opposed). 4 PPIC Statewide Survey Press Release A protracted impasse over the state budget appears to have made Californians more supportive of reforms in the budget process, as evidenced by their increased support for changing the two-thirds threshold for budget passage to 55 percent (54% in favor today, 46% in June 2003). And a strong majority (70%) support a strict limit on annual state spending increases. Support for a spending cap has not been this high since June 2003 (70%) when the PPIC survey first asked the question. More Californians also favor lowering the two-thirds vote requirement on local special taxes to 55 percent. Half (50%) say this is a good idea—the highest level of support since the survey first asked this question in June 2003—while 44 percent are opposed. MORE KEY FINDINGS ƒ Congress gets poor ratings—page 12 Just 37 percent of Californians approve of the way Congress is handling its job, and an even smaller percentage—29 percent—approve of the way the nation’s legislative branch is handling economic plans and policies. However, this is an improvement over October, when 23 percent approved of Congress’ overall job performance. ƒ Housing slump hits home—page 15 Half of Californians (52%) say the housing downturn will hurt their personal financial situation a great deal (30%) or somewhat (22%). Latinos (67%), renters (59%), independents (55%), and Democrats (53%) are more likely to hold this view than whites (45%), homeowners (48%), and Republicans (43%). ƒ Governor’s overall approval rating at 40%—page 16 Governor Schwarzenegger’s approval rating has changed little in recent months but is down 18 points since January 2007 and 10 points since January 2008. It now stands at the same level as in January 2006, just after the 2005 special election. ƒ Californians want to protect schools from budget cuts—page 19 Most Californians (60%) say K–12 education is the area they would most like to protect from budget cuts, followed by health and human services (18%), higher education (12%), and prisons and corrections (6%). ABOUT THE SURVEY This survey is the 34th in the Californians and Their Government series and is supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. It seeks to examine the social, economic, and political trends that influence public policy preferences and ballot choices. This is the 94th PPIC Statewide Survey in a series that has generated a database that includes the responses of more than 200,000 Californians. Findings are based on a telephone survey of 2,001 California adult residents interviewed from January 13–20, 2009. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The sampling error for the total sample is ±2%. For the 1,621 registered voters it is ±2.5% and for the 1,277 likely voters, ±3%. For more information on methodology, see page 25. 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. PPIC is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. The institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. 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. ### January 2009 5 NATIONAL ISSUES KEY FINDINGS „ Most Californians across regional, demographic, and political groups expect the United States will experience bad economic times over the next year and think the nation is headed in the wrong direction. Still, they are much more positive about the direction of the nation than they have been over the past year. (page 8) „ Most Californians are satisfied with incoming President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan and believe it will help address the state’s infrastructure needs. Yet opinions remain mixed about whether or not federal actions will help the state’s economy. (page 9) „ Californians are giving a warm reception to President Obama, with overwhelming majorities agreeing that he will be a strong and capable president, approving of his handling of economic plans and policies, and believing the country will unite behind him. (pages 10, 11) „ In sharp contrast to opinions after the 2006 national election, an overwhelming majority of Californians think the new president and Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, with majorities across political groups agreeing. Still, most Californians disapprove of the way that Congress is handling its job and, more specifically, its economic plans and policies. (pages 11, 12) [Note: This survey was conducted from January 13 through inauguration day, January 20. Wording of survey questions was adjusted accordingly to read “President-elect Obama” or “President Obama,” depending upon whether the question was asked before or after the inauguration.] Percent all adults Percent all adults Direction of the United States Wrong direction 100 Right direction 80 73 62 60 60 51 54 51 62 Percent all adults 40 42 42 43 31 34 32 20 22 0 Sep Sep Jan Oct Jan Mar Jan 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 Will 100 80 60 40 20 0 Be a Strong and Capable President? Somewhat agree Strongly agree 17 21 20 62 33 31 Jan 01 Jan 05 George W. Bush Jan 09 Barack Obama Will the President and Congress be Able to Work Together in the Next Year? 100 Yes No 81 80 60 56 40 38 20 14 0 Jan 07 Jan 09 7 Californians and Their Government STATE OF THE NATION Concern about the economy is clearly taking a toll on Californians’ overall outlook on the direction of the United States, even as many residents express optimism about the change in national political leadership. Today, 62 percent of Californians say the country is heading in the wrong direction, while 32 percent say it is heading in the right direction. Although dismal, the current outlook is still a marked improvement from last August, when 74 percent said the country was going in the wrong direction and only 21 percent thought it was headed in the right direction. Californians are much more optimistic than adults nationwide, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted during the second week of January (78% wrong direction, 19% right direction). Across political groups, Republicans (72%) are the most pessimistic about the nation’s direction, followed by independents (68%) and Democrats (55%). Opinions within political groups about the direction of the country have shifted since August. Among Democrats, we see a 27-point increase in the percentage saying right direction (12% in August, 39% today), and among independents a 5-point increase (22% in August, 27% today), while Republicans are less likely to say right direction today (31% in August, 24% today). However, majorities across all regional and demographic groups believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Right direction Wrong direction Don't know “Do you think things in the United States are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind 32% 39% 24% 27% 62 55 72 68 6645 Likely Voters 31% 64 5 Opinions of the national economy are even more pessimistic: 71 percent of Californians believe that the U.S. economy will fare badly over the next 12 months; only 24 percent think good times lie ahead. These views have not improved since last August (70% bad times, 23% good times). Across regions, residents in the San Francisco Bay Area (16%) are less likely than residents in the Other Southern California region (23%), the Central Valley (24%), and Los Angeles (29%) to say good times lie ahead. Deep pessimism about the national economy can be found among all political and demographic groups. Good times Bad times Don't know “Turning to economic conditions, do you think that during the next 12 months the United States will have good times financially or bad times?” All Adults 24% Central Valley 24% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 16% 29% Other Southern California 23% Likely Voters 17% 71 72 78 64 73 78 5467 45 In response to a question about employment, many Californians say that the current economy could have implications for their own lives: 58 percent say they are concerned that they or someone in their family will lose their job in the next year (37% are very concerned, 21% are somewhat concerned); 5 percent volunteer that they or a family member have already lost a job. Those most likely to say they are very concerned about a job loss include Central Valley residents (41%), Latinos (51%), and those with a high school education or less (48%) or with household incomes below $40,000 (49%). 8 PPIC Statewide Survey National Issues PRESIDENT OBAMA’S STIMULUS PLAN Over the past few months the federal government has taken many steps to address the financial crisis in this country. However, Californians are divided on whether these efforts will benefit the state’s economy: 44 percent think that these efforts will help the state’s economy, 43 percent think not. Residents are divided along partisan lines, with 50 percent of Democrats saying federal actions will help the California economy and 55 percent of Republicans saying they will not. Last October, residents were somewhat less likely to say federal actions would help the California economy (39% yes, 47% no). In response to the economic crisis in the United States, President Obama has announced an economic recovery plan that includes tax cuts for individuals and businesses and investments in government infrastructure projects. Estimates of the total cost of the two-year plan range from $775 billion to $825 billion. Californians are generally satisfied (57%) with the new president’s economic stimulus plan, but 26 percent are dissatisfied, and 17 percent are unsure or haven’t heard about it. A majority of likely voters (53%) are satisfied with the plan, while 30 percent are dissatisfied. Democrats (73%) are overwhelmingly satisfied, half of independents (50%) are satisfied, while half of Republicans (51%) are dissatisfied. Across racial/ethnic groups, nearly three in four Latinos (73%) are satisfied with the stimulus plan, compared to only half of whites (49%). Satisfaction declines as age and income rise. “Recently, President Barack Obama announced his “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,” an economic stimulus package, which would include tax cuts for individuals and businesses and investments in government programs for infrastructure projects. This two-year plan could cost upwards of $775 billion. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the president’s economic stimulus plan?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Voters Ind Satisfied 57% 73% 30% 50% 53% Dissatisfied 26 14 51 29 30 Have not heard anything about the plan (volunteered) 6 4 7 7 6 Don't know 11 9 12 14 11 When it comes to addressing California’s infrastructure needs, eight in 10 residents (82%) believe that President Obama’s stimulus plan will be either very (49%) or somewhat (33%) important. Findings are similar among likely voters. Across regions, residents in Los Angeles (55%) and the Central Valley (50%) are the most likely to say that President Obama’s plans will be very important and nearly eight in 10 across all regions say his plan will be at least somewhat important in addressing the state’s infrastructure needs. Democrats (60%) are much more likely than independents (46%) and Republicans (29%) to say the president’s stimulus plan will be very important for California’s infrastructure. “How important do you think President Obama's economic stimulus plan would be in addressing California's infrastructure needs?” Very important All Adults 49% Central Valley 50% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 46% 55% Other Southern California 46% Somewhat important 33 28 41 28 34 Not too important 7 10 5 6 8 Not at all important 5 4 25 6 Don't know 6 8 66 6 Likely Voters 46% 34 9 5 6 January 2009 9 Californians and Their Government NEW PRESIDENT As Barack Obama takes office, Californians express optimism about his presidency: 79 percent agree (62% strongly, 17% somewhat) that he will be a strong and capable president and only 12 percent disagree. By comparison, 54 percent of Californians agreed (33% strongly, 21% somewhat) and 36 percent disagreed that George W. Bush would be a strong and capable president as he entered office in 2001. Californians were nearly divided on this question when Bush began his second term in 2005: 51 percent agreed (31% strongly, 20% somewhat) and 45 percent disagreed. Among likely voters, three in four agree (59% strongly, 17% somewhat) that President Obama will be a strong and capable leader. Majorities of voters across party lines express optimism about the new president but Democrats (83%) are far more likely than independents (57%) or Republicans (25%) to strongly agree that he will be a dynamic leader. Across regional and demographic groups, majorities agree strongly on President Obama’s leadership potential, but residents in Los Angeles (70%) and the San Francisco Bay Area (64%) are more likely than those in the Central Valley (60%) and Other Southern California region (54%) to express this belief, as are Latinos (79%) far more likely than whites (52%). Those most likely to agree strongly that he will be a strong and capable president include Californians under age 55 (65%), those with a high school education or less (71%), those with household incomes under $40,000 a year (71%), and renters (71%). “On another topic, Barack Obama was inaugurated as U.S. President on January 20th. Do you agree or disagree that Barack Obama will be a strong and capable president?” Strongly agree All Adults 62% Central Valley 60% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 64% 70% Other Southern California 54% Likely Voters 59% Somewhat agree 17 14 17 15 22 17 Somewhat disagree 5 8 63 4 6 Strongly disagree 7 8 44 9 8 Don't know 9 10 9 8 11 10 During the transition period between the election and inauguration, President-elect Obama began focusing his attention on the flagging U.S. economy, proposing plans for job creation, investments in infrastructure projects, tax relief for qualifying households and businesses, and assistance for struggling homeowners. More than seven in 10 Californians (72%) approve of the way President Obama is handling economic plans and policies, including 67 percent of likely voters. Across parties, solid majorities of Democrats (89%) and independents (70%) approve of his economic plans and policies, while Republicans are divided (40% approve, 39% disapprove). Majorities across regions and demographic groups approve of the new president’s handling of economic policy, although approval is higher among Latinos than whites (89% to 64%) and declines as income rises and age rises. Approve Disapprove Don't know “Overall, from what you know so far, do you approve or disapprove of President Obama's handling of economic plans and policies?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind 72% 89% 40% 70% 15 3 39 13 13 8 21 17 Likely Voters 67% 17 16 10 PPIC Statewide Survey National Issues NEW PRESIDENT (CONTINUED) In another sign of Californians’ optimism about their new president, 73 percent say the country will be able to unite behind Barack Obama and that he will be able to accomplish a lot in the next four years. One in five (22%) are less optimistic, believing the country will be divided and that it will be difficult for him to accomplish a lot over the next four years. In January 2001, 44 percent of California residents said the country would be able to unite under George W. Bush, while 50 percent thought the country would be divided. In even starker contrast to the current prevailing attitude, only 35 percent of Californians in January 2005 said the country would be able to unite under Bush and that he would be able to accomplish a lot in four years, while 60 percent foresaw a divided nation, believing it would be difficult for President Bush to accomplish a lot in his second term. Among likely voters today, seven in 10 believe the country will unite behind Obama and that he will be able to accomplish a lot. Among registered voters, majorities hold this view, although Democrats (83%) are much more likely to say so than independents (68%) and Republicans (56%). In a rare display of agreement about national leadership, at least two in three Californians across regions and demographic groups say they expect unity and productivity under President Obama. “Which of these two statements comes closer to your point of view: The country will be …” … able to unite behind Barack Obama, who will be able to accomplish a lot in the next four years … divided, and it will be hard for Barack Obama to accomplish a lot over the next four years Don't know All Adults 73% Region Central San Francisco Los Valley Bay Area Angeles 67% 79% 75% Other Southern California 69% 22 28 17 18 26 55 4 7 5 Likely Voters 71% 24 5 Eight in 10 Californians (81%) and likely voters (79%) also believe that the new president and Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year. This attitude crosses party lines, with 90 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of independents, and 66 percent of Republicans expressing optimism about the future accomplishments of President Obama and Congress. Two years ago, after Democrats gained control of Congress from Republicans in the November 2006 election, only 38 percent of Californians thought President Bush and Congress would be able to work together and accomplish a lot. With Democrats strengthening their majorities in both the Senate and House in last November’s election, and with a Democratic president taking office, most Californians anticipate productive collaboration between the executive and legislative branches: More than three in four residents across regions and demographic groups believe their collaboration will be able to accomplish a lot in the next year. “Do you think that President Obama and the U.S. Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, or not?” Yes, will be able to work together No, will not be able to work together Don't know All Adults 81% 14 5 Dem 90% 7 3 Party Rep 66% 27 7 Ind 79% 16 5 Likely Voters 79% 15 6 January 2009 11 Californians and Their Government 111TH CONGRESS Despite their expectations about the future cooperation and productivity of the president and Congress, Californians’ approval ratings of Congress are low. Still, they have improved since last year. As the 111th Congress begins work on the economic crisis and other important policy issues, only 37 percent of Californians and 30 percent of likely voters approve of the way it is handling its job. However, Californians’ approval ratings are much higher today (37%) than they were last October (23%). In fact, residents have not expressed anything close to this level of approval of Congress since January 2007 (42%). And Californians are much more approving of Congress than Americans nationwide: According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in early January, 68 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job (23% approve). Sharp partisan differences are apparent in California, with Democrats (43%) and independents (34%) much more approving than Republicans (17% approve, 79% disapprove). Regional differences are also apparent, with residents in Los Angeles (40%) and the San Francisco Bay Area (40%) more likely than those in the Other Southern California region (36%) and the Central Valley (32%) to express approval of Congress. Latinos are more than twice as likely as whites (59% to 26%), and women are more likely than men (40% to 34%) to approve of the way that Congress is handling its job. Overall, approval declines with rising age, education, and income. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling its job?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Voters Ind Approve 37% 43% 17% 34% 30% Disapprove 56 49 79 60 64 Don't know 78466 Congress receives even poorer ratings when it comes to its specific handling of economic plans and policies. Fewer than three in 10 Californians (29%) and likely voters (23%) approve of the way Congress is handling the economy. Although majorities across party lines disapprove of congressional performance in this area, Republicans (84%) are far more likely than independents (66%) and Democrats (58%) to disapprove of the way Congress is handling the economy. Majorities across regions also express disapproval. There are no time trends since we did not ask this question in past surveys. Latinos are more than twice as likely as whites to approve of the way Congress is handling the economy (50% to 21%); Californians with annual household incomes under $40,000 (42%) and those with a high school diploma or less (46%) are far more likely than those with higher education and income levels to approve of the way Congress is handling economic plans and policies. Approve Disapprove Don't know “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling economic plans and policies?” All Adults 29% Central Valley 25% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 31% 34% Other Southern California 29% 63 67 62 59 65 8 8 77 6 Likely Voters 23% 70 7 12 PPIC Statewide Survey STATE ISSUES KEY FINDINGS „ Californians cite the economy and the state budget as the top two issues for the governor and legislature to work on this year. Large majorities think the state is headed in the wrong direction and expect bad economic times in the coming year. (pages 14, 15) „ The governor’s and legislature’s overall approval ratings are significantly below last year’s. Majorities of Californians disapprove of their handling of the state budget and economy, and doubt they can work together to accomplish a lot in the coming year. (pages 16, 17) „ Most Californians want the state’s budget gap solved through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. While a solid majority say they are dissatisfied with the governor’s budget plan overall, they are divided on the specific proposals in the plan, and support tax increases on alcoholic drinks and higher vehicle license fees. (pages 18–21) „ Majorities favor raising taxes on the wealthiest Californians and on California corporations, with strong partisan differences apparent. Majorities oppose borrowing against future lottery income. (page 22) „ Majorities also favor budget reforms, including spending limits and lowering the two-thirds legislative requirement to pass a state budget. They are more divided on lowering the two-thirds requirement to pass local special taxes. (page 23) Most Important Issue for Governor and Legislature to Work on in the Next Year 60 Economy, jobs State budget 50 42 Percent all adults 40 31 30 20 20 21 12 19 25 10 15 7 15 10 5 0 Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan 04 05 06 07 08 09 Approval Ratings of State Elected Officials 80 Governor Legislature 59 60 60 58 50 Percent all adults 40 40 40 36 37 40 34 29 20 21 0 Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan 04 05 06 07 08 09 Replacing Two-thirds Vote With a 55 Percent Majority to Pass a State Budget 80 Good idea Bad idea 60 53 52 53 53 53 40 41 40 41 39 20 41 Percent likely voters 0 Jan May May May Jan 05 06 07 08 09 13 Californians and Their Government OVERALL MOOD The economy is the most prominent issue on Californians’ minds today, as it was throughout all of 2008. Forty-two percent of Californians today name jobs and the economy as the most important issue for the governor and legislature to work on this year—similar to the record high citing the economy as the most important issue in September (44%). One in four today name the state budget as the most important issue (25%), the highest percentage since January 2004 (31%). Fewer mention schools (12%) or immigration (4%). The percentage expressing negative perceptions of the state’s condition has reached record levels in PPIC Statewide Surveys. Three in four (75%) Californians think the state is headed in the wrong direction, with fewer than one in five (18%) saying the state is going in the right direction. Perceptions have changed markedly since January 2008 (36% right, 54% wrong) and January 2007 (55% right, 37% wrong). Today, the view that the state is going in the wrong direction is widely held and includes at least seven in 10 across parties, regions, and demographic groups. Republicans (77%), independents (76%), and Democrats (75%) all hold similarly negative perceptions. Younger, less educated, and less affluent Californians are slightly less likely to think that the state is heading in the wrong direction. “Do you think things in California are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Voters Ind Right direction 18% 18% 17% 16% 16% Wrong direction 75 75 77 76 78 Don't know 77686 Californians’ perceptions of future economic conditions in the state are also overwhelmingly negative. Eighteen percent think the state will have good times in the next year, while 77 percent think bad times are on the way. This negative perception has been prevalent throughout the past year. Californians are much more pessimistic than they were in January 2007 (50% good, 39% bad). Today, negative perceptions of the state’s economy extend across parties, regions, and demographic groups. Republicans (81%), independents (81%), and Democrats (77%) all expect bad times. While more than seven in 10 across regions expect bad times, residents of the San Francisco Bay Area (82%) are the most pessimistic, followed by those in the Other Southern California region (78%), the Central Valley (76%), and Los Angeles (72%). Latinos (61%) are far less pessimistic than whites (84%) when it comes to the economy; pessimism increases as education and income increase. Good times Bad times Don't know “Turning to economic conditions in California, do you think that during the next 12 months we will have good times financially or bad times?” All Adults 18% Central Valley 18% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 12% 23% Other Southern California 18% Likely Voters 13% 77 76 82 72 78 82 56 6 5 45 14 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues ECONOMIC SITUATION As Californians continue to hear news of rising unemployment, declining house values, and weak consumer spending, nine in 10 Californians say the state is in a serious (59%), moderate (26%), or mild (5%) recession. The perceptions of likely voters are similar (62% serious, 25% moderate, 4% mild). Since this question was first asked in March 2008, the perception among Californians that the state is in a serious recession has reached a historic high, and has increased by 20 points just since October 2008 (39%). The belief that California is in a serious recession has more than doubled since this question was asked last March (26%). The perception that the state is in a serious recession is held by more than half of Californians across parties, regions, and demographic groups. Still, Republicans (53%) are much less likely than Democrats (63%) or independents (65%) to think that California is in a serious recession. Across regions, residents of the Other Southern California region (57%) are least likely to think the state is in a serious recession. The perception that the state is in a serious recession is high among Latinos (57%) and whites (60%), and among men (56%) and women (62%), and rises with higher age and education. “Would you say that California is in an economic recession, or not?” Yes, serious recession All Adults 59% Central Valley 61% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 60% 63% Other Southern California 57% Yes, moderate recession 26 20 26 25 28 Yes, mild recession 5 9 2 5 4 No 7 7 7 5 9 Don't know 33 5 2 2 Latinos 57% 24 9 8 2 With this degree of pessimism about the economy, do Californians think the current housing downturn will hurt their personal financial situation in the next year or so? Half of Californians say that it will, a great deal (30%) or somewhat (22%), while 44 percent say it will not. These perceptions are similar to those of December 2007 (28% great deal, 24% somewhat) and September 2008 (31% great deal, 21% somewhat). Independents (55%) and Democrats (53%) are much more likely than Republicans (43%) to say that the housing situation will hurt their financial situation. Latinos (67%) and renters (59%) are much more likely than whites (45%) and homeowners (48%) to say the same. Yes, a great deal Yes, only somewhat No Don't know “Do you think the current housing situation in California will hurt your financial situation in the next year or so, or not?” All Adults 30% Household Income Under $40,000 $40,000 to under $80,000 40% 25% $80,000 or more 24% 22 25 20 22 44 32 53 52 43 2 2 Home Ownership Own Rent 27% 35% 21 24 48 37 44 January 2009 15 Californians and Their Government STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS Negative perceptions of the state’s economic condition and budget situation are reflected in the overall approval ratings of the governor (40%), especially in his handling of the state budget and taxes (30%), and on the issue of jobs and the economy (30%). The governor’s overall approval rating is similar to that of recent months, but has declined by 10 points since January 2008 and 18 points since January 2007. Republicans (55%) are the most likely to approve of Governor Schwarzenegger, followed by independents (41%), and Democrats (34%). Across regions, about four in 10 residents in the San Francisco Bay Area (42%), the Central Valley (41%), and the Other Southern California region (41%) approve, compared to one in three in Los Angeles (33%). Whites (50%) are twice as likely as Latinos (26%), and men (44%) are more likely than women (36%) to approve. Overall approval of the governor increases with rising income. The impact of a ballooning state budget deficit can be seen in the governor’s approval rating on the issue of the state budget and taxes. Only three in 10 Californians approve of the governor’s handling of this issue—a new low for Governor Schwarzenegger. Approval of his handling of this issue is down 6 points since January 2008 and 17 points from January 2007. Today, Democrats (23%) and independents (30%) are much less likely than Republicans (47%) to approve. Residents in Los Angeles (22%) are least approving, followed by those in the Central Valley (31%), the Other Southern California region (32%), and the San Francisco Bay Area (34%). Latinos (17%) are half as likely as whites (37%), and women (25%) are less likely than men (34%) to approve of the governor on this issue. Approval increases with increasing age, education, and income. With rising unemployment and an uncertain economy, only 30 percent of Californians approve of the governor’s handling of the issue of jobs and the economy. This also marks a new low for the governor; his approval on economic issues has dropped each time we have asked this question (56% January 2005, 39% January 2006, 30% today). Across parties, Republicans (48%) are twice as likely as Democrats (24%) to approve of the governor’s handling of jobs and the economy, and three in 10 independents (29%) approve. Whites (38%) are twice as likely as Latinos (18%) to approve. Approval of the governor on this dimension increases with increasing age and income. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Arnold Schwarzenegger is handling…” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters … his job as governor of California? Approve Disapprove Don't know 40% 34% 55% 41% 44% 51 57 37 47 46 9 9 8 12 10 … the issue of the state budget and taxes? Approve Disapprove Don't know 30 23 47 30 33 61 69 46 59 57 9 8 7 11 10 …the issue of jobs and the economy? Approve Disapprove Don't know 30 24 48 29 34 57 64 40 57 51 13 12 12 14 15 16 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS (CONTINUED) The economic downturn and uncertainty surrounding the state budget seem to have impacted the approval ratings of the legislature as well as the governor. Approval of the legislature has reached the record low first seen in September 2008 (21%), and is down 13 points since last January and 19 points since January 2007. Today, only 21 percent of Democrats approve and even fewer independents (15%) and Republicans (11%) approve. Approval ratings are low across geographic regions, with fewer than one in four residents anywhere approving of the legislature’s performance (22% Los Angeles, 22% Other Southern California region, 19% San Francisco Bay Area, 16% Central Valley). Latinos (33%) are twice as likely as whites (14%) to approve, and approval decreases with increasing age, education, and income. Approval of the state legislature on the issue of the state budget and taxes reaches a new low this month, 14 percent, and is low across political, regional, and demographic groups. Regarding jobs and the economy, only 15 percent of Californians approve of the legislature’s handling of this issue. Fewer than one in four across parties, regions, and demographic groups approve. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling…” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Approve 21% 21% 11% 15% 15% … its job? Disapprove 67 68 83 70 76 Don't know 12 11 6 15 9 … the issue of the state budget and taxes? Approve Disapprove Don't know 14 13 7 10 9 77 79 89 81 84 98497 …the issue of jobs and the economy? Approve Disapprove Don't know 15 14 9 13 12 74 76 79 76 77 11 10 12 11 11 With major work to be done on the state budget and economic issues, do Californians think that the governor and the state legislature will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year? Thirty-nine percent of Californians think they will, but more than half (53%) think they won’t. Similar percentages of Democrats (36%), Republicans (35%), and independents (35%) think the two sides will be able to work together. Two years ago, 62 percent said the governor and legislature would be able to work together, with 29 percent saying they would not. Californians today are much more optimistic about the ability of President Barack Obama and Congress to work together (81% will be able to, 14% will not) than they are about their state elected officials’ ability to do so. “Do you think that Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, or not?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind Yes, will be able to work together 39% 36% 35% 35% No, will not be able to work together 53 57 53 56 Don't know 8 7 12 9 Likely Voters 35% 56 9 January 2009 17 Californians and Their Government STATE BUDGET SITUATION With a record high budget deficit, state coffers nearly empty, and the state controller about to suspend tax refunds and other payments, most Californians recognize that the state’s budget situation is grim. Nearly all Californians call the budget situation a problem, with 75 percent calling it a big problem. Since August 2008, more than seven in 10 have called it a big problem (73% August, 78% September, 74% October, 75% today). These percentages are similar to those recorded during the last economic downturn (74% February 2003, 73% June 2003), when the state was facing a deficit in excess of $30 billion and voter anger with state leadership on fiscal issues contributed to the recall of Governor Gray Davis. Today, more than seven in 10 Californians across regions, and at least six in 10 across demographic groups call the budget situation a big problem. “Do you think the state budget situation in California—that is, the balance between government spending and revenues—is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem for the people of California today?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind Big problem 75% 75% 85% 80% Somewhat of a problem 20 21 13 16 Not a problem 21 1 2 Don't know 33 1 2 Likely Voters 82% 16 1 1 With media outlets in the state increasing coverage, 75 percent of Californians say they are closely following news about the budget, the highest percentage saying so since we first asked the question in May 2001. Twenty-five percent say they are following news very closely and 50 percent say fairly closely. By comparison, before the Davis recall election, about six in 10 residents said they were closely following news in February 2003 (20% very, 42% fairly closely) and June 2003 (18% very, 43% fairly closely). How to deal with the current budget deficit? A plurality of Californians (44%) think a mix of spending cuts and tax increases is needed; 8 percent think tax increases alone should be used and 33 percent think spending cuts alone could close the gap. Only 7 percent say it is okay for the state to borrow money and run a budget deficit. Since last January when the budget deficit was markedly smaller (about $14 billion), pluralities have said they prefer a mix of cuts and taxes to deal with the gap. Likely voters today also prefer a combination approach (48%), as do Democrats (54%) and independents (45%). A majority of Republicans (52%) prefer to close the gap with mostly cuts; 37 percent favor a mix of cuts and taxes. “As you may know, the state government currently has an annual budget of around $100 billion and faces a multibillion-dollar gap between spending and revenues. How would you prefer to deal with the state's budget gap?” Through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases Mostly through tax increases All Adults 44% 8 Dem 54% 12 Party Rep 37% 2 Ind 45% 6 Mostly through spending cuts Okay to borrow money and run a budget deficit Other 33 19 52 30 77 3 7 43 2 7 Don't know 45 4 5 Likely Voters 48% 8 32 4 4 4 18 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues STATE BUDGET SITUATION (CONTINUED) Most Californians (60%) say that of the four major areas of state spending, they would most like to protect K–12 public education from cuts. Eighteen percent would protect health and human services, and 12 percent higher education; only 6 percent would protect prisons and corrections from spending cuts. In the past, majorities of Californians have always chosen K–12 education as the budget area they most want to protect from cuts. “Some of the largest areas for state spending are….Thinking about these four areas of state spending, I'd like you to name the one you most want to protect from spending cuts.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters K–12 public education 60% 59% 63% 64% 61% Health and human services 18 20 13 16 18 Higher education 12 13 11 11 11 Prisons and corrections 6 5 9 66 Don't know 4 3 4 34 With new leadership in Washington D.C. discussing ways to aid the nation’s ailing economy, six in 10 Californians (62%) and likely voters (60%) think the state should seek federal financial assistance to help reduce its budget deficit. Large majorities of Democrats (68%) and independents (62%) say the state should seek federal aid, while Republicans are divided (47% should, 51% should not) on this issue. Should Should not Don't know “Do you think the state government should or should not ask the federal government for financial assistance to reduce the state’s budget deficit?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind 62% 68% 47% 62% 34 28 51 34 44 2 4 Likely Voters 60% 36 4 When it comes to making tough choices about the state budget, 39 percent of Californians say they prefer the approach of the Democrats in the state legislature, 19 percent prefer the approach of legislative Republicans, and 18 percent prefer Governor Schwarzenegger’s approach. Similar percentages have named legislative Democrats and Republicans in the past, while the governor’s approach has lost some popularity (22% January 2007, 24% January 2008, 18% today). But when it comes to making long-term budgetary reforms, 63 percent say California voters should decide at the ballot box, while only 29 percent say the governor and legislator should pass new laws. Since this question was first asked in January 2004, more than six in 10 have chosen voters over elected officials. Although the preference for voters to decide budgetary reforms crosses party and demographic lines, upper-income and highly educated residents are less likely than others to say the voters should decide. In general, more Californians (51%) say they would rather pay higher taxes and have a state government that provides more services than pay lower taxes and have a state government that provides fewer services (42%). They remain divided along party lines on this issue: 65 percent of Democrats prefer higher taxes with more services, while 72 percent of Republicans prefer lower taxes with fewer services. Independents remain divided: 47 percent prefer higher taxes, 44 percent lower taxes. January 2009 19 Californians and Their Government GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL With California officially in a fiscal emergency, Governor Schwarzenegger recently released a budget proposal for the current and next fiscal years that calls for spending cuts and revenue increases. When read a brief, general summary, majorities of Californians (59%) and likely voters (59%) say they are dissatisfied with the governor’s budget plan. Discontent crosses party lines (55% Republicans, 61% independents, 62% Democrats) and majorities across regional and demographic groups are dissatisfied. “Recently, Governor Schwarzenegger proposed a budget plan for the current and next fiscal year to close the state’s $40 billion budget deficit by 2010. It includes spending reductions in K–12 and higher education, health and human services, and prisons and corrections. The plan will temporarily increase the state’s sales tax, extend the sales tax to include services, increase taxes on alcohol, impose a new tax on oil production, and increase vehicle registration fees. It also calls for spending reductions in state employee compensation, allows for the shortening the school year by five days, and for the borrowing of funds. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the governor’s budget plan?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Satisfied 34% 31% 37% 33% 35% Dissatisfied Haven't heard anything about the budget (volunteered) Don't know 59 62 55 61 59 2 2 2 11 5 5 6 55 In general, both the governor’s proposed spending reductions and the proposed revenue increases are generating opposition from many. Fifty-three percent oppose the overall tax and fee increases and 57 percent oppose the overall proposed spending reductions and program cuts. But when asked about several specific proposals for cutting spending and raising revenue, responses are more varied. Californians are divided about reducing spending in state employee wages and compensation (45% favor, 49% oppose). The current proposal calls for employees to take off two unpaid days per month, the elimination of two holidays per year, and for changes to overtime rules. Half of likely voters (50%) favor the overall idea. Across parties, most Democrats (54%) oppose cutting state employee compensation, while Republicans (63%) favor the idea and independents are divided (48% favor, 44% oppose). By comparison, 63 percent of Californians, 59 percent of likely voters, and voters across parties (53% Republicans, 61% independents, 64% Democrats) oppose the current proposal to shorten the K–12 school year as a way to save money. Majorities across regions and demographic groups also oppose this idea, but parents of children 18 or under (71%) are more likely than non-parents (57%) to hold this view. “The governor’s budget plan includes several proposals for cutting state spending and raising state revenues. For each of the following, please say whether you favor or oppose the proposal.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Do you favor or oppose reducing spending in state employee wages and compensation? Favor Oppose Don't know 45% 40% 63% 48% 50% 49 54 32 44 44 66586 Do you favor or oppose allowing the shortening of the school year? Favor Oppose Don't know 35 34 45 37 39 63 64 53 61 59 22222 20 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL (CONTINUED) To raise state revenues, the governor has proposed temporarily raising the state sales tax by 1.5 cents and extending the sales tax to some services. Californians are fairly divided on each, but are more likely to favor the temporary state sales tax increase (52% favor, 46% oppose) than extending it to services (47% favor, 50% oppose). Likely voters favor the sales tax increase (55%), but are divided on extending it (47% favor, 49% oppose). Attitudes about sales taxes appear to be shifting: When presented with the idea of raising or extending the state sales tax in the past, solid majorities of Californians opposed it. “The governor’s budget plan includes several proposals for cutting state spending and raising state revenues. For each of the following, please say whether you favor or oppose the proposal.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Do you favor or oppose temporarily increasing the state sales tax by 1.5 cents? Do you favor or oppose extending the state sales tax to include some services such as vehicle repair, veterinary services, and tickets to sporting events? Favor Oppose Don't know Favor Oppose Don't know 52% 60% 44% 54% 55% 46 38 55 44 43 22122 47 48 37 53 47 50 49 59 43 49 33444 Another proposal for raising revenues, increasing the vehicle license fee (VLF) by $12 per year, is favored by 58 percent of Californians, 61 percent of likely voters, and majorities across parties (53% Republicans, 59% independents, 63% Democrats). One of Governor Schwarzenegger’s first acts in 2003 was to substantially reduce the VLF, and while residents have remained supportive of this action, they now seem to be receptive to a $12 increase. By far the most popular idea proposed by the governor in the current budget plan is an increase in the alcohol excise tax of 5 cents per drink. At least 80 percent of residents (85%), likely voters (86%), Democrats (89%), independents (85%), and Republicans (80%) favor this proposal. “The governor’s budget plan includes several proposals for cutting state spending and raising state revenues. For each of the following, please say whether you favor or oppose the proposal.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Do you favor or oppose increasing the annual vehicle license fee by $12? Favor Oppose Don't know 58% 63% 53% 59% 61% 41 36 46 38 37 11132 Do you favor or oppose increasing the alcohol excise tax by 5 cents per drink? Favor Oppose Don't know 85 89 80 85 86 13 10 18 14 13 21211 January 2009 21 Californians and Their Government RAISING REVENUES In a difficult budget year, Californians seem willing to help reduce the deficit by increasing their own taxes, but they are even more willing to increase taxes on others. Seventy-two percent of residents and 69 percent of likely voters favor raising the top state income tax rate, paid by the wealthiest Californians; fewer than three in 10 oppose this proposal. Partisan differences are evident, with Democrats (84%) and independents (76%) overwhelmingly in favor of increasing taxes on the wealthiest residents, while more Republicans (52%) oppose the idea. Across regional and demographic groups, at least six in 10 favor raising taxes on the rich; support declines as age, education, and income levels rise. Support for raising taxes on the wealthy is similar to last January’s (73% favor, 25% oppose). Most Californians are willing to see corporations in the state pay more in taxes. Sixty percent of residents and 58 percent of likely voters favor raising taxes paid by California corporations; fewer than four in 10 in each group oppose this proposal (36% adults, 38% likely voters). Partisan differences are apparent: Strong majorities of Democrats (72%) and independents (63%) favor raising corporate taxes, while a solid majority of Republicans (59%) are opposed. Latinos (71%) are much more likely than whites (57%) to favor this proposal, as are women (65%) more than men (56%). Support for increasing taxes on California corporations declines as age, education, and income levels rise. Support for raising taxes on corporations in the state has remained steady since we began asking the question in 2005 (60% May 2005; 59% May 2007; 63% May 2008; 60% today). A plan that would require voter approval to borrow money from future state lottery income, however, meets with opposition. A majority of Californians (55%) and likely voters (61%) oppose the idea of borrowing several billion dollars against future state lottery income; only 39 percent of Californians and 34 percent of likely voters favor this idea. Partisan differences dissolve on this question: Registered independents (53%), Democrats (55%), and Republicans (64%) all oppose borrowing against future lottery income. Across regional and demographic groups the plan receives mixed support. Latinos (55%) are more likely to favor this proposal, while whites (62%) are more likely to oppose it. Men (56%) and women (53%) are similar in their opposition to this proposal, but opposition increases with rising age, education, and income levels. Findings today are similar to those of last May, when we asked a different question about the governor’s plan to borrow $15 billion from future lottery income (33% favor, 58% oppose). “Tax and fee increases could be used to help reduce the state’s large gap between spending and revenues. For each of the following, please say if you favor or oppose the proposal.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters How about raising the top rate of the state income tax paid by the wealthiest Californians? Favor Oppose Don't know 72% 84% 45% 76% 69% 26 15 52 23 28 21313 How about raising the state taxes paid by California corporations? Favor Oppose Don't know 60 72 37 63 58 36 25 59 35 38 43424 How about borrowing several billions of dollars against future state lottery income? Favor Oppose Don't know 39 39 31 43 34 55 55 64 53 61 66545 22 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues FISCAL REFORMS With three in four saying the state’s budget situation is a big problem and with the state facing a potential $40 billion budget gap, are Californians willing to support proposals to reform the state budget process? Residents are very supportive of a plan to strictly limit the amount that state spending could increase each year, with 70 percent calling it a good idea, and only 24 percent calling it a bad idea. Likely voter findings are similar to those of all adults. Across parties, Republicans (80%) are the most likely to approve, followed by independents (71%), then Democrats (67%). At least two in three residents across all regional and demographic groups say it is a good idea. Support for a state spending limit has not been this high since June 2003 when we first asked this question (70% good idea, 24% bad idea). As lawmakers continue to struggle with the state budget deficit, and after a record late passage of a budget last fall, Californians are now willing to see changes in the way budgets are approved. A majority of Californians (54%) and likely voters (53%) think it would be a good idea to replace the two-thirds vote requirement for budget passage in the legislature with a 55-percent majority threshold. This is the highest approval for this proposal we have seen in our surveys, and the first time a majority has said it was a good idea since we began asking this question in June 2003 (46% good idea, 43% bad idea). Support for the 55-percent threshold is higher among Democrats (61%) and independents (54%), while more Republicans (54%) say it is a bad idea. A strong majority of Latinos (62%) say changing the budget vote to a 55-percent majority is a good idea while half of whites agree (52%). Support for making this change is similar among age groups, but declines slightly as income rises. Replacing the two-thirds voter approval requirement for special local taxes with a 55-percent majority draws support from half of residents (50%), with 44 percent saying it is a bad idea. Likely voters are divided (47% good idea, 48% bad idea). However, support for this idea is at a new high since we began asking this question in June 2003. Democrats (56%) and independents (50%) are more likely to say it is a good idea and Republicans (60%) more likely to say it is a bad one. Support declines as education and income rise. “Spending and tax reforms have been proposed to address the structural issues in the state budget. For each of the following, please say whether you think the proposal is a good idea or a bad idea.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters How about strictly limiting the amount of money that state spending could increase each year? Good idea Bad idea Don't know 70% 67% 80% 71% 71% 24 28 17 23 24 65365 How about replacing the twothirds vote requirement with a 55-percent majority vote for the state legislature to pass a budget? Good idea Bad idea Don't know 54 61 41 54 53 39 32 54 41 41 77556 How about replacing the twothirds vote requirement with a 55-percent majority vote for voters to pass local special taxes? Good idea Bad idea Don't know 50 56 35 50 47 44 38 60 45 48 66555 January 2009 23 REGIONAL MAP 24 METHODOLOGY The PPIC Statewide Survey is directed by Mark Baldassare, president and CEO and survey director at the Public Policy Institute of California, with research support from Jennifer Paluch, project manager for this survey, and survey research associates Dean Bonner and Sonja Petek. The Californians and Their Government survey series is supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. We benefit from discussions with PPIC staff, foundation staff, and other policy experts; however, the methods, questions, and content of this report were solely determined by Mark Baldassare and the survey staff. The findings in this report are based on a telephone survey of 2,001 California adult residents interviewed from January 13 to 20, 2009. Interviewing took place on weekday nights and weekend days, using a computer-generated random sample of telephone numbers that ensured that both listed and unlisted numbers were called. All landline telephone exchanges in California were eligible. Telephone numbers in the survey sample were called up to six times to increase the likelihood of reaching eligible households. Once a household was reached, an adult respondent (age 18 or older) was randomly chosen for interviewing using the “last birthday method” to avoid biases in age and gender. Each interview took an average of 19 minutes to complete. Interviewing was conducted in English or Spanish. Accent on Languages, Inc. translated the survey into Spanish with assistance from Renatta DeFever. Abt SRBI Inc. conducted the telephone interviewing. We used recent U.S. Census and state data to compare the demographic characteristics of the survey sample with characteristics of California’s adult population. The survey sample was closely comparable to the census and state figures. The survey data in this report were statistically weighted to account for any demographic differences. The sampling error for the total sample of 2,001 adults is ±2 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. This means that 95 times out of 100, the results will be within 2 percentage points of what they would be if all adults in California were interviewed. The sampling error for subgroups is larger: For the 1,621 registered voters, it is ±2.5 percent; for the 1,277 likely voters, it is ±3 percent. Sampling error is only one type of error to which surveys are subject. Results may also be affected by factors such as question wording, question order, and survey timing. We present results for four geographic regions, accounting for approximately 90 percent of the state population. “Central Valley” includes Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo, and Yuba Counties. “San Francisco Bay Area” includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma Counties. “Los Angeles” refers to Los Angeles County, and “Other Southern California” includes Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties. Residents from other geographic areas are included in the results reported for all adults, registered voters, and likely voters. Sample sizes for these less populated areas are not large enough to report separately. We present specific results for Latinos because they account for about 30 percent of the state’s adult population and constitute one of the fastest growing voter groups. Sample sizes for African Americans and Asian Americans are not large enough for separate analysis. We compare the opinions of registered Democrats, Republicans, and independents (those who are registered as “decline to state”). We also include the responses of “likely voters”—those who are most likely to vote in the state’s elections based on past voting, current interest, and voting intentions. We compare current PPIC Statewide Survey results to those in our earlier surveys and to those in national surveys by NBC/Wall Street Journal and Washington Post/ABC News. 25 QUESTIONNAIRE AND RESULTS CALIFORNIANS AND THEIR GOVERNMENT January 13–20, 2009 2,001 California Adult Residents: English, Spanish MARGIN OF ERROR ±2% AT 95% CONFIDENCE LEVEL FOR TOTAL SAMPLE 1. First, which one issue facing California today do you think is the most important for the governor and state legislature to work on in 2009? [code, don’t read] 42% jobs, economy 25 state budget, deficit, taxes 12 education, schools 4 immigration, illegal immigration 2 health care, health costs 11 other 4 don’t know 2. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Arnold Schwarzenegger is handling his job as governor of California? 40% approve 51 disapprove 9 don’t know [rotate questions 3 and 4] 3. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Schwarzenegger is handling the issue of the state budget and taxes? 30% approve 61 disapprove 9 don’t know 4. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Schwarzenegger is handling the issue of jobs and the economy? 30% approve 57 disapprove 13 don’t know 5. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling its job? 21% approve 67 disapprove 12 don’t know [rotate questions 6 and 7] 6. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling the issue of the state budget and taxes? 14% approve 77 disapprove 9 don’t know 7. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling the issue of jobs and the economy? 15% approve 74 disapprove 11 don’t know 8. Do you think that Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, or not? 39% yes, will be able to work together 53 no, will not be able to work together 8 don’t know 27 Californians and Their Government 9. Do you think things in California are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction? 18% right direction 75 wrong direction 7 don’t know 10.Turning to economic conditions in California, do you think that during the next 12 months we will have good times financially or bad times? 18% good times 77 bad times 5 don’t know 11.Do you think the current housing situation in California will hurt your financial situation in the next year or so, or not? (if yes: do you think it will hurt your financial situation a great deal or only somewhat?) 30% yes, a great deal 22 yes, only somewhat 44 no 4 don’t know 12.Would you say that California is in an economic recession, or not? (if yes: Do you think it is in a serious, a moderate, or a mild recession?) 59% yes, serious recession 26 yes, moderate recession 5 yes, mild recession 7 no 3 don’t know 13.Do you think the federal government’s actions in dealing with the current financial crisis will help the California economy, or not? 44% yes, will help 43 no, will not help 13 don’t know 14.Recently, President [prior to January 20, “President-elect”] Barack Obama announced his “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,” an economic stimulus package which would include tax cuts for individuals and businesses and investments in government programs for infrastructure projects. This two-year plan could cost upwards of $775 billion. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the President’s economic stimulus plan? 57% satisfied 26 dissatisfied 6 haven’t heard anything about the plan (volunteered) 11 don’t know 15.How important do you think President [prior to January 20, “President-elect”] Obama’s economic stimulus plan would be in addressing California’s infrastructure needs? 49% very important 33 somewhat important 7 not too important 5 not at all important 6 don’t know 16.Changing topics, how closely are you following news about the California state budget? 25% very closely 50 fairly closely 21 not too closely 4 not at all closely 17.Do you think the state budget situation in California—that is, the balance between government spending and revenues—is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem for the people of California today? 75% big problem 20 somewhat of a problem 2 not a problem 3 don’t know 28 PPIC Statewide Survey 18.As you may know, the state government currently has an annual budget of around $100 billion and faces a multibillion-dollar gap between spending and revenues. How would you prefer to deal with the state's budget gap—mostly through spending cuts, mostly through tax increases, through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, or do you think that it is okay for the state to borrow money and run a budget deficit? 33% mostly through spending cuts 8 mostly through tax increases 44 through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases 7 okay to borrow money and run a budget deficit 4 other (specify) 4 don’t know 19.When it comes to the tough choices involved in the state budget, both in deciding how much Californians should pay in taxes and how to fund state programs, whose approach do you most prefer—[rotate] [1] Governor Schwarzenegger’s, [2] the Democrats’ in the legislature, [or] [3] the Republicans’ in the legislature? 18 Governor Schwarzenegger’s approach 39 Democrats’ approach 19 Republicans’ approach 2 other (specify) 9 none (volunteered) 13 don’t know 20.And when it comes to long-term issues of reforming the state budget process, both in terms of changing the way the state taxes and spends money, which approach do you most prefer—[rotate] [1] the Governor and legislature should pass new laws; [or] [2] the California voters should decide at the ballot box? 29% Governor and legislature should pass new laws 63 California voters should decide at the ballot box 2 other (specify) 6 don’t know Questionnaire and Results 21.And, 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 services, or, I’d rather pay lower taxes and have a state government that provides fewer services? 51% higher taxes and more services 42 lower taxes and fewer services 7 don’t know 22.Some of the largest areas for state spending are: [rotate] [1] K–12 public education, [2] higher education, [3] health and human services, [and] [4] prisons and corrections. Thinking about these four areas of state spending, I’d like you to name the one you most want to protect from spending cuts. 60% K–12 public education 12 higher education 18 health and human services 6 prisons and corrections 4 don’t know 23.Recently, Governor Schwarzenegger proposed a budget plan for the current and next fiscal year to close the state’s $40 billion budget deficit by 2010. It includes spending reductions in K–12 and higher education, health and human services, and prisons and corrections. The plan will temporarily increase the state’s sales tax, extend the sales tax to include services, increase taxes on alcohol, impose a new tax on oil production, and increase vehicle registration fees. It also calls for spending reductions in state employee compensation, allows for the shortening of the school year by five days, and for the borrowing of funds. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the governor’s budget plan? 34% satisfied 59 dissatisfied 2 haven’t heard anything about the budget (volunteered) 5 don’t know January 2009 29 Californians and Their Government [rotate questions 24 and 25] 24.Overall, do you favor or oppose the tax and fee increases proposed in the governor’s budget plan? 39% favor 53 oppose 8 don’t know 25.Overall, do you favor or oppose the program cuts and spending reductions proposed in the governor’s budget plan? 35% favor 57 oppose 8 don’t know The governor’s budget plan includes several proposals for cutting state spending and raising state revenues. For each of the following, please say whether you favor or oppose the proposal. [rotate blocks: questions 26, 27 and questions 28 to 30] [rotate questions 26 and 27] 26.Do you favor or oppose reducing spending in state employee wages and compensation? 45% favor 49 oppose 6 don’t know 27.Do you favor or oppose allowing the shortening of the school year? 35% favor 63 oppose 2 don’t know [rotate questions 28 to 30] 28.Do you favor or oppose temporarily increasing the state sales tax by 1.5 cents? 52% favor 46 oppose 2 don’t know 29.Do you favor or oppose extending the state sales tax to include some services such as vehicle repair, veterinary services, and tickets to sporting events? 47% favor 50 oppose 3 don’t know 29a.Do you favor or oppose increasing the annual vehicle license fee by $12? 58% favor 41 oppose 1 don’t know 30.Do you favor or oppose increasing the alcohol excise tax by 5 cents per drink? 85% favor 13 oppose 2 don’t know 31.And, do you think the state government should or should not ask the federal government for financial assistance to reduce the state’s budget deficit? 62% should 34 should not 4 don’t know Tax and fee increases could be used to help reduce the state’s large gap between spending and revenues. For each of the following, please say if you favor or oppose the proposal. [rotate questions 32 to 34] 32.How about raising the top rate of the state income tax paid by the wealthiest Californians? 72% favor 26 oppose 2 don’t know 33.How about raising the state taxes paid by California corporations? 60% favor 36 oppose 4 don’t know 30 PPIC Statewide Survey 34.How about borrowing several billions of dollars against future state lottery income? 39% favor 55 oppose 6 don’t know Spending and tax reforms have been proposed to address the structural issues in the state budget. For each of the following, please say whether you think the proposal is a good idea or a bad idea. [rotate questions 35 to 37] 35.How about strictly limiting the amount of money that state spending could increase each year? 70% good idea 24 bad idea 6 don’t know 36.How about replacing the two-thirds vote requirement with a 55-percent majority vote for voters to pass local special taxes? 50% good idea 44 bad idea 6 don’t know 37.How about replacing the two-thirds vote requirement with a 55-percent majority vote for the state legislature to pass a budget? 54% good idea 39 bad idea 7 don’t know 38.On another topic, Barack Obama was [prior to January 20: “will be”] inaugurated as U.S. President on January 20th. Do you agree or disagree that Barack Obama will be a strong and capable president? (if agree or disagree: Is that strongly or somewhat?) 62% strongly agree 17 somewhat agree 5 somewhat disagree 7 strongly disagree 9 don’t know Questionnaire and Results 39.Overall, from what you know so far, do you approve or disapprove of President [prior to January 20, “President-elect”] Obama’s handling of economic plans and policies? 72% approve 15 disapprove 13 don’t know 40.Which of these two statements comes closer to your point of view—[rotate] [1] the country will be able to unite behind Barack Obama, who will be able to accomplish a lot in the next four years, [or] [2] the country will be divided, and it will be hard for Barack Obama to accomplish a lot over the next four years? 73% country will be able to unite 22 country will be divided 5 don’t know 41.Do you think that President [prior to January 20, “President-elect”] Obama and the U.S. Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, or not? 81% yes, will be able to work together 14 no, will not be able to work together 5 don’t know 42.Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling its job? 37% approve 56 disapprove 7 don’t know 43.Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling economic plans and policies? 29% approve 63 disapprove 8 don’t know 44.Do you think things in the United States are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction? 32% right direction 62 wrong direction 6 don’t know January 2009 31 Californians and Their Government 45.Turning to economic conditions, do you think that during the next 12 months the United States will have good times financially or bad times? 24% good times 71 bad times 5 don’t know 46.And, are you concerned that you or someone in your family will lose their job in the next year, or not? (if yes: Are you very concerned or somewhat concerned?) 37% yes, very concerned 21 yes, somewhat concerned 36 no 5 have lost job already (volunteered) 1 don’t know 47.Next, some people are registered to vote and others are not. Are you absolutely certain that you are registered to vote in California? 81% yes [ask q47a] 19 no [skip to q48b] 47a.Are you registered as a Democrat, a Republican, another party, or as an independent? 44% Democrat [ask q48] 29 Republican [skip to q48a] 5 another party (specify) [skip to q49] 22 independent [skip to q48b] 48.Would you call yourself a strong Democrat or not a very strong Democrat? 64% strong 33 not very strong 3 don’t know [skip to question 49] 48a.Would you call yourself a strong Republican or not a very strong Republican? 51% strong 46 not very strong 3 don’t know [skip to question 49] 48b.Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican Party or Democratic Party? 20% Republican Party 52 Democratic Party 22 neither (volunteered) 6 don’t know 49.Next, would you consider yourself to be politically: [read list, rotate order top to bottom] 13% very liberal 19 somewhat liberal 32 middle-of-the-road 22 somewhat conservative 12 very conservative 2 don’t know 50.Generally speaking, how much interest would you say you have in politics? 30% great deal 44 fair amount 22 only a little 4 none [d2a asked of homeowners only] d2a.In the past few years, do you think the value of the home you live in has increased, stayed about the same, or declined? (if increased or declined: Is that a lot or some?) 8% increased a lot 11 increased some 11 stayed about the same 32 declined some 38 declined a lot [d1–d2 and d3–d13: demographic questions] 32 PPIC Statewide Survey PPIC STATEWIDE SURVEY ADVISORY COMMITTEE Ruben Barrales President and Chief Executive Officer San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Angela Blackwell Founder and Chief Executive Officer PolicyLink Paul Brest President The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Mollyann Brodie Vice President Kaiser Family Foundation Bruce E. Cain Executive Director Institute of Governmental Studies University of California, Washington Center James E. Canales President The James Irvine Foundation Jon Cohen Director of Polling The Washington Post Matthew K. Fong Special Counsel Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP Russell Hancock President and Chief Executive Officer Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network William Hauck President California Business Roundtable Sherry Bebitch Jeffe Senior Scholar School of Policy, Planning, and Development University of Southern California Carol S. Larson President and Chief Executive Officer The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Monica Lozano Publisher and Chief Executive Officer La Opinión Donna Lucas Chief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs Dan Rosenheim News Director KPIX-TV Robert K. Ross, M.D. President and Chief Executive Officer The California Endowment Cathy Taylor Vice President and Editorial Commentary Director Orange County Register Raymond L. Watson Vice Chairman of the Board Emeritus The Irvine Company Carol Whiteside President Emeritus Great Valley Center The PPIC Statewide Survey Advisory Committee is a diverse group of experts who provide advice on survey issues. However, survey methods, questions, content, and timing are determined solely by PPIC. PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Thomas C. Sutton, Chair Retired Chairman and 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 John E. Bryson Retired Chairman and CEO Edison International 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 Emeritus Great Valley Center PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, California 94111 phone: 415.291.4400 fax: 415.291.4401 PPIC Sacramento Center Senator Office Building 1121 L Street, Suite 801 Sacramento, California 95814 phone: 916.440.1120 fax: 916.440.1121 www.ppic.org survey@ppic.org" } ["___content":protected]=> string(102) "

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" ["_permalink":protected]=> string(111) "https://www.ppic.org/publication/ppic-statewide-survey-californians-and-their-government-january-2009/s_109mbs/" ["_next":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_prev":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_css_class":protected]=> NULL ["id"]=> int(8700) ["ID"]=> int(8700) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_content"]=> string(0) "" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:39:59" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(3984) ["post_status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["post_title"]=> string(8) "S 109MBS" ["post_type"]=> string(10) "attachment" ["slug"]=> string(8) "s_109mbs" ["__type":protected]=> NULL ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(12) "S_109MBS.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(6) "904243" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(87387) "january 2009 &Californians their government in collaboration with The James Irvine Foundation Mark Baldassare Dean Bonner Jennifer Paluch Sonja Petek The Public Policy Institute of California is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. The institute’s goal is to raise public awareness and to give elected representatives and other decisionmakers a more informed basis for developing policies and programs. The institute’s research focuses on the underlying forces shaping California’s future, cutting across a wide range of public policy concerns, including economic development, education, environment and resources, governance, population, public finance, and social and health policy. PPIC is a private, nonprofit organization. It does not take or support positions on any ballot measures or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office. PPIC was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. Mark Baldassare is President and Chief Executive Officer of PPIC. Thomas C. Sutton is Chair of the Board of Directors. TABLE OF CONTENTS About the Survey Press Release National Issues State Issues Regional Map Methodology Questionnaire and Results 1 3 7 13 24 25 27 Copyright © 2009 Public Policy Institute of California All rights reserved 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. ABOUT THE SURVEY The PPIC Statewide Survey provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with objective, advocacy-free information on the perceptions, opinions, and public policy preferences of California residents. Inaugurated in April 1998, this is the 94th PPIC Statewide Survey in a series that has generated a database that includes the responses of more than 200,000 Californians. This survey is the 34th in the Californians and Their Government series, which is conducted periodically to examine the social, economic, and political trends that influence public policy preferences and ballot choices. It is supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. In this survey, we interview California residents as the governor and the state legislature work to close a record budget deficit of approximately $40 billion; as the nation and the state deal with an economic recession; as leaders change in the White House; and as President Barack Obama and Congress develop a federal economic stimulus plan. The survey seeks to raise public awareness, inform decisionmakers, and stimulate public discussion. This report presents the responses of 2,001 California adult residents on these specific topics: „ National issues, including overall perceptions of the direction of the country, its economic outlook, and President Obama’s proposed economic stimulus plan. We also examine residents’ attitudes and expectations of the new president and his economic policies, of how united the country will be under his leadership, and their views on whether he and Congress will be able to collaborate and be productive in the coming year. We also examine how Californians rate Congress, overall and in its specific economic plans and policies. „ State fiscal issues, including perceptions of the seriousness of the state’s budget situation, preferred methods for dealing with the budget gap, satisfaction with the governor’s budget proposal, and overall support for the spending cuts and tax increases included in his budget plan. We also report findings on Californians’ support for specific tax proposals designed to raise state revenues, their support for structural budget reforms, and their attitudes toward obtaining aid from the federal government. We examine perceptions of the most important issue for the governor and legislature to work on in 2009; opinions about the general direction of the state and its economic outlook; concern about housing; approval ratings for Governor Schwarzenegger and the legislature, including their job performances, handling of the state budget, taxes, jobs and the economy; and views of whether the governor and legislature will be able to collaborate and be productive in the coming year. „ The extent to which Californians—based on their political party affiliation, region of residence, race/ethnicity, and other demographics—may differ with regard to perceptions, attitudes, and preferences involving state and national issues. Copies of this report may be ordered online (www.ppic.org) or by phone (415-291-4400). For questions about the survey, please contact survey@ppic.org. View our searchable PPIC Statewide Survey database online at http://www.ppic.org/main/survAdvancedSearch.asp. 1 PRESS RELEASE Para ver este comunicado de prensa en español, por favor visite nuestra página de internet: http://www.ppic.org/main/pressreleaseindex.asp PPIC STATEWIDE SURVEY: CALIFORNIANS AND THEIR GOVERNMENT Californians Back President Obama’s Recovery Plan, Have High Hopes for Him Despite Worries About U.S. Economy BUT THEY TAKE DIM VIEW OF STATE LEADERS, FAVOR LOWERING TWO-THIRDS REQUIREMENT TO PASS BUDGET SAN FRANCISCO, California, January 28, 2009 — A majority of Californians support President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan and see it as important in meeting the state’s infrastructure needs, according to a survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. As Obama begins his presidency, Californians express both high hopes for what he can accomplish and deep worries about the national economy. An overwhelming majority (79%) agree that he will be a strong and capable president—a much bigger vote of confidence than George W. Bush enjoyed among the state’s residents at the outset of his two terms in office (54% in January 2001, 51% in January 2005). With a Democrat in the White House and larger Democratic majorities in Congress, most Californians (81%) also say the president and Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot this year. This is an opinion held across party lines (90% Democrats, 79% independents, 66% Republicans) and despite Californians’ low approval ratings of Congress (37% approve, 56% disapprove). Asked about the new president’s multibillion-dollar economic recovery plan of tax cuts and investments in infrastructure projects, 57 percent of Californians say they are satisfied, and 82 percent say it is important (49% very important, 33% somewhat important) in addressing California’s infrastructure needs. Despite their enthusiasm for the new president, Californians don’t see a quick fix for the troubled economy. A solid majority (71%) believe bad economic times lie ahead in the next year, and many residents believe they will suffer personally: 58 percent say they are concerned (37% very concerned, 21% somewhat concerned) that they or someone in their family will lose a job in the next year, and 5 percent volunteer that they or a family member has already lost a job. Their pessimism grows when Californians are asked about their state. With a record-high budget deficit and state coffers nearly empty, the state’s residents give record-low ratings to their elected officials in their handling of the budget and economy. Just 30 percent approve of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance on these issues. The legislature fares worse: 14 percent of Californians approve of its handling of the budget and taxes, and 15 percent approve of its handling of jobs and the economy. Just 39 percent of Californians say the governor and legislature will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, with 53 percent saying the two branches will be unable to do so. “We’ve seen a sharp turnaround in the last two years,” says Mark Baldassare, PPIC president, CEO, and survey director. “After the November 2006 election, Californians felt their governor and legislature would be able to work together, but that their president and Congress would not. Today, Californians’ hopes lie in Washington.” With most state residents (75%) saying the budget situation is a big problem, support for fiscal reforms has grown. For the first time since this survey began asking the question in 2003, a majority of Californians (54%) say it would be a good idea to replace the two-thirds requirement for legislative passage of the budget with a 55 percent majority. 3 Californians and Their Government NEW ADMINISTRATION IN WASHINGTON, NEW HOPES IN CALIFORNIA Despite an ailing national economy, the state’s residents are optimistic about the change in national leadership: • Californians like what they see on the economy: 72 percent approve of Obama’s handling of economic plans and policies. Democrats (89% approve, 3% disapprove) and independents (70% approve, 13% disapprove) are strongly favorable, while Republicans are divided (40% approve, 39% disapprove). • They see the nation uniting behind Obama: 73 percent say the nation will be able to unite behind Obama to accomplish a lot in the next four years. In 2001, just 44 percent said the nation would be able to unite behind Bush; and in 2005, only 35 percent felt that way. • Fewer see the nation headed in the wrong direction: Although just 32 percent say the nation is headed in the right direction and 62 percent see it going in the wrong direction, this is a marked improvement from last August (21% right direction, 74% wrong direction). Californians are also much more optimistic than adults nationwide, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in mid-January (19% right direction, 78% wrong direction). CLOSER TO HOME: A GROWING APPETITE FOR REFORM AS STATE FISCAL WOES INCREASE A record-high percentage (75%) of Californians say the state is heading in the wrong direction—a marked increase from January 2008 (54%) and dramatically higher than in January 2007 (37%). Across political parties, regions, and demographic groups, majorities of Californians hold this view. Their pessimism about the state’s economy has also increased greatly: 77 percent expect bad economic times in the year ahead, compared to 39 percent in January 2007. Residents recognize that the budget situation is grim. Although they most frequently (42%) name jobs and the economy as the most important issue for the governor and legislature to work on, 25 percent of residents say the state budget is most important—the highest percentage since January 2004 (31%). As they have said since January 2008, when the deficit was much smaller, Californians today (44%) favor closing the budget gap with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases rather than primarily through cuts (33%), primarily through tax hikes (8%), or by borrowing money and running a deficit (7%). Californians are generally dissatisfied with the governor’s recently released budget for the current and next fiscal years (59% dissatisfied, 34% satisfied). On the specifics of his proposal: • Alcohol excise tax: Residents overwhelmingly support raising it by 5 cents per drink (85% favor, 13% oppose). • Vehicle license fee: A majority favor raising it by $12 (58% favor, 41% oppose). • Sales tax: A slim majority favor temporarily increasing the state sales tax by 1.5 cents (52% favor, 46% oppose); 47 percent favor and 50 percent oppose extending the state sales tax to include services such as vehicle repair, veterinary services, and tickets to sporting events. • Cutting state employee compensation: Residents are divided (49% oppose, 45% favor). The governor has proposed requiring employees to take two unpaid days off a month, eliminating two holidays, and changing overtime rules. • Shortening school year: A majority oppose it (63% oppose, 35% favor). While they appear willing to help reduce the budget deficit by increasing their own taxes, Californians are more eager to increase the taxes of others. Majorities favor raising the state income tax rate paid by the wealthiest residents (72%) and raising the state taxes paid by corporations (60%). But they remain opposed (55%) to borrowing money from future state lottery income to fill the budget gap, regardless of their political party (64% of Republicans, 55% of Democrats, 53% of independents are opposed). 4 PPIC Statewide Survey Press Release A protracted impasse over the state budget appears to have made Californians more supportive of reforms in the budget process, as evidenced by their increased support for changing the two-thirds threshold for budget passage to 55 percent (54% in favor today, 46% in June 2003). And a strong majority (70%) support a strict limit on annual state spending increases. Support for a spending cap has not been this high since June 2003 (70%) when the PPIC survey first asked the question. More Californians also favor lowering the two-thirds vote requirement on local special taxes to 55 percent. Half (50%) say this is a good idea—the highest level of support since the survey first asked this question in June 2003—while 44 percent are opposed. MORE KEY FINDINGS ƒ Congress gets poor ratings—page 12 Just 37 percent of Californians approve of the way Congress is handling its job, and an even smaller percentage—29 percent—approve of the way the nation’s legislative branch is handling economic plans and policies. However, this is an improvement over October, when 23 percent approved of Congress’ overall job performance. ƒ Housing slump hits home—page 15 Half of Californians (52%) say the housing downturn will hurt their personal financial situation a great deal (30%) or somewhat (22%). Latinos (67%), renters (59%), independents (55%), and Democrats (53%) are more likely to hold this view than whites (45%), homeowners (48%), and Republicans (43%). ƒ Governor’s overall approval rating at 40%—page 16 Governor Schwarzenegger’s approval rating has changed little in recent months but is down 18 points since January 2007 and 10 points since January 2008. It now stands at the same level as in January 2006, just after the 2005 special election. ƒ Californians want to protect schools from budget cuts—page 19 Most Californians (60%) say K–12 education is the area they would most like to protect from budget cuts, followed by health and human services (18%), higher education (12%), and prisons and corrections (6%). ABOUT THE SURVEY This survey is the 34th in the Californians and Their Government series and is supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. It seeks to examine the social, economic, and political trends that influence public policy preferences and ballot choices. This is the 94th PPIC Statewide Survey in a series that has generated a database that includes the responses of more than 200,000 Californians. Findings are based on a telephone survey of 2,001 California adult residents interviewed from January 13–20, 2009. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish. The sampling error for the total sample is ±2%. For the 1,621 registered voters it is ±2.5% and for the 1,277 likely voters, ±3%. For more information on methodology, see page 25. 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. PPIC is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. The institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. 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. ### January 2009 5 NATIONAL ISSUES KEY FINDINGS „ Most Californians across regional, demographic, and political groups expect the United States will experience bad economic times over the next year and think the nation is headed in the wrong direction. Still, they are much more positive about the direction of the nation than they have been over the past year. (page 8) „ Most Californians are satisfied with incoming President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan and believe it will help address the state’s infrastructure needs. Yet opinions remain mixed about whether or not federal actions will help the state’s economy. (page 9) „ Californians are giving a warm reception to President Obama, with overwhelming majorities agreeing that he will be a strong and capable president, approving of his handling of economic plans and policies, and believing the country will unite behind him. (pages 10, 11) „ In sharp contrast to opinions after the 2006 national election, an overwhelming majority of Californians think the new president and Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, with majorities across political groups agreeing. Still, most Californians disapprove of the way that Congress is handling its job and, more specifically, its economic plans and policies. (pages 11, 12) [Note: This survey was conducted from January 13 through inauguration day, January 20. Wording of survey questions was adjusted accordingly to read “President-elect Obama” or “President Obama,” depending upon whether the question was asked before or after the inauguration.] Percent all adults Percent all adults Direction of the United States Wrong direction 100 Right direction 80 73 62 60 60 51 54 51 62 Percent all adults 40 42 42 43 31 34 32 20 22 0 Sep Sep Jan Oct Jan Mar Jan 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 Will 100 80 60 40 20 0 Be a Strong and Capable President? Somewhat agree Strongly agree 17 21 20 62 33 31 Jan 01 Jan 05 George W. Bush Jan 09 Barack Obama Will the President and Congress be Able to Work Together in the Next Year? 100 Yes No 81 80 60 56 40 38 20 14 0 Jan 07 Jan 09 7 Californians and Their Government STATE OF THE NATION Concern about the economy is clearly taking a toll on Californians’ overall outlook on the direction of the United States, even as many residents express optimism about the change in national political leadership. Today, 62 percent of Californians say the country is heading in the wrong direction, while 32 percent say it is heading in the right direction. Although dismal, the current outlook is still a marked improvement from last August, when 74 percent said the country was going in the wrong direction and only 21 percent thought it was headed in the right direction. Californians are much more optimistic than adults nationwide, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted during the second week of January (78% wrong direction, 19% right direction). Across political groups, Republicans (72%) are the most pessimistic about the nation’s direction, followed by independents (68%) and Democrats (55%). Opinions within political groups about the direction of the country have shifted since August. Among Democrats, we see a 27-point increase in the percentage saying right direction (12% in August, 39% today), and among independents a 5-point increase (22% in August, 27% today), while Republicans are less likely to say right direction today (31% in August, 24% today). However, majorities across all regional and demographic groups believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Right direction Wrong direction Don't know “Do you think things in the United States are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind 32% 39% 24% 27% 62 55 72 68 6645 Likely Voters 31% 64 5 Opinions of the national economy are even more pessimistic: 71 percent of Californians believe that the U.S. economy will fare badly over the next 12 months; only 24 percent think good times lie ahead. These views have not improved since last August (70% bad times, 23% good times). Across regions, residents in the San Francisco Bay Area (16%) are less likely than residents in the Other Southern California region (23%), the Central Valley (24%), and Los Angeles (29%) to say good times lie ahead. Deep pessimism about the national economy can be found among all political and demographic groups. Good times Bad times Don't know “Turning to economic conditions, do you think that during the next 12 months the United States will have good times financially or bad times?” All Adults 24% Central Valley 24% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 16% 29% Other Southern California 23% Likely Voters 17% 71 72 78 64 73 78 5467 45 In response to a question about employment, many Californians say that the current economy could have implications for their own lives: 58 percent say they are concerned that they or someone in their family will lose their job in the next year (37% are very concerned, 21% are somewhat concerned); 5 percent volunteer that they or a family member have already lost a job. Those most likely to say they are very concerned about a job loss include Central Valley residents (41%), Latinos (51%), and those with a high school education or less (48%) or with household incomes below $40,000 (49%). 8 PPIC Statewide Survey National Issues PRESIDENT OBAMA’S STIMULUS PLAN Over the past few months the federal government has taken many steps to address the financial crisis in this country. However, Californians are divided on whether these efforts will benefit the state’s economy: 44 percent think that these efforts will help the state’s economy, 43 percent think not. Residents are divided along partisan lines, with 50 percent of Democrats saying federal actions will help the California economy and 55 percent of Republicans saying they will not. Last October, residents were somewhat less likely to say federal actions would help the California economy (39% yes, 47% no). In response to the economic crisis in the United States, President Obama has announced an economic recovery plan that includes tax cuts for individuals and businesses and investments in government infrastructure projects. Estimates of the total cost of the two-year plan range from $775 billion to $825 billion. Californians are generally satisfied (57%) with the new president’s economic stimulus plan, but 26 percent are dissatisfied, and 17 percent are unsure or haven’t heard about it. A majority of likely voters (53%) are satisfied with the plan, while 30 percent are dissatisfied. Democrats (73%) are overwhelmingly satisfied, half of independents (50%) are satisfied, while half of Republicans (51%) are dissatisfied. Across racial/ethnic groups, nearly three in four Latinos (73%) are satisfied with the stimulus plan, compared to only half of whites (49%). Satisfaction declines as age and income rise. “Recently, President Barack Obama announced his “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,” an economic stimulus package, which would include tax cuts for individuals and businesses and investments in government programs for infrastructure projects. This two-year plan could cost upwards of $775 billion. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the president’s economic stimulus plan?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Voters Ind Satisfied 57% 73% 30% 50% 53% Dissatisfied 26 14 51 29 30 Have not heard anything about the plan (volunteered) 6 4 7 7 6 Don't know 11 9 12 14 11 When it comes to addressing California’s infrastructure needs, eight in 10 residents (82%) believe that President Obama’s stimulus plan will be either very (49%) or somewhat (33%) important. Findings are similar among likely voters. Across regions, residents in Los Angeles (55%) and the Central Valley (50%) are the most likely to say that President Obama’s plans will be very important and nearly eight in 10 across all regions say his plan will be at least somewhat important in addressing the state’s infrastructure needs. Democrats (60%) are much more likely than independents (46%) and Republicans (29%) to say the president’s stimulus plan will be very important for California’s infrastructure. “How important do you think President Obama's economic stimulus plan would be in addressing California's infrastructure needs?” Very important All Adults 49% Central Valley 50% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 46% 55% Other Southern California 46% Somewhat important 33 28 41 28 34 Not too important 7 10 5 6 8 Not at all important 5 4 25 6 Don't know 6 8 66 6 Likely Voters 46% 34 9 5 6 January 2009 9 Californians and Their Government NEW PRESIDENT As Barack Obama takes office, Californians express optimism about his presidency: 79 percent agree (62% strongly, 17% somewhat) that he will be a strong and capable president and only 12 percent disagree. By comparison, 54 percent of Californians agreed (33% strongly, 21% somewhat) and 36 percent disagreed that George W. Bush would be a strong and capable president as he entered office in 2001. Californians were nearly divided on this question when Bush began his second term in 2005: 51 percent agreed (31% strongly, 20% somewhat) and 45 percent disagreed. Among likely voters, three in four agree (59% strongly, 17% somewhat) that President Obama will be a strong and capable leader. Majorities of voters across party lines express optimism about the new president but Democrats (83%) are far more likely than independents (57%) or Republicans (25%) to strongly agree that he will be a dynamic leader. Across regional and demographic groups, majorities agree strongly on President Obama’s leadership potential, but residents in Los Angeles (70%) and the San Francisco Bay Area (64%) are more likely than those in the Central Valley (60%) and Other Southern California region (54%) to express this belief, as are Latinos (79%) far more likely than whites (52%). Those most likely to agree strongly that he will be a strong and capable president include Californians under age 55 (65%), those with a high school education or less (71%), those with household incomes under $40,000 a year (71%), and renters (71%). “On another topic, Barack Obama was inaugurated as U.S. President on January 20th. Do you agree or disagree that Barack Obama will be a strong and capable president?” Strongly agree All Adults 62% Central Valley 60% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 64% 70% Other Southern California 54% Likely Voters 59% Somewhat agree 17 14 17 15 22 17 Somewhat disagree 5 8 63 4 6 Strongly disagree 7 8 44 9 8 Don't know 9 10 9 8 11 10 During the transition period between the election and inauguration, President-elect Obama began focusing his attention on the flagging U.S. economy, proposing plans for job creation, investments in infrastructure projects, tax relief for qualifying households and businesses, and assistance for struggling homeowners. More than seven in 10 Californians (72%) approve of the way President Obama is handling economic plans and policies, including 67 percent of likely voters. Across parties, solid majorities of Democrats (89%) and independents (70%) approve of his economic plans and policies, while Republicans are divided (40% approve, 39% disapprove). Majorities across regions and demographic groups approve of the new president’s handling of economic policy, although approval is higher among Latinos than whites (89% to 64%) and declines as income rises and age rises. Approve Disapprove Don't know “Overall, from what you know so far, do you approve or disapprove of President Obama's handling of economic plans and policies?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind 72% 89% 40% 70% 15 3 39 13 13 8 21 17 Likely Voters 67% 17 16 10 PPIC Statewide Survey National Issues NEW PRESIDENT (CONTINUED) In another sign of Californians’ optimism about their new president, 73 percent say the country will be able to unite behind Barack Obama and that he will be able to accomplish a lot in the next four years. One in five (22%) are less optimistic, believing the country will be divided and that it will be difficult for him to accomplish a lot over the next four years. In January 2001, 44 percent of California residents said the country would be able to unite under George W. Bush, while 50 percent thought the country would be divided. In even starker contrast to the current prevailing attitude, only 35 percent of Californians in January 2005 said the country would be able to unite under Bush and that he would be able to accomplish a lot in four years, while 60 percent foresaw a divided nation, believing it would be difficult for President Bush to accomplish a lot in his second term. Among likely voters today, seven in 10 believe the country will unite behind Obama and that he will be able to accomplish a lot. Among registered voters, majorities hold this view, although Democrats (83%) are much more likely to say so than independents (68%) and Republicans (56%). In a rare display of agreement about national leadership, at least two in three Californians across regions and demographic groups say they expect unity and productivity under President Obama. “Which of these two statements comes closer to your point of view: The country will be …” … able to unite behind Barack Obama, who will be able to accomplish a lot in the next four years … divided, and it will be hard for Barack Obama to accomplish a lot over the next four years Don't know All Adults 73% Region Central San Francisco Los Valley Bay Area Angeles 67% 79% 75% Other Southern California 69% 22 28 17 18 26 55 4 7 5 Likely Voters 71% 24 5 Eight in 10 Californians (81%) and likely voters (79%) also believe that the new president and Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year. This attitude crosses party lines, with 90 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of independents, and 66 percent of Republicans expressing optimism about the future accomplishments of President Obama and Congress. Two years ago, after Democrats gained control of Congress from Republicans in the November 2006 election, only 38 percent of Californians thought President Bush and Congress would be able to work together and accomplish a lot. With Democrats strengthening their majorities in both the Senate and House in last November’s election, and with a Democratic president taking office, most Californians anticipate productive collaboration between the executive and legislative branches: More than three in four residents across regions and demographic groups believe their collaboration will be able to accomplish a lot in the next year. “Do you think that President Obama and the U.S. Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, or not?” Yes, will be able to work together No, will not be able to work together Don't know All Adults 81% 14 5 Dem 90% 7 3 Party Rep 66% 27 7 Ind 79% 16 5 Likely Voters 79% 15 6 January 2009 11 Californians and Their Government 111TH CONGRESS Despite their expectations about the future cooperation and productivity of the president and Congress, Californians’ approval ratings of Congress are low. Still, they have improved since last year. As the 111th Congress begins work on the economic crisis and other important policy issues, only 37 percent of Californians and 30 percent of likely voters approve of the way it is handling its job. However, Californians’ approval ratings are much higher today (37%) than they were last October (23%). In fact, residents have not expressed anything close to this level of approval of Congress since January 2007 (42%). And Californians are much more approving of Congress than Americans nationwide: According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in early January, 68 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job (23% approve). Sharp partisan differences are apparent in California, with Democrats (43%) and independents (34%) much more approving than Republicans (17% approve, 79% disapprove). Regional differences are also apparent, with residents in Los Angeles (40%) and the San Francisco Bay Area (40%) more likely than those in the Other Southern California region (36%) and the Central Valley (32%) to express approval of Congress. Latinos are more than twice as likely as whites (59% to 26%), and women are more likely than men (40% to 34%) to approve of the way that Congress is handling its job. Overall, approval declines with rising age, education, and income. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling its job?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Voters Ind Approve 37% 43% 17% 34% 30% Disapprove 56 49 79 60 64 Don't know 78466 Congress receives even poorer ratings when it comes to its specific handling of economic plans and policies. Fewer than three in 10 Californians (29%) and likely voters (23%) approve of the way Congress is handling the economy. Although majorities across party lines disapprove of congressional performance in this area, Republicans (84%) are far more likely than independents (66%) and Democrats (58%) to disapprove of the way Congress is handling the economy. Majorities across regions also express disapproval. There are no time trends since we did not ask this question in past surveys. Latinos are more than twice as likely as whites to approve of the way Congress is handling the economy (50% to 21%); Californians with annual household incomes under $40,000 (42%) and those with a high school diploma or less (46%) are far more likely than those with higher education and income levels to approve of the way Congress is handling economic plans and policies. Approve Disapprove Don't know “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling economic plans and policies?” All Adults 29% Central Valley 25% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 31% 34% Other Southern California 29% 63 67 62 59 65 8 8 77 6 Likely Voters 23% 70 7 12 PPIC Statewide Survey STATE ISSUES KEY FINDINGS „ Californians cite the economy and the state budget as the top two issues for the governor and legislature to work on this year. Large majorities think the state is headed in the wrong direction and expect bad economic times in the coming year. (pages 14, 15) „ The governor’s and legislature’s overall approval ratings are significantly below last year’s. Majorities of Californians disapprove of their handling of the state budget and economy, and doubt they can work together to accomplish a lot in the coming year. (pages 16, 17) „ Most Californians want the state’s budget gap solved through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. While a solid majority say they are dissatisfied with the governor’s budget plan overall, they are divided on the specific proposals in the plan, and support tax increases on alcoholic drinks and higher vehicle license fees. (pages 18–21) „ Majorities favor raising taxes on the wealthiest Californians and on California corporations, with strong partisan differences apparent. Majorities oppose borrowing against future lottery income. (page 22) „ Majorities also favor budget reforms, including spending limits and lowering the two-thirds legislative requirement to pass a state budget. They are more divided on lowering the two-thirds requirement to pass local special taxes. (page 23) Most Important Issue for Governor and Legislature to Work on in the Next Year 60 Economy, jobs State budget 50 42 Percent all adults 40 31 30 20 20 21 12 19 25 10 15 7 15 10 5 0 Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan 04 05 06 07 08 09 Approval Ratings of State Elected Officials 80 Governor Legislature 59 60 60 58 50 Percent all adults 40 40 40 36 37 40 34 29 20 21 0 Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan Jan 04 05 06 07 08 09 Replacing Two-thirds Vote With a 55 Percent Majority to Pass a State Budget 80 Good idea Bad idea 60 53 52 53 53 53 40 41 40 41 39 20 41 Percent likely voters 0 Jan May May May Jan 05 06 07 08 09 13 Californians and Their Government OVERALL MOOD The economy is the most prominent issue on Californians’ minds today, as it was throughout all of 2008. Forty-two percent of Californians today name jobs and the economy as the most important issue for the governor and legislature to work on this year—similar to the record high citing the economy as the most important issue in September (44%). One in four today name the state budget as the most important issue (25%), the highest percentage since January 2004 (31%). Fewer mention schools (12%) or immigration (4%). The percentage expressing negative perceptions of the state’s condition has reached record levels in PPIC Statewide Surveys. Three in four (75%) Californians think the state is headed in the wrong direction, with fewer than one in five (18%) saying the state is going in the right direction. Perceptions have changed markedly since January 2008 (36% right, 54% wrong) and January 2007 (55% right, 37% wrong). Today, the view that the state is going in the wrong direction is widely held and includes at least seven in 10 across parties, regions, and demographic groups. Republicans (77%), independents (76%), and Democrats (75%) all hold similarly negative perceptions. Younger, less educated, and less affluent Californians are slightly less likely to think that the state is heading in the wrong direction. “Do you think things in California are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Voters Ind Right direction 18% 18% 17% 16% 16% Wrong direction 75 75 77 76 78 Don't know 77686 Californians’ perceptions of future economic conditions in the state are also overwhelmingly negative. Eighteen percent think the state will have good times in the next year, while 77 percent think bad times are on the way. This negative perception has been prevalent throughout the past year. Californians are much more pessimistic than they were in January 2007 (50% good, 39% bad). Today, negative perceptions of the state’s economy extend across parties, regions, and demographic groups. Republicans (81%), independents (81%), and Democrats (77%) all expect bad times. While more than seven in 10 across regions expect bad times, residents of the San Francisco Bay Area (82%) are the most pessimistic, followed by those in the Other Southern California region (78%), the Central Valley (76%), and Los Angeles (72%). Latinos (61%) are far less pessimistic than whites (84%) when it comes to the economy; pessimism increases as education and income increase. Good times Bad times Don't know “Turning to economic conditions in California, do you think that during the next 12 months we will have good times financially or bad times?” All Adults 18% Central Valley 18% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 12% 23% Other Southern California 18% Likely Voters 13% 77 76 82 72 78 82 56 6 5 45 14 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues ECONOMIC SITUATION As Californians continue to hear news of rising unemployment, declining house values, and weak consumer spending, nine in 10 Californians say the state is in a serious (59%), moderate (26%), or mild (5%) recession. The perceptions of likely voters are similar (62% serious, 25% moderate, 4% mild). Since this question was first asked in March 2008, the perception among Californians that the state is in a serious recession has reached a historic high, and has increased by 20 points just since October 2008 (39%). The belief that California is in a serious recession has more than doubled since this question was asked last March (26%). The perception that the state is in a serious recession is held by more than half of Californians across parties, regions, and demographic groups. Still, Republicans (53%) are much less likely than Democrats (63%) or independents (65%) to think that California is in a serious recession. Across regions, residents of the Other Southern California region (57%) are least likely to think the state is in a serious recession. The perception that the state is in a serious recession is high among Latinos (57%) and whites (60%), and among men (56%) and women (62%), and rises with higher age and education. “Would you say that California is in an economic recession, or not?” Yes, serious recession All Adults 59% Central Valley 61% Region San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles 60% 63% Other Southern California 57% Yes, moderate recession 26 20 26 25 28 Yes, mild recession 5 9 2 5 4 No 7 7 7 5 9 Don't know 33 5 2 2 Latinos 57% 24 9 8 2 With this degree of pessimism about the economy, do Californians think the current housing downturn will hurt their personal financial situation in the next year or so? Half of Californians say that it will, a great deal (30%) or somewhat (22%), while 44 percent say it will not. These perceptions are similar to those of December 2007 (28% great deal, 24% somewhat) and September 2008 (31% great deal, 21% somewhat). Independents (55%) and Democrats (53%) are much more likely than Republicans (43%) to say that the housing situation will hurt their financial situation. Latinos (67%) and renters (59%) are much more likely than whites (45%) and homeowners (48%) to say the same. Yes, a great deal Yes, only somewhat No Don't know “Do you think the current housing situation in California will hurt your financial situation in the next year or so, or not?” All Adults 30% Household Income Under $40,000 $40,000 to under $80,000 40% 25% $80,000 or more 24% 22 25 20 22 44 32 53 52 43 2 2 Home Ownership Own Rent 27% 35% 21 24 48 37 44 January 2009 15 Californians and Their Government STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS Negative perceptions of the state’s economic condition and budget situation are reflected in the overall approval ratings of the governor (40%), especially in his handling of the state budget and taxes (30%), and on the issue of jobs and the economy (30%). The governor’s overall approval rating is similar to that of recent months, but has declined by 10 points since January 2008 and 18 points since January 2007. Republicans (55%) are the most likely to approve of Governor Schwarzenegger, followed by independents (41%), and Democrats (34%). Across regions, about four in 10 residents in the San Francisco Bay Area (42%), the Central Valley (41%), and the Other Southern California region (41%) approve, compared to one in three in Los Angeles (33%). Whites (50%) are twice as likely as Latinos (26%), and men (44%) are more likely than women (36%) to approve. Overall approval of the governor increases with rising income. The impact of a ballooning state budget deficit can be seen in the governor’s approval rating on the issue of the state budget and taxes. Only three in 10 Californians approve of the governor’s handling of this issue—a new low for Governor Schwarzenegger. Approval of his handling of this issue is down 6 points since January 2008 and 17 points from January 2007. Today, Democrats (23%) and independents (30%) are much less likely than Republicans (47%) to approve. Residents in Los Angeles (22%) are least approving, followed by those in the Central Valley (31%), the Other Southern California region (32%), and the San Francisco Bay Area (34%). Latinos (17%) are half as likely as whites (37%), and women (25%) are less likely than men (34%) to approve of the governor on this issue. Approval increases with increasing age, education, and income. With rising unemployment and an uncertain economy, only 30 percent of Californians approve of the governor’s handling of the issue of jobs and the economy. This also marks a new low for the governor; his approval on economic issues has dropped each time we have asked this question (56% January 2005, 39% January 2006, 30% today). Across parties, Republicans (48%) are twice as likely as Democrats (24%) to approve of the governor’s handling of jobs and the economy, and three in 10 independents (29%) approve. Whites (38%) are twice as likely as Latinos (18%) to approve. Approval of the governor on this dimension increases with increasing age and income. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Arnold Schwarzenegger is handling…” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters … his job as governor of California? Approve Disapprove Don't know 40% 34% 55% 41% 44% 51 57 37 47 46 9 9 8 12 10 … the issue of the state budget and taxes? Approve Disapprove Don't know 30 23 47 30 33 61 69 46 59 57 9 8 7 11 10 …the issue of jobs and the economy? Approve Disapprove Don't know 30 24 48 29 34 57 64 40 57 51 13 12 12 14 15 16 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS (CONTINUED) The economic downturn and uncertainty surrounding the state budget seem to have impacted the approval ratings of the legislature as well as the governor. Approval of the legislature has reached the record low first seen in September 2008 (21%), and is down 13 points since last January and 19 points since January 2007. Today, only 21 percent of Democrats approve and even fewer independents (15%) and Republicans (11%) approve. Approval ratings are low across geographic regions, with fewer than one in four residents anywhere approving of the legislature’s performance (22% Los Angeles, 22% Other Southern California region, 19% San Francisco Bay Area, 16% Central Valley). Latinos (33%) are twice as likely as whites (14%) to approve, and approval decreases with increasing age, education, and income. Approval of the state legislature on the issue of the state budget and taxes reaches a new low this month, 14 percent, and is low across political, regional, and demographic groups. Regarding jobs and the economy, only 15 percent of Californians approve of the legislature’s handling of this issue. Fewer than one in four across parties, regions, and demographic groups approve. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling…” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Approve 21% 21% 11% 15% 15% … its job? Disapprove 67 68 83 70 76 Don't know 12 11 6 15 9 … the issue of the state budget and taxes? Approve Disapprove Don't know 14 13 7 10 9 77 79 89 81 84 98497 …the issue of jobs and the economy? Approve Disapprove Don't know 15 14 9 13 12 74 76 79 76 77 11 10 12 11 11 With major work to be done on the state budget and economic issues, do Californians think that the governor and the state legislature will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year? Thirty-nine percent of Californians think they will, but more than half (53%) think they won’t. Similar percentages of Democrats (36%), Republicans (35%), and independents (35%) think the two sides will be able to work together. Two years ago, 62 percent said the governor and legislature would be able to work together, with 29 percent saying they would not. Californians today are much more optimistic about the ability of President Barack Obama and Congress to work together (81% will be able to, 14% will not) than they are about their state elected officials’ ability to do so. “Do you think that Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, or not?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind Yes, will be able to work together 39% 36% 35% 35% No, will not be able to work together 53 57 53 56 Don't know 8 7 12 9 Likely Voters 35% 56 9 January 2009 17 Californians and Their Government STATE BUDGET SITUATION With a record high budget deficit, state coffers nearly empty, and the state controller about to suspend tax refunds and other payments, most Californians recognize that the state’s budget situation is grim. Nearly all Californians call the budget situation a problem, with 75 percent calling it a big problem. Since August 2008, more than seven in 10 have called it a big problem (73% August, 78% September, 74% October, 75% today). These percentages are similar to those recorded during the last economic downturn (74% February 2003, 73% June 2003), when the state was facing a deficit in excess of $30 billion and voter anger with state leadership on fiscal issues contributed to the recall of Governor Gray Davis. Today, more than seven in 10 Californians across regions, and at least six in 10 across demographic groups call the budget situation a big problem. “Do you think the state budget situation in California—that is, the balance between government spending and revenues—is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem for the people of California today?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind Big problem 75% 75% 85% 80% Somewhat of a problem 20 21 13 16 Not a problem 21 1 2 Don't know 33 1 2 Likely Voters 82% 16 1 1 With media outlets in the state increasing coverage, 75 percent of Californians say they are closely following news about the budget, the highest percentage saying so since we first asked the question in May 2001. Twenty-five percent say they are following news very closely and 50 percent say fairly closely. By comparison, before the Davis recall election, about six in 10 residents said they were closely following news in February 2003 (20% very, 42% fairly closely) and June 2003 (18% very, 43% fairly closely). How to deal with the current budget deficit? A plurality of Californians (44%) think a mix of spending cuts and tax increases is needed; 8 percent think tax increases alone should be used and 33 percent think spending cuts alone could close the gap. Only 7 percent say it is okay for the state to borrow money and run a budget deficit. Since last January when the budget deficit was markedly smaller (about $14 billion), pluralities have said they prefer a mix of cuts and taxes to deal with the gap. Likely voters today also prefer a combination approach (48%), as do Democrats (54%) and independents (45%). A majority of Republicans (52%) prefer to close the gap with mostly cuts; 37 percent favor a mix of cuts and taxes. “As you may know, the state government currently has an annual budget of around $100 billion and faces a multibillion-dollar gap between spending and revenues. How would you prefer to deal with the state's budget gap?” Through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases Mostly through tax increases All Adults 44% 8 Dem 54% 12 Party Rep 37% 2 Ind 45% 6 Mostly through spending cuts Okay to borrow money and run a budget deficit Other 33 19 52 30 77 3 7 43 2 7 Don't know 45 4 5 Likely Voters 48% 8 32 4 4 4 18 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues STATE BUDGET SITUATION (CONTINUED) Most Californians (60%) say that of the four major areas of state spending, they would most like to protect K–12 public education from cuts. Eighteen percent would protect health and human services, and 12 percent higher education; only 6 percent would protect prisons and corrections from spending cuts. In the past, majorities of Californians have always chosen K–12 education as the budget area they most want to protect from cuts. “Some of the largest areas for state spending are….Thinking about these four areas of state spending, I'd like you to name the one you most want to protect from spending cuts.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters K–12 public education 60% 59% 63% 64% 61% Health and human services 18 20 13 16 18 Higher education 12 13 11 11 11 Prisons and corrections 6 5 9 66 Don't know 4 3 4 34 With new leadership in Washington D.C. discussing ways to aid the nation’s ailing economy, six in 10 Californians (62%) and likely voters (60%) think the state should seek federal financial assistance to help reduce its budget deficit. Large majorities of Democrats (68%) and independents (62%) say the state should seek federal aid, while Republicans are divided (47% should, 51% should not) on this issue. Should Should not Don't know “Do you think the state government should or should not ask the federal government for financial assistance to reduce the state’s budget deficit?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Ind 62% 68% 47% 62% 34 28 51 34 44 2 4 Likely Voters 60% 36 4 When it comes to making tough choices about the state budget, 39 percent of Californians say they prefer the approach of the Democrats in the state legislature, 19 percent prefer the approach of legislative Republicans, and 18 percent prefer Governor Schwarzenegger’s approach. Similar percentages have named legislative Democrats and Republicans in the past, while the governor’s approach has lost some popularity (22% January 2007, 24% January 2008, 18% today). But when it comes to making long-term budgetary reforms, 63 percent say California voters should decide at the ballot box, while only 29 percent say the governor and legislator should pass new laws. Since this question was first asked in January 2004, more than six in 10 have chosen voters over elected officials. Although the preference for voters to decide budgetary reforms crosses party and demographic lines, upper-income and highly educated residents are less likely than others to say the voters should decide. In general, more Californians (51%) say they would rather pay higher taxes and have a state government that provides more services than pay lower taxes and have a state government that provides fewer services (42%). They remain divided along party lines on this issue: 65 percent of Democrats prefer higher taxes with more services, while 72 percent of Republicans prefer lower taxes with fewer services. Independents remain divided: 47 percent prefer higher taxes, 44 percent lower taxes. January 2009 19 Californians and Their Government GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL With California officially in a fiscal emergency, Governor Schwarzenegger recently released a budget proposal for the current and next fiscal years that calls for spending cuts and revenue increases. When read a brief, general summary, majorities of Californians (59%) and likely voters (59%) say they are dissatisfied with the governor’s budget plan. Discontent crosses party lines (55% Republicans, 61% independents, 62% Democrats) and majorities across regional and demographic groups are dissatisfied. “Recently, Governor Schwarzenegger proposed a budget plan for the current and next fiscal year to close the state’s $40 billion budget deficit by 2010. It includes spending reductions in K–12 and higher education, health and human services, and prisons and corrections. The plan will temporarily increase the state’s sales tax, extend the sales tax to include services, increase taxes on alcohol, impose a new tax on oil production, and increase vehicle registration fees. It also calls for spending reductions in state employee compensation, allows for the shortening the school year by five days, and for the borrowing of funds. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the governor’s budget plan?” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Satisfied 34% 31% 37% 33% 35% Dissatisfied Haven't heard anything about the budget (volunteered) Don't know 59 62 55 61 59 2 2 2 11 5 5 6 55 In general, both the governor’s proposed spending reductions and the proposed revenue increases are generating opposition from many. Fifty-three percent oppose the overall tax and fee increases and 57 percent oppose the overall proposed spending reductions and program cuts. But when asked about several specific proposals for cutting spending and raising revenue, responses are more varied. Californians are divided about reducing spending in state employee wages and compensation (45% favor, 49% oppose). The current proposal calls for employees to take off two unpaid days per month, the elimination of two holidays per year, and for changes to overtime rules. Half of likely voters (50%) favor the overall idea. Across parties, most Democrats (54%) oppose cutting state employee compensation, while Republicans (63%) favor the idea and independents are divided (48% favor, 44% oppose). By comparison, 63 percent of Californians, 59 percent of likely voters, and voters across parties (53% Republicans, 61% independents, 64% Democrats) oppose the current proposal to shorten the K–12 school year as a way to save money. Majorities across regions and demographic groups also oppose this idea, but parents of children 18 or under (71%) are more likely than non-parents (57%) to hold this view. “The governor’s budget plan includes several proposals for cutting state spending and raising state revenues. For each of the following, please say whether you favor or oppose the proposal.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Do you favor or oppose reducing spending in state employee wages and compensation? Favor Oppose Don't know 45% 40% 63% 48% 50% 49 54 32 44 44 66586 Do you favor or oppose allowing the shortening of the school year? Favor Oppose Don't know 35 34 45 37 39 63 64 53 61 59 22222 20 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PROPOSAL (CONTINUED) To raise state revenues, the governor has proposed temporarily raising the state sales tax by 1.5 cents and extending the sales tax to some services. Californians are fairly divided on each, but are more likely to favor the temporary state sales tax increase (52% favor, 46% oppose) than extending it to services (47% favor, 50% oppose). Likely voters favor the sales tax increase (55%), but are divided on extending it (47% favor, 49% oppose). Attitudes about sales taxes appear to be shifting: When presented with the idea of raising or extending the state sales tax in the past, solid majorities of Californians opposed it. “The governor’s budget plan includes several proposals for cutting state spending and raising state revenues. For each of the following, please say whether you favor or oppose the proposal.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Do you favor or oppose temporarily increasing the state sales tax by 1.5 cents? Do you favor or oppose extending the state sales tax to include some services such as vehicle repair, veterinary services, and tickets to sporting events? Favor Oppose Don't know Favor Oppose Don't know 52% 60% 44% 54% 55% 46 38 55 44 43 22122 47 48 37 53 47 50 49 59 43 49 33444 Another proposal for raising revenues, increasing the vehicle license fee (VLF) by $12 per year, is favored by 58 percent of Californians, 61 percent of likely voters, and majorities across parties (53% Republicans, 59% independents, 63% Democrats). One of Governor Schwarzenegger’s first acts in 2003 was to substantially reduce the VLF, and while residents have remained supportive of this action, they now seem to be receptive to a $12 increase. By far the most popular idea proposed by the governor in the current budget plan is an increase in the alcohol excise tax of 5 cents per drink. At least 80 percent of residents (85%), likely voters (86%), Democrats (89%), independents (85%), and Republicans (80%) favor this proposal. “The governor’s budget plan includes several proposals for cutting state spending and raising state revenues. For each of the following, please say whether you favor or oppose the proposal.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters Do you favor or oppose increasing the annual vehicle license fee by $12? Favor Oppose Don't know 58% 63% 53% 59% 61% 41 36 46 38 37 11132 Do you favor or oppose increasing the alcohol excise tax by 5 cents per drink? Favor Oppose Don't know 85 89 80 85 86 13 10 18 14 13 21211 January 2009 21 Californians and Their Government RAISING REVENUES In a difficult budget year, Californians seem willing to help reduce the deficit by increasing their own taxes, but they are even more willing to increase taxes on others. Seventy-two percent of residents and 69 percent of likely voters favor raising the top state income tax rate, paid by the wealthiest Californians; fewer than three in 10 oppose this proposal. Partisan differences are evident, with Democrats (84%) and independents (76%) overwhelmingly in favor of increasing taxes on the wealthiest residents, while more Republicans (52%) oppose the idea. Across regional and demographic groups, at least six in 10 favor raising taxes on the rich; support declines as age, education, and income levels rise. Support for raising taxes on the wealthy is similar to last January’s (73% favor, 25% oppose). Most Californians are willing to see corporations in the state pay more in taxes. Sixty percent of residents and 58 percent of likely voters favor raising taxes paid by California corporations; fewer than four in 10 in each group oppose this proposal (36% adults, 38% likely voters). Partisan differences are apparent: Strong majorities of Democrats (72%) and independents (63%) favor raising corporate taxes, while a solid majority of Republicans (59%) are opposed. Latinos (71%) are much more likely than whites (57%) to favor this proposal, as are women (65%) more than men (56%). Support for increasing taxes on California corporations declines as age, education, and income levels rise. Support for raising taxes on corporations in the state has remained steady since we began asking the question in 2005 (60% May 2005; 59% May 2007; 63% May 2008; 60% today). A plan that would require voter approval to borrow money from future state lottery income, however, meets with opposition. A majority of Californians (55%) and likely voters (61%) oppose the idea of borrowing several billion dollars against future state lottery income; only 39 percent of Californians and 34 percent of likely voters favor this idea. Partisan differences dissolve on this question: Registered independents (53%), Democrats (55%), and Republicans (64%) all oppose borrowing against future lottery income. Across regional and demographic groups the plan receives mixed support. Latinos (55%) are more likely to favor this proposal, while whites (62%) are more likely to oppose it. Men (56%) and women (53%) are similar in their opposition to this proposal, but opposition increases with rising age, education, and income levels. Findings today are similar to those of last May, when we asked a different question about the governor’s plan to borrow $15 billion from future lottery income (33% favor, 58% oppose). “Tax and fee increases could be used to help reduce the state’s large gap between spending and revenues. For each of the following, please say if you favor or oppose the proposal.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters How about raising the top rate of the state income tax paid by the wealthiest Californians? Favor Oppose Don't know 72% 84% 45% 76% 69% 26 15 52 23 28 21313 How about raising the state taxes paid by California corporations? Favor Oppose Don't know 60 72 37 63 58 36 25 59 35 38 43424 How about borrowing several billions of dollars against future state lottery income? Favor Oppose Don't know 39 39 31 43 34 55 55 64 53 61 66545 22 PPIC Statewide Survey State Issues FISCAL REFORMS With three in four saying the state’s budget situation is a big problem and with the state facing a potential $40 billion budget gap, are Californians willing to support proposals to reform the state budget process? Residents are very supportive of a plan to strictly limit the amount that state spending could increase each year, with 70 percent calling it a good idea, and only 24 percent calling it a bad idea. Likely voter findings are similar to those of all adults. Across parties, Republicans (80%) are the most likely to approve, followed by independents (71%), then Democrats (67%). At least two in three residents across all regional and demographic groups say it is a good idea. Support for a state spending limit has not been this high since June 2003 when we first asked this question (70% good idea, 24% bad idea). As lawmakers continue to struggle with the state budget deficit, and after a record late passage of a budget last fall, Californians are now willing to see changes in the way budgets are approved. A majority of Californians (54%) and likely voters (53%) think it would be a good idea to replace the two-thirds vote requirement for budget passage in the legislature with a 55-percent majority threshold. This is the highest approval for this proposal we have seen in our surveys, and the first time a majority has said it was a good idea since we began asking this question in June 2003 (46% good idea, 43% bad idea). Support for the 55-percent threshold is higher among Democrats (61%) and independents (54%), while more Republicans (54%) say it is a bad idea. A strong majority of Latinos (62%) say changing the budget vote to a 55-percent majority is a good idea while half of whites agree (52%). Support for making this change is similar among age groups, but declines slightly as income rises. Replacing the two-thirds voter approval requirement for special local taxes with a 55-percent majority draws support from half of residents (50%), with 44 percent saying it is a bad idea. Likely voters are divided (47% good idea, 48% bad idea). However, support for this idea is at a new high since we began asking this question in June 2003. Democrats (56%) and independents (50%) are more likely to say it is a good idea and Republicans (60%) more likely to say it is a bad one. Support declines as education and income rise. “Spending and tax reforms have been proposed to address the structural issues in the state budget. For each of the following, please say whether you think the proposal is a good idea or a bad idea.” All Adults Dem Party Rep Likely Ind Voters How about strictly limiting the amount of money that state spending could increase each year? Good idea Bad idea Don't know 70% 67% 80% 71% 71% 24 28 17 23 24 65365 How about replacing the twothirds vote requirement with a 55-percent majority vote for the state legislature to pass a budget? Good idea Bad idea Don't know 54 61 41 54 53 39 32 54 41 41 77556 How about replacing the twothirds vote requirement with a 55-percent majority vote for voters to pass local special taxes? Good idea Bad idea Don't know 50 56 35 50 47 44 38 60 45 48 66555 January 2009 23 REGIONAL MAP 24 METHODOLOGY The PPIC Statewide Survey is directed by Mark Baldassare, president and CEO and survey director at the Public Policy Institute of California, with research support from Jennifer Paluch, project manager for this survey, and survey research associates Dean Bonner and Sonja Petek. The Californians and Their Government survey series is supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. We benefit from discussions with PPIC staff, foundation staff, and other policy experts; however, the methods, questions, and content of this report were solely determined by Mark Baldassare and the survey staff. The findings in this report are based on a telephone survey of 2,001 California adult residents interviewed from January 13 to 20, 2009. Interviewing took place on weekday nights and weekend days, using a computer-generated random sample of telephone numbers that ensured that both listed and unlisted numbers were called. All landline telephone exchanges in California were eligible. Telephone numbers in the survey sample were called up to six times to increase the likelihood of reaching eligible households. Once a household was reached, an adult respondent (age 18 or older) was randomly chosen for interviewing using the “last birthday method” to avoid biases in age and gender. Each interview took an average of 19 minutes to complete. Interviewing was conducted in English or Spanish. Accent on Languages, Inc. translated the survey into Spanish with assistance from Renatta DeFever. Abt SRBI Inc. conducted the telephone interviewing. We used recent U.S. Census and state data to compare the demographic characteristics of the survey sample with characteristics of California’s adult population. The survey sample was closely comparable to the census and state figures. The survey data in this report were statistically weighted to account for any demographic differences. The sampling error for the total sample of 2,001 adults is ±2 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. This means that 95 times out of 100, the results will be within 2 percentage points of what they would be if all adults in California were interviewed. The sampling error for subgroups is larger: For the 1,621 registered voters, it is ±2.5 percent; for the 1,277 likely voters, it is ±3 percent. Sampling error is only one type of error to which surveys are subject. Results may also be affected by factors such as question wording, question order, and survey timing. We present results for four geographic regions, accounting for approximately 90 percent of the state population. “Central Valley” includes Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo, and Yuba Counties. “San Francisco Bay Area” includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma Counties. “Los Angeles” refers to Los Angeles County, and “Other Southern California” includes Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties. Residents from other geographic areas are included in the results reported for all adults, registered voters, and likely voters. Sample sizes for these less populated areas are not large enough to report separately. We present specific results for Latinos because they account for about 30 percent of the state’s adult population and constitute one of the fastest growing voter groups. Sample sizes for African Americans and Asian Americans are not large enough for separate analysis. We compare the opinions of registered Democrats, Republicans, and independents (those who are registered as “decline to state”). We also include the responses of “likely voters”—those who are most likely to vote in the state’s elections based on past voting, current interest, and voting intentions. We compare current PPIC Statewide Survey results to those in our earlier surveys and to those in national surveys by NBC/Wall Street Journal and Washington Post/ABC News. 25 QUESTIONNAIRE AND RESULTS CALIFORNIANS AND THEIR GOVERNMENT January 13–20, 2009 2,001 California Adult Residents: English, Spanish MARGIN OF ERROR ±2% AT 95% CONFIDENCE LEVEL FOR TOTAL SAMPLE 1. First, which one issue facing California today do you think is the most important for the governor and state legislature to work on in 2009? [code, don’t read] 42% jobs, economy 25 state budget, deficit, taxes 12 education, schools 4 immigration, illegal immigration 2 health care, health costs 11 other 4 don’t know 2. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Arnold Schwarzenegger is handling his job as governor of California? 40% approve 51 disapprove 9 don’t know [rotate questions 3 and 4] 3. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Schwarzenegger is handling the issue of the state budget and taxes? 30% approve 61 disapprove 9 don’t know 4. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Schwarzenegger is handling the issue of jobs and the economy? 30% approve 57 disapprove 13 don’t know 5. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling its job? 21% approve 67 disapprove 12 don’t know [rotate questions 6 and 7] 6. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling the issue of the state budget and taxes? 14% approve 77 disapprove 9 don’t know 7. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling the issue of jobs and the economy? 15% approve 74 disapprove 11 don’t know 8. Do you think that Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, or not? 39% yes, will be able to work together 53 no, will not be able to work together 8 don’t know 27 Californians and Their Government 9. Do you think things in California are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction? 18% right direction 75 wrong direction 7 don’t know 10.Turning to economic conditions in California, do you think that during the next 12 months we will have good times financially or bad times? 18% good times 77 bad times 5 don’t know 11.Do you think the current housing situation in California will hurt your financial situation in the next year or so, or not? (if yes: do you think it will hurt your financial situation a great deal or only somewhat?) 30% yes, a great deal 22 yes, only somewhat 44 no 4 don’t know 12.Would you say that California is in an economic recession, or not? (if yes: Do you think it is in a serious, a moderate, or a mild recession?) 59% yes, serious recession 26 yes, moderate recession 5 yes, mild recession 7 no 3 don’t know 13.Do you think the federal government’s actions in dealing with the current financial crisis will help the California economy, or not? 44% yes, will help 43 no, will not help 13 don’t know 14.Recently, President [prior to January 20, “President-elect”] Barack Obama announced his “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan,” an economic stimulus package which would include tax cuts for individuals and businesses and investments in government programs for infrastructure projects. This two-year plan could cost upwards of $775 billion. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the President’s economic stimulus plan? 57% satisfied 26 dissatisfied 6 haven’t heard anything about the plan (volunteered) 11 don’t know 15.How important do you think President [prior to January 20, “President-elect”] Obama’s economic stimulus plan would be in addressing California’s infrastructure needs? 49% very important 33 somewhat important 7 not too important 5 not at all important 6 don’t know 16.Changing topics, how closely are you following news about the California state budget? 25% very closely 50 fairly closely 21 not too closely 4 not at all closely 17.Do you think the state budget situation in California—that is, the balance between government spending and revenues—is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem for the people of California today? 75% big problem 20 somewhat of a problem 2 not a problem 3 don’t know 28 PPIC Statewide Survey 18.As you may know, the state government currently has an annual budget of around $100 billion and faces a multibillion-dollar gap between spending and revenues. How would you prefer to deal with the state's budget gap—mostly through spending cuts, mostly through tax increases, through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, or do you think that it is okay for the state to borrow money and run a budget deficit? 33% mostly through spending cuts 8 mostly through tax increases 44 through a mix of spending cuts and tax increases 7 okay to borrow money and run a budget deficit 4 other (specify) 4 don’t know 19.When it comes to the tough choices involved in the state budget, both in deciding how much Californians should pay in taxes and how to fund state programs, whose approach do you most prefer—[rotate] [1] Governor Schwarzenegger’s, [2] the Democrats’ in the legislature, [or] [3] the Republicans’ in the legislature? 18 Governor Schwarzenegger’s approach 39 Democrats’ approach 19 Republicans’ approach 2 other (specify) 9 none (volunteered) 13 don’t know 20.And when it comes to long-term issues of reforming the state budget process, both in terms of changing the way the state taxes and spends money, which approach do you most prefer—[rotate] [1] the Governor and legislature should pass new laws; [or] [2] the California voters should decide at the ballot box? 29% Governor and legislature should pass new laws 63 California voters should decide at the ballot box 2 other (specify) 6 don’t know Questionnaire and Results 21.And, 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 services, or, I’d rather pay lower taxes and have a state government that provides fewer services? 51% higher taxes and more services 42 lower taxes and fewer services 7 don’t know 22.Some of the largest areas for state spending are: [rotate] [1] K–12 public education, [2] higher education, [3] health and human services, [and] [4] prisons and corrections. Thinking about these four areas of state spending, I’d like you to name the one you most want to protect from spending cuts. 60% K–12 public education 12 higher education 18 health and human services 6 prisons and corrections 4 don’t know 23.Recently, Governor Schwarzenegger proposed a budget plan for the current and next fiscal year to close the state’s $40 billion budget deficit by 2010. It includes spending reductions in K–12 and higher education, health and human services, and prisons and corrections. The plan will temporarily increase the state’s sales tax, extend the sales tax to include services, increase taxes on alcohol, impose a new tax on oil production, and increase vehicle registration fees. It also calls for spending reductions in state employee compensation, allows for the shortening of the school year by five days, and for the borrowing of funds. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the governor’s budget plan? 34% satisfied 59 dissatisfied 2 haven’t heard anything about the budget (volunteered) 5 don’t know January 2009 29 Californians and Their Government [rotate questions 24 and 25] 24.Overall, do you favor or oppose the tax and fee increases proposed in the governor’s budget plan? 39% favor 53 oppose 8 don’t know 25.Overall, do you favor or oppose the program cuts and spending reductions proposed in the governor’s budget plan? 35% favor 57 oppose 8 don’t know The governor’s budget plan includes several proposals for cutting state spending and raising state revenues. For each of the following, please say whether you favor or oppose the proposal. [rotate blocks: questions 26, 27 and questions 28 to 30] [rotate questions 26 and 27] 26.Do you favor or oppose reducing spending in state employee wages and compensation? 45% favor 49 oppose 6 don’t know 27.Do you favor or oppose allowing the shortening of the school year? 35% favor 63 oppose 2 don’t know [rotate questions 28 to 30] 28.Do you favor or oppose temporarily increasing the state sales tax by 1.5 cents? 52% favor 46 oppose 2 don’t know 29.Do you favor or oppose extending the state sales tax to include some services such as vehicle repair, veterinary services, and tickets to sporting events? 47% favor 50 oppose 3 don’t know 29a.Do you favor or oppose increasing the annual vehicle license fee by $12? 58% favor 41 oppose 1 don’t know 30.Do you favor or oppose increasing the alcohol excise tax by 5 cents per drink? 85% favor 13 oppose 2 don’t know 31.And, do you think the state government should or should not ask the federal government for financial assistance to reduce the state’s budget deficit? 62% should 34 should not 4 don’t know Tax and fee increases could be used to help reduce the state’s large gap between spending and revenues. For each of the following, please say if you favor or oppose the proposal. [rotate questions 32 to 34] 32.How about raising the top rate of the state income tax paid by the wealthiest Californians? 72% favor 26 oppose 2 don’t know 33.How about raising the state taxes paid by California corporations? 60% favor 36 oppose 4 don’t know 30 PPIC Statewide Survey 34.How about borrowing several billions of dollars against future state lottery income? 39% favor 55 oppose 6 don’t know Spending and tax reforms have been proposed to address the structural issues in the state budget. For each of the following, please say whether you think the proposal is a good idea or a bad idea. [rotate questions 35 to 37] 35.How about strictly limiting the amount of money that state spending could increase each year? 70% good idea 24 bad idea 6 don’t know 36.How about replacing the two-thirds vote requirement with a 55-percent majority vote for voters to pass local special taxes? 50% good idea 44 bad idea 6 don’t know 37.How about replacing the two-thirds vote requirement with a 55-percent majority vote for the state legislature to pass a budget? 54% good idea 39 bad idea 7 don’t know 38.On another topic, Barack Obama was [prior to January 20: “will be”] inaugurated as U.S. President on January 20th. Do you agree or disagree that Barack Obama will be a strong and capable president? (if agree or disagree: Is that strongly or somewhat?) 62% strongly agree 17 somewhat agree 5 somewhat disagree 7 strongly disagree 9 don’t know Questionnaire and Results 39.Overall, from what you know so far, do you approve or disapprove of President [prior to January 20, “President-elect”] Obama’s handling of economic plans and policies? 72% approve 15 disapprove 13 don’t know 40.Which of these two statements comes closer to your point of view—[rotate] [1] the country will be able to unite behind Barack Obama, who will be able to accomplish a lot in the next four years, [or] [2] the country will be divided, and it will be hard for Barack Obama to accomplish a lot over the next four years? 73% country will be able to unite 22 country will be divided 5 don’t know 41.Do you think that President [prior to January 20, “President-elect”] Obama and the U.S. Congress will be able to work together and accomplish a lot in the next year, or not? 81% yes, will be able to work together 14 no, will not be able to work together 5 don’t know 42.Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling its job? 37% approve 56 disapprove 7 don’t know 43.Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling economic plans and policies? 29% approve 63 disapprove 8 don’t know 44.Do you think things in the United States are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction? 32% right direction 62 wrong direction 6 don’t know January 2009 31 Californians and Their Government 45.Turning to economic conditions, do you think that during the next 12 months the United States will have good times financially or bad times? 24% good times 71 bad times 5 don’t know 46.And, are you concerned that you or someone in your family will lose their job in the next year, or not? (if yes: Are you very concerned or somewhat concerned?) 37% yes, very concerned 21 yes, somewhat concerned 36 no 5 have lost job already (volunteered) 1 don’t know 47.Next, some people are registered to vote and others are not. Are you absolutely certain that you are registered to vote in California? 81% yes [ask q47a] 19 no [skip to q48b] 47a.Are you registered as a Democrat, a Republican, another party, or as an independent? 44% Democrat [ask q48] 29 Republican [skip to q48a] 5 another party (specify) [skip to q49] 22 independent [skip to q48b] 48.Would you call yourself a strong Democrat or not a very strong Democrat? 64% strong 33 not very strong 3 don’t know [skip to question 49] 48a.Would you call yourself a strong Republican or not a very strong Republican? 51% strong 46 not very strong 3 don’t know [skip to question 49] 48b.Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican Party or Democratic Party? 20% Republican Party 52 Democratic Party 22 neither (volunteered) 6 don’t know 49.Next, would you consider yourself to be politically: [read list, rotate order top to bottom] 13% very liberal 19 somewhat liberal 32 middle-of-the-road 22 somewhat conservative 12 very conservative 2 don’t know 50.Generally speaking, how much interest would you say you have in politics? 30% great deal 44 fair amount 22 only a little 4 none [d2a asked of homeowners only] d2a.In the past few years, do you think the value of the home you live in has increased, stayed about the same, or declined? (if increased or declined: Is that a lot or some?) 8% increased a lot 11 increased some 11 stayed about the same 32 declined some 38 declined a lot [d1–d2 and d3–d13: demographic questions] 32 PPIC Statewide Survey PPIC STATEWIDE SURVEY ADVISORY COMMITTEE Ruben Barrales President and Chief Executive Officer San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Angela Blackwell Founder and Chief Executive Officer PolicyLink Paul Brest President The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Mollyann Brodie Vice President Kaiser Family Foundation Bruce E. Cain Executive Director Institute of Governmental Studies University of California, Washington Center James E. Canales President The James Irvine Foundation Jon Cohen Director of Polling The Washington Post Matthew K. Fong Special Counsel Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP Russell Hancock President and Chief Executive Officer Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network William Hauck President California Business Roundtable Sherry Bebitch Jeffe Senior Scholar School of Policy, Planning, and Development University of Southern California Carol S. Larson President and Chief Executive Officer The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Monica Lozano Publisher and Chief Executive Officer La Opinión Donna Lucas Chief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs Dan Rosenheim News Director KPIX-TV Robert K. Ross, M.D. President and Chief Executive Officer The California Endowment Cathy Taylor Vice President and Editorial Commentary Director Orange County Register Raymond L. Watson Vice Chairman of the Board Emeritus The Irvine Company Carol Whiteside President Emeritus Great Valley Center The PPIC Statewide Survey Advisory Committee is a diverse group of experts who provide advice on survey issues. However, survey methods, questions, content, and timing are determined solely by PPIC. PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Thomas C. Sutton, Chair Retired Chairman and 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 John E. Bryson Retired Chairman and CEO Edison International 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 Emeritus Great Valley Center PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, California 94111 phone: 415.291.4400 fax: 415.291.4401 PPIC Sacramento Center Senator Office Building 1121 L Street, Suite 801 Sacramento, California 95814 phone: 916.440.1120 fax: 916.440.1121 www.ppic.org survey@ppic.org" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 09:39:59" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(8) "s_109mbs" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:39:59" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 09:39:59" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["guid"]=> string(50) "http://148.62.4.17/wp-content/uploads/S_109MBS.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) }