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Inaugurated in April 1998, this is the 120th PPIC Statewide Sur vey in a series that has generated a database of responses from more than 254 ,000 Californians. This sur vey is the 48th in the Californians and Their Govern ment series, which is conducted periodically to examine the social, economic, and political trends that influence public policy preferences and ballot choices. The series is suppor ted with funding from The James Ir vine Foundation. This sur vey seeks to info rm decisionmakers, raise public awareness, and stimulate policy discussions and debate about impor tant state issues, with a par ticular focus on the California state budget. The background for this sur vey includes growing concern about the global economic recover y and the slow pace of employment growth nationally. Within the state, Governor Jerr y Brown saw his $1 billion tax package blocked by the legislature, which also sent him 600 bills that he must sign or veto by Oct. 9. Among these are reforms to the initiative process, the second phase of the California DREAM Act, and an online voter registration bill. President Barack Obama introduced his American Jobs Act as the sur vey was being conducted; the bill would provide tax breaks to individuals and businesses, extend unemployment benefits, and invest in infrastructure projects . In addition, a special joint committee of Congress prepared to meet for the first time in an attempt to identify ways to reduce the federal deficit. This sur vey presents the responses of 2,002 adult residents throughout the state, inter viewed in English or Spanish and contacted by landline or cell phone. It includes findings on these topics:  State issues, including overall mood, perceptions of both current and future economic climates, and concerns about job l oss; job approval ratings of Governor Brown, the state legislature, and individual state representatives ; perceptions of state and local fiscal matters and of the state/local relationship; preferences for legislative refo rms; attitudes toward the citizens’ intitiative process and possible initiative reforms; and policy preferences regarding abor tion restrictions, same- sex marriage, marijuana legalization, and the death penalty .  National issues, including perceptions of the countr y’s direction and its economic future; approval ratings of federal elected officials including President Obama, Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Congress, and individual congressional representatives ; attitudes towards U.S. economic policy, the federal budget deficit, and the federal debt limit; and perceptions of political par ties.  Time trends and the extent to which Californians may differ in their perceptions, attitudes, and preferences regarding state issues and the budget , based on their political par ty affiliation, likely voting in elections, region of residence, race/ethnicity, and other demographics. This repor t may be downloaded free of charge from our website ( www.ppic.org). For questions about the sur vey, please contact sur vey@ppic.org . Tr y our PPIC Statewide Sur vey interactive tools online at http://www.ppic.org/main/sur vAdvancedSearch.asp. PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 7 STATE OF THE STATE Californians (67%) continue to name jobs and the economy as the most important issue facing people in the state today . Far fewer mention the state budget, deficit, and taxes (6%), education and schools (6%), or immigration (4%). Mention of jobs and the economy has reached a new high, surpassing the previous high in February 2009 (63%). Jobs and the econ omy has topped the list of most important issues since March 2008 (35%), and has been above 50 percent since February 2009. More than six in 10 across parties, regions, and demographic groups name jobs and the economy as the most important issue. There ar e some differences across groups. Democrats (73%) are more likely than independents (66%) and Republicans (64%) to mention jobs and the economy while Latinos (74%) are more likely than Asians (65%) and whites (61%) to say this . “Thinking about the state as a whole, what do you think is the most important issue facing people in California today? ” Top four issues mentioned All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Jobs, economy 67% 73% 64% 66% 67% Education, schools 6 7 7 4 6 State budget, deficit, taxes 6 6 10 11 10 Immigration, illegal immigration 4 2 4 4 3 Californians remain negative about the direction of the state : 61 percent say things are going in the wrong direction and 30 percent say the right direction. The percentage holding this negative view is similar to June (60%) and negative perceptions have been above 50 percent since September 2007. Across party lines, Republicans (82%) are much more likely than independents (63%) and Democrats (55%) to say things are going in the wrong direction. Across regions, residents in the Other Southern California r egion (66%) are most likely to hold this view , followed by those in the Central Valley (60%), Los Angeles (60%), and the San Francisco Bay Area (57%). Negative perceptions of the state’s direction are much higher among whites (68%) than among Asians (56%) and Latinos (54%). P essimism increases as income increases and rises slightly with education . Younger Californians age 18 to 34 (54%) are less likely than those 35 and older (65%) to say 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 Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Right direction 30% 37% 13% 26% 25% Wrong direction 61 55 82 63 69 Don’t know 8 8 5 11 7 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 8 ECONOMIC SITUATION Similar to the share naming jobs and the economy as the most important issue, two in three Californians (67%) think that the state will have bad times financially in the next 12 months; 25 percent expect good times . N egative attitudes about the state’s economic outlook have eclipsed 50 percent since September 2007. Among likely voters, 74 percent expect bad times . Republicans (84%) are much more likely than independents (71%) and Democrats (61%) to expect bad economic times and two in three or more across regions hold this view. Nearly all Californians (89%) say the state is in an economic recession (50% serious, 32% moderate, 7% mild). In 2011 more than eight in 10 have said the state is in a recession (86% January, 83 % March, 88% May, 89% today). The p erception that California is in a recession has been above 70 percent each time since we began asking this question in March 2008. The belief that California is in a recession is similar across regions, but residents in the Other Southern California r egion (55%) are the most likely —and those in the San Francisco Bay Area (46%) the least likely —to say the recession is serious. Across parties, most say the state is in a recession , but Republicans (62%) are much more likely than independents (48%) and Dem ocrats (44%) to call the recession serious. Whites (53%) and Latinos (47%) are more likely than Asians (38%) to think the state is in a serious recession and the belief that the recession is serious increases with age. “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?)” All Adults Region Likely Voters Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles Other Southern California Serious recession 50% 50% 46% 50% 55% 53% Moderate recession 32 32 32 31 27 31 Mild recession 7 8 9 7 8 5 Not in a recession 10 9 9 11 8 9 Don’t know 2 2 4 1 1 2 Half of Californians are very (30%) or somewhat concerned (19%) that someone in their family will experience job loss in the next year, while 42 percent are not concerned and 8 percent volunteer that someone in their family has already lost a job . Concern has been similar each time we asked this question in 2011 (44% March, 48% May, 49 % today ). Los Angeles residents (55%) are more concerned than residents elsewhere (48% San Francisco Bay Area, 45% Other Southern California Region, 43% Central Valley). Concern is much higher among Latinos (62%) than among Asians (46%) and whites (39%). Lower -income Californians are twice as likely as upper -income residents to be very concerned. “Are you concerned that you or someone in your family will lose thei r job in the next year, or not? ( if yes : Are you very concerned or somewhat concerned? )” All Adults Household Income Likely Voters Under $40,000 $40,000 to under $80,000 $80,000 or more Yes, very concerned 30% 38% 29% 19% 26% Yes, somewhat concerned 19 18 20 19 16 No 42 33 43 56 49 Already lost job (volunteered) 8 11 7 5 8 Don’t know 1 1 – 1 1 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 9 APPROVAL RATINGS OF STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS As Governor Brown prepares to sign or veto hundreds of bills sent to him by the legislature, four in 10 Californians (41%) and 45 percent of likely voters say they approve of his job performance. Three in 10 Ca lifornians are unsure of how to rate Governor Brown. Results among all adults have been similar the last three times we asked about the governor’s job performance (40% April, 42% May, 42% July, 41% today). Democrats (60%) are far more likely than independents (35%) and Republicans (25%) to approve of Governor Brown’s job performance. Across regions, San Francisco Bay Area (52%) residents are much more likely to approve of the governor than residents in Los Angeles (39%), the Other Southern California r egion (37%), and the Central Valley (36%) . Whites (47%) are more likely than Asians (40%) and Latinos ( 36 %) to voice approval . Approval increases with higher education level s. Job -performance ratings of the legislature continue to lag behind those of the govern or, with one in four Californians approving (26%) and 56 percent disapproving . Likely voters are even more negative (17% approve, 71% disapprove). Approval of the legislature has been similar all year but has rebounded somewhat from a low of 14 percent in November 2010. Today, disapproval of the legislature is much higher among Republicans (80%) than among independents (67%) and Democrats (56%) . Majorities of residents across regions disapprove of the legislature. Whites (69%) are far more likely than Asian s (45%) and Latinos (42%) to disapprove. Disapproval increases with education and income. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that…” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Jerry Brown is handling his job as governor of California? Approve 41% 60% 25% 35% 45% Disapprove 28 16 56 36 35 Don't know 31 24 19 29 20 The California Legislature is handling its job? Approve 26 28 10 21 17 Disapprove 56 56 80 67 71 Don't know 18 16 10 12 12 Californians ’ approval of their individual state legislator s’ job performance remains low at 35 percent, with nearly half of Californians disapproving (48%). Opinions of likely voters are even more negative (31% approve, 57% disapprove). Approval among adults is simila r to March (36% approve, 43% disapprove) and has been below 40 percent since September 2008. Republicans (70%) are much more likely than independents (55%) and Democrats (39%) to disapprove. Half of residents in the Other Southern California region (51%) , the Central Valley (50%) , and Los Angeles (48%) disapprove, compared to four in 10 San Francisco Bay Area (40%) residents . Disapproval is higher among whites (56%) than among Latinos (40%) and Asians (32 %), and higher among those age 35 and older (51% 35 –54, 54% 55 and older ) than those under 35 (38%). “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job that the state legislators representing your assembly and senate districts are doing at this time?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 35% 43% 20% 27% 31% Disapprove 48 39 70 55 57 Don't know 17 17 10 18 12 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 10 STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUDGETS When asked how much they know about how their state and local governments spend and raise money, a majority of Californians (56%) say they know a lot (19%) or some (37%); four in 10 say they know very little (30%) or nothing (10%). Majorities in January 20 10 (61%) and January 2011 (54% ) also said they knew a lot or some. Today, 74 percent of likely voters say they have at least some knowledge. Six in 10 or more across parties and majorities across regions hold this view. Whites (68%) are far more likely tha n Latinos (45%) and Asians (42%) to say they know a lot or some about state and local budgets. Reported knowledge increases sharply with education. Nearly all Californians (95%) think the state budget situation in California is a big problem (68%) or somew hat of a problem (27%). Likely voters are even more negative (81% big, 16% somewhat). The percentage of adults saying big problem has been similar during 2011, but was higher last September (80%). More than seven in 10 across parties (72% Democrats, 76% independents, 87% Republicans) and more than six in 10 across regions call it a big problem. Majorities a cross demographic groups (except Latinos, 49%) think the budget situation is 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 Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Big problem 68% 72% 87% 76% 81% Somewhat of a problem 27 24 11 21 16 Not a problem 2 2 1 1 1 Don’t know 3 2 1 3 2 When asked if their local government services have been affected by recent state budget cuts, 67 percent of adults say that local services have been affected a lot and 25 percent say services have been affected somewhat; only 6 percent say services have not been affected. Likely voters hold similar perceptions. Democrats (77%) are much more likely than Republicans (65%) and independents (61%) to say servic es have been affected a lot. More than six in 10 across regions and demographic groups say local government services have been affected a lot by recent state budget cuts. “Would you say that your local government services—such as those provided by city and county governments and public schools —have or have not been affected by recent state budget cuts? ( if they have , ask: “Have they been affected a lot or somewhat?”)? All Adults Region Likely Voters Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles Other Southern California Affected a lot 67% 72% 71% 68% 63% 68% Affected somewhat 25 21 25 24 26 24 Not affected 6 6 2 5 8 5 Don’t know 2 2 2 3 2 3 We also asked if the state and local tax system is in need of major changes, minor changes, or whether it is fine the way it is. Sixty -two percent of Californians say the system is in need of major changes and 24 percent say minor changes; only 10 percent say the system is fine the way it is. Findings were fairly similar last January and in January 2010. At least six in 10 across parties and regions say major changes are needed , and this perception is much higher among whites (71%) than Asians (58%) or Latinos (49%). PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 11 STATE AND LOCAL FISCAL REFORMS As part of Governor Brown’s budget proposal, there will be a realignment of certain state and local responsibilities. Sixty -one percent of Californians favor a shift of some tax dollars and fees from the state government to l ocal governments, so local governments can take on the responsibility of running certain programs currently run by the state; 23 percent are opposed. Likely voters have similar preferences . In January, right after the governor’s budget speech, 71 percent of Californians were in favor. Today, majorities across parties (57% Democrats, 59% independents, 69% Republicans) and regions favor this shift. Across demographic groups, about six in 10 or more are in favor . When asked about their confidence in local government’s ability to take on the responsibilities of running certain programs currently run by the state, about six in 10 Californians are very (10%) or somewhat (49%) confident; 37 percent are not too (24%) or not at all (13%) confident. In January, results were similar (14% very, 49% somewhat). Today, likely voters hold similar opinions to all adults. Republicans (64%) and independents (61%) are more confident than Democrats (53%). Across regions , confidence is highest among residents in the San Francisco Bay Area (65%), followed by those in the Other Southern California r egion (58%), the Central Valley (56%) , and Los Angeles (56%). Majorities across demographic groups express at least some confidence, but Asians (66%) are more confident tha n whites (59%) or Latinos (58%). Among those who are in favor of the state -to -local shift, 73 percent express confidence; among those who are opposed, only 37 percent are confident. “If the state were to shift some tax dollars and fees to local governments, how confident are you that local governments would be able to take on the responsibilities of running certain programs currently run by the state?” All Adults Region Likely Voters Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles Other Southern California Very confident 10% 11% 10% 6% 11% 11% Somewhat confident 49 45 55 50 47 48 Not too confident 24 29 21 27 22 25 Not at all confident 13 12 7 16 17 14 Don’t know 3 3 6 1 3 2 By comparison, fewer Californians are very (8%) or somewhat confident (40%) about their local government ’s taking on the responsibilit ies associated with shifting lower-risk inmates from state prisons to county jails . Half or fewer across parties and regions are at least somewhat confident . Latinos (56%) are most likely to be confident , followed by Asians (50%) and whites (44%). Among those who are in favor of realignment , 51 percent are confident ; among those who are opposed, 42 percent are confident. “As you may know, state funding is being provided to shift some of the lower- risk inmates from state prisons to county jails to reduce prison over crowding and lower state costs. How confident are you that your local government is able to take on this responsibility?” All Adults Region Likely Voters Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles Other Southern California Very confident 8% 9% 9% 8% 9% 8% Somewhat confident 40 35 38 40 41 38 Not too confident 25 28 29 25 21 26 Not at all confident 22 24 18 22 26 24 Don’t know 5 3 6 5 3 4 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 12 LEGISLATIVE REFORMS A year after voters passed Proposition 25, the constitutional amendment lowering the vote requirement to pass a state budget from a two -thirds vote to a simple majority, Californians still remain divided on doing the same for passage of the state budget and state taxes. Forty -five percent call it a good idea, and 44 percent a bad one. Findings were similar last September (48% good idea, 42% bad idea). Lik ely voters are also divided (49% good idea, 43% bad idea), similar to their view s in September 2010 (44% good idea, 46% bad idea). The change to a simple majority vote for both the budget and taxes divides Californians along party lines ; 56 percent of Democrats say it is a good idea and 60 percent of Republicans say it is a bad one. Among independents, 49 percent call it a good idea and 45 percent a bad one. “Do you think it is a good idea or bad idea to lower the vote requirement to pass a state budget and state taxes from a two-thirds vote to a simple majority or 50 percent plus one vote?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Good idea 45% 56% 31% 49% 49% Bad idea 44 31 60 45 43 Don't know 11 13 9 6 8 A solid majority of Californians (62%) and likely voters (65%) support a modification of term limits by reducing the maximum time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years, and allowing a person to serve those 12 years either in the assembly, the senate, or in a combination of both. Support was slightly higher in March 2011 (68%), but similar in September 2009, when 65 percent said it was a good idea. There is solid bipartisan support for the proposal (71% Republicans, 65% independents, 60% Democrats). A proposal very similar to this has qualified for the June 2012 ballot. “Some people have proposed reducing the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years and allowing a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the assembly, the senate, or a combination of both. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea? ” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Good idea 62% 60% 71% 65% 65% Bad idea 26 32 21 26 27 Don't know 11 8 9 9 9 When asked about a proposal to change the California legislature from a full -time to a part-time body , about six in 10 say this is a bad idea (58%) while 31 percent call it a good one. Democrats (65%) and independents (53%) say this is a bad idea , while Republicans are slightly more likely to say a part -time legislature is a good idea (48%) than to say a bad idea (40%). In a similar past question, pluralities said having a part -time legislature would be a bad thing (September 2004 : 22% good thing, 53% bad thing, 17% no difference; September 2009: 23% good thing, 44% bad thing, 27% no difference) . Californians are divided about another proposal that would change the legislature from 40 state senators and 80 assembly members to a single body of 120 members, resulting in representatives serving smaller districts. About four in 10 say this is a good id ea (43%) and another four in 10 say it is a bad idea (38%); 19 percent say they are unsure . Independents (46%) and Democrats (42%) are somewhat more likely than Republicans (35%) to ex press support for this proposal. PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 13 INITIATIVE PROCESS AND REFORMS October 2011 marks the 100 th anniversary of the citizens’ initiative process in California. In general, residents are either very satisfied (12%) or somewhat satisfied (50%) with the way the initiative process is working in California today. Thirty percent say th at they are not satisfied. Since 2000, majorities have at least been somewhat satisfied with the process. Satisfaction was highest in August 2006 (72%) and lowest in October 2010 (55%). Majorities across parties are at least somewhat satisfied (68% i ndependents , 64% Republicans , 59% Democrats) . “Generally speaking, would you say you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or not satisfied with the way the initiative process is working in California today?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Very satisfied 12% 12% 13% 9% 15% Somewhat satisfied 50 47 51 59 47 Not satisfied 30 36 33 29 35 Don't know 7 5 3 4 3 While Californians are generally satisfied with the way the initiative process is working, they are open to possible reforms. An overwhelming majority support requiring initiatives that create new programs or reduce taxes to identify a specific funding source. At least seven in 10 adults (73%), likely voters (76%) and voters across parties favor this reform proposal. Strong majorities of adults (68%) and likely voters (70% ) support a system of review and revision of proposed initiatives to try to avoid legal issues and drafting errors. There is bipartisan support for this re form (71% independents, 68% Democrats, 64% Republicans) . Support for a system of review and revision was similar in previous years. “Reforms have been suggested to address issues that arise in the initiative process. Please say whether you would favor or oppose each of the following reform proposals. How about …” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Requiring initiatives which create new programs or reduce taxes to identify a specific funding source? Favor 73% 74% 75% 74% 76% Oppose 17 16 16 14 15 Don't know 10 10 9 12 9 A system of review and revision of proposed initiatives to try to avoid legal issues and drafting errors? Favor 68 68 64 71 70 Oppose 19 20 17 19 18 Don't know 14 12 19 10 12 When asked about the influence of special interests on the initiative process, nearly 90 percent of Californians say the process is controlled a lot (54%) or some (34%) by special interests. Likely voters are much more likely to say special interests control the initiative process a lot (70% a lot, 24% some) . Very few (6% all adults, 4% likely voters) s ay there is no control of the process by special interests. Results are comparable to past years : at least half held the view that special interests control led the initiative process a lot in September 2005 (56%) and in January 2001 (52%). Sixty -six percen t of Democrats and Republicans say special interests control the initiative process a lot, compared to 55 percent of independents. At least half across regions share this belief, which increases with age and education. Whites (69%) are far more likely than Asians (39%) and Latinos (38%) to say special interests control the initiative process a lot. PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 14 ABORTION RIGHTS; SAME SEX MARRIAGE When asked to choose the statement that is closest to their own views about the government’s role in regulating abortion, 69 percent of Californians say the government should not interfere with a woman’s access to abortion, while 28 percent say the government should pass more laws that restrict the availability of abortion. Results have been similar since 2000, with at least six in 10 saying the government should not interfere. Likely voters (76%) and more than six in 10 across parties agree. Still, Democrats (78%) and independents (77%) are more likely than Republicans (63%) to say the government should not interfere with access to abortion. At least half of those who are ideologically conservative (54%) agree, compared to 74 percent of moderates and 82 percent of liberals. While a majority across demographic groups agree the government should not interfere with access to abortion, differences exist. The share holding this view increases sharply with income and education. Californians with children age 18 or younger (63%) are less likely than those without (73%) to agree. Whites (79%) and Asians (77%) are far more likely than Latinos (51%) to say the government should not interfere with a woman’s access to abortion. M en and women agree (69% each) that the government s hould not interfere. “Which of the following statements comes closest to your own view, even if neither is exactly right. The government should pass more laws that restrict the availability of abortion; or the government should not interfere with a woman ’s access to abortion.” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Should pass more laws 28% 20% 34% 19% 21% Should not interfere with access 69 78 63 77 76 Don't know 4 2 4 4 3 Fifty-three percent of Californians and likely voters favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married, while 42 percent of each are opposed. This continues a shift in opinion on same -sex marriage that began in 2010. Last year was the first year when at least half (50% March, 52% September) said they favored same -sex marriage in our surveys. In prior years, Californians either were more divided or opposed to same- sex marriage. Opposition was highest in January 2000 (55%) when this question was f irst asked. Two in three Democrats and six in 10 independents favor same -sex marriage , while two in three Republicans oppose it . An overwhelming majority of liberals (76%) and 59 percent of moderates are in favor, while two in three conservatives (65%) are opposed. Support is highest in the San Francisco Bay Area (62%), followed by the Other Southern California region (54%), and Los Angeles (50%). The Central Valley (55% oppose) is the only region where a majority of res idents oppose same -sex marriage . Support increases with education and income levels and declines sharply with age. A majority of whites (59%) and Asians (54%) favor same- sex marriage. Latinos are divided on the issue (47% favor, 47% oppose). At least half of those with children 18 or yo unger (51%) and those without (55%) favor same -sex marriage. “Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Favor 53% 66% 28% 57% 53% Oppose 42 30 67 38 42 Don't know 5 4 5 5 5 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 15 MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION; DEATH PENALTY Californians are still divided on legalizing marijuana, with 46 percent saying it should be made legal while 51 percent disagree. Findings were similar in September 2010 (47% legal, 49% illegal) and in May 2010 (48% legal, 49 % illegal). Likely voters hold similar views. In 2010, voters rejected Proposition 19 (53.5% no) , which would have legalized marijuana in the state. Most Democrats (53%) support legalizing ma rijuana use, while most Republicans (59%) oppose it. Independents are much more likely to support making marijuana use legal (56%) than keeping it illegal (40%). Over half of liberals (59%) and moderates (52%) favor legalization, while 68 percent of conservatives oppose legalization of marijuana. The San Francisco Bay Area is the only region where residents are more likely to say marijuana should be made legal (55%) than illegal (40%). In other regions, residents of the Central Valley (60%), Lo s Angeles (57%), and the Other Southern California region (53%) prefer to keep marijuana illegal . Latinos (68%) are most likely to oppose legalizati on, compared to 53 percent of Asians and 41 percent of whites . A majority (55%) of white s favor legalization . Just over half of men (53% legal, 44% illegal ) think marijuana should be legal; a majority of women disagree (39% legal, 58% illegal). “In general, do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Yes, legal 46% 53% 36% 56% 48% No, not legal 51 44 59 40 48 Don't know 3 3 5 4 4 As a penalty for first -degree murder, Californians prefer life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole (54%) to the death penalty (39%). Findings were similar in February 2004 ( 53% life in prison, 38 % death penalty) , while in January 2000 , Californians were divided (47% life in prison, 49% death penalty). Likely voters are more divided than adults (50% life in prison, 45% death penalty). Partisan differences are present, with 59 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents preferring life imprisonment, while 60 percent of Republicans prefer the death penalty. Those with liberal (68%) and moderate (53%) ideological leanings prefer life imprisonment. Half of conservatives (51%) prefer the death penalty compared to 44 percent saying life imprisonment. Across regions, at least half prefer life imprisonment without parole to the death penalty; residents of Los Angeles (62%) are most likely to say this. Two in three Latinos (67%) prefer lif e imprisonment, while Asians (50% life in prison, 44% death penalty) and whites (46% life in prison, 49% death penalty) are more divided. R esidents under 35 and those earning less than $40,000 annually are more likely than older and more affluent Californians to favor life imprisonment over the death penalty for first - degree murder. “Which of the following statements do you agree with more? The penalty for first-degree murder should be the death penalty; or the penalty for first degree murder should be life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole .” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Death penalty 39% 34% 60% 40% 45% Life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole 54 59 35 56 50 Don't know 7 7 5 4 5 September 2011 Californians and Their Government 16 NATIONAL ISSUES KEY FINDINGS  A record low 51 percent of Californians approve of President Obama’s job performance , but partisan s differ widely . Approval of Congress overall remains low, but half of Californians approve of their own member of the House of Representatives . ( page 17)  Nearly half of Californians approve of Senators Boxer and Feinstein, with partisans hold ing differing views . (page 18)  Californians offer mixed opinions about the impact of Barack Obama’ s economic policies, but they are much more likely to trust him than Republicans in Congress when it comes to making the right decisions about the nation’s economy . ( page 19 )  Two in three Californians say Congress and the Obama administration are not doing enough to create jobs, while 53 percent are satisfied with President Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act. ( page 20)  Almost all Californians call the federal budget deficit a serious problem, but a majority —with partisans divided —would place a higher priori ty on spending to help the economy recover rather than on efforts to reduce the budget deficit . (page 21)  Partisans are divided about the recent debt ceiling agreement and hold differing opinions about what should be included in the deficit reduction plan . (page 22)  Californians are divided in their impression of the Democratic Party (47% favorable, 42% unfavorable) while most have unfavorable opinions of both the Republican Party (32% favorable, 56% unfavorable) and the Tea Part y movement (24% favorable , 52% unfavorable ). (page 23 ) 53 48464544 53 41 49 51 50514948 54 44 46 0 20 40 60 80 Oct04Oct05Sep06Sep07Sep08Sep09Sep10Sep11 Percent all adults Boxer Feinstein Approval Ratings of U.S. Senators 71 6358525651 4339 24263027 0 20 40 60 80 100 Mar09Sep09Mar10Sep10Mar11Sep11 Percent all adults President Obama Congress Approval Ratings of Federal Elected Officials 4650 37 31 0 20 40 60 80 Adults nationwide*Californians Percent all adults Barack Obama Republicans in Congress Trust to Make the RightDecisions About the Economy *CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, September 2011 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 17 APPROVAL RATINGS OF FEDERAL ELECTED OFFICIALS Two in three Californians (65%) say the nation is going in the wrong direction, while just 30 percent say right direction. The share saying wrong direction has increased since October 2010 (58%) and December 2009 (53%). Although majorities across parties are negative about the country’s direction, Republicans (84%) and independents (72%) are much more likely than Democrats (56%) to express this view. Pessimism is also prevalent among adults nationwide: a recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll found that 77 percent said things in the nation were off on the wrong track ; just 20 percent said right direction. As President Obama begins his reelection bid, half of Californians (51%) say they approve of the way he is handling his job while 43 percent disapprove. Obama’s a pproval is at a record low; however, it was nearly identical last September (52%). Since he first took office in 2009, the president’s approval rating has eroded steadily from the 70 percent level. Today, for the first time among likely voters, more say they disapprove (50%) than approve (47%) of the president. There is widespread approval among Democrats (76%) while a similarly overwhelming majority of Republican s (81%) disapprove. For the first time among independents, more disapprove (50%) than approve (45%). Among those who say the country is headed in the wrong direction, 59 percent disapprove. In a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, adults nationwi de were more likely to disapprove (5 5%) than approve (43%) of the president. A solid majority of Californians (64%) disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job while 27 percent approve. Findings are nearly identical to last September (26% approve, 6 6% disapprove) just before the 2010 midterm elections. Among likely voters, 79 percent disapprove and just 15 percent approve. Disapproval is widespread across parties. In a recent Gallup poll, 15 percent of adults nationwide said they approve of Congress and an overwhelming 82 percent said they disapprove. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that…” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States? Approve 51% 76% 17% 45% 47% Disapprove 43 20 81 50 50 Don't know 6 3 3 5 3 The U.S. Congress is handling its job ? Approve 27% 17% 19% 21% 15% Disapprove 64 75 73 76 79 Don't know 9 9 7 3 6 Despite low ratings for Congress overall, Californians are more positive about their own member of the House of Representatives: 48 percent approve and 37 percent disapprove. Last September, 43 percent approved and 39 percent disapproved of their own House member. Among likely voters, 49 percent approve and 41 percent disapprove. Across parties, a majority of Democrats (58%) approve of their House member compared to about four in 10 Republicans (42%) and independents (41%). “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way your own representative to the U.S. House of Representatives in Congress is handling his or her job? ” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 48% 58% 42% 41% 49% Disapprove 37 28 48 46 41 Don't know 15 14 10 12 10 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 18 APPROVAL RATINGS OF CALIFORNIA’S U.S. SENATORS Forty-six percent of Californians approve and 37 percent disapprove of Senator Diann e Feinstein, who faces re- election next year. Last September, ratings among all adults were similar (44% approve, 39% disapprove) . Among likely voters, 48 percent approve a nd 44 percent disapprove. At a similar point in time before her last reelection, approval among likely voters was slightly higher and disapproval lower (October 2005: 55% approve, 33% disapprove). Opinions of Senator Feinstein are sharply divided along partisan lines , with two in three Democrats (66%) approving and two in three Republicans (67%) disapproving. Independents are evenly split (42% approve, 42% disapprove). Approval of Senator Feinstein is highest in the San Francisco Bay Area (57%), followed b y Los Angeles (50%). Four in 10 in the Central Valley and the Other Southern California region (40% each) approve. Across racial/ethnic groups, a majority of Asians (55%) approve but fewer Latinos (46%) and whites (43%) do . Women are more likely to approve (48%) than disapprove (32%), while men are divided (44% approve, 42% disapprove). “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Dianne Feinstein is handling her job as U.S. s enator?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 46% 66% 27% 42% 48% Disapprove 37 20 67 42 44 Don't know 17 14 6 16 8 About half of Californians and likely voters (49% each) approve of the way Barbara Boxer is handling her job as U.S. Senator, while 38 percent of adults and 44 percent of likely voters disapprove. Approval is up 8 points among all adults and 6 points among likely voters since last September, just before her reelection. Since February 2002 , when PPIC surveys began tracking ratings of Senator Boxer, approval has ranged between a low of 41 percent (September 2003, March 2008, and September 2010) and a high of 53 percent (October 2004 and September 2009). Democrats (69% approve) and Republicans (74% disapprove) hold opposing views of Senator Boxer, while independents are divided (41% approve, 45% disapprove). Across regions, slim majorities in Los Angeles (55% approve, 33% disapprove) and the San Francisco Bay Area (53% approve, 34% disapprove) approve of Senator Boxer, while residents are divided in the Other Southern California region (45% approve, 43% disapprove) and the Central Valley (41% approve, 41% disapprove). Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos (55%) are the most likely to approve, followed by Asians (50%) and whites (43%). Women are more likely to approve (51%) than disapprove (32%), while men are divided (46% approve, 43% disapprove). “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Barbara Boxer is handling her job as U.S. s enator?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 49% 69% 20% 41% 49% Disapprove 38 20 74 45 44 Don't know 14 10 7 14 7 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 19 U.S. ECONOMIC POLICY Echoing pessimism about the direction of the nation, 65 percent of Californians also expect the country to have bad times financially in the next 12 months. Just 29 percent expect good times. Pessimism about economic conditions has grown slightly higher since last September (35% good times, 58% bad times). The percentage expecting bad times has exceeded the percentage expecting good times since June 2007 . A majority of likely voters (74%) expect bad times while 20 percent expect good times. Across parties, majorities expect bad financial times: Republicans (84%) are the most likely to hold this view, followed by independents (73%) and Democrats (58%). When it comes to President Obama’s economic policies, a plurality (40%) say that these policies have had no effect on economic conditions so far. Twenty -six percent say they have made cond itions better and 29 percent say they have made conditions worse. Findings have shifted only somewhat since September 2010 (32% better, 28% worse, 36% no effect) and December 2009 (31% better, 21% worse, 42% no effect). Democrats either say the president’s policies have improved economic conditions (42%) or have had no effect so far (41%), while a strong majority of Republicans say his policies have worsened economic conditions (68%). In a June survey by the Pew Research Center, adults nationwide also offer ed mixed opinions of the president’s economic policies (27% better, 34% worse, 33% no effect so far). “Since taking office, have Barack Obama’s economic policies made economic conditions better, worse, or not had an effect so far? ” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Better 26% 42% 8% 23% 27% Worse 29 10 68 30 37 No effect so far 40 41 19 42 31 Too soon to tell (volunteered) 2 3 1 – 2 Don’t know 3 3 4 4 3 Still, amid intense ongoing debate about the nation’s tenuous economy and federal budget situation, most Californians (50%) say they trust Barack Obama to make the right decisions about the economy; 31 percent say they trust the Republicans in Congress and 12 percent volunteer they trust neither. Opinion is sharply divided along party lines: 77 percent of Democrats trust the president and 69 percent of Republicans t rust congressional Republicans. More independents trust President Obama (45%) than Republicans in Congress (31%). In a similar recent question by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, adults nationwide were also more likely to trust the president over congressional Republicans (46% to 37%) to handle the economy. “Who do you trust more to make the right decisions about the nation’s economy: the Republicans in Congress or Barack Obama?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Barack Obama 50% 77% 10% 45% 48% Republicans in Congress 31 10 69 31 33 Both (volunteered) 2 2 1 2 1 Neither (volunteered) 12 10 16 18 16 Don’t know 6 2 4 4 2 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 20 U.S. ECONOMIC POLICY (CONTINUED) Reflecting concerns about jobs and the economy in the state, a strong majority of Californians (67%) say that Congress and the Obama administration are not doing enough to help create jobs; just one in five say they are doing just enough and only 7 percent say they are doing more than enough. Opinion about the job creation efforts of federal officials has not changed significantly since last September (7% more than enough, 26% just enough, 64% not enough). Among likely voters, three in four say Congress and the Obama administration are not doing enough. Republicans (83%) are the most likely to say not enough is being done to create jobs, followed by independents (71%) and Democrats (64%). Whites (74%) and Asians (73%) are muc h more likely than Latinos (58%) to say Congress and the Obama administration are not doing enough to create jobs. The percentage holding this view rises as age, education , and income increase. Those who are currently employed (68%) are more likely than those who are unemployed and looking for work (56%) to think federal officials are not doing enough to create jobs. “Overall, do you think that Congress and the Obama administration are doing more than enough, just enough, or not enough to help create jobs? ” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind More than enough 7% 8% 2% 4% 5% Just enough 21 23 8 19 16 Not enough 67 64 83 71 74 Don’t know 5 5 7 6 5 President Obama recently released a plan, the American Jobs Act, to create more jobs nationwide. The president announced the plan on September 8. Beginning on September 9, we began asking about it. After being read a brief summary of the plan, 53 percent of Californians say they are satisfied with it, while 37 percent are dissatisfied. Findings among likely voters are nearly identical to those for all adults . Opinion about the president’s jobs plan is sharply divided along partisan lines. Eight in 10 Democr ats (80%) are satisfied, while seven in 10 Republicans (72%) are dissatisfied. Among independents, a majority (56%) are satisfied with the plan. Among those who say not enough is being done to create jobs, 46 percent are satisfied and 45 percent are dissatisfied with this plan. In January 2009, we asked a question about President Obama’s earlier economic stimulus plan (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). Satisfaction with that plan was similar to satisfaction with his jobs plan today, but dissatisfaction was lower (2009 stimulus plan: 57% satisfied, 26% dissatisfied). “Recently, President Barack Obama announced his ‘American Jobs Act,’ an economic plan which would include tax cuts for individuals, tax cuts and credits for businesses, an extension of unemployment benefits, and investments in government programs for infrastructure projects. This plan could cost about $450 billion and would be fully paid for as part of the p resident’s long-term deficit reduction plan. In general, are you sati sfied or dissatisfied with the president’s plan?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Satisfied 53% 80% 17% 56% 52% Dissatisfied 37 15 72 35 39 Haven't heard anything about the plan (volunteered) 3 1 4 4 3 Don’t know 7 5 6 5 6 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 21 FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT Today, there are calls both for spending to help the economy recover and for reigning in the federal budget deficit . Which one do Californians view as most important? A majority (56%) say a higher priority should be placed on spending to help the economy recover, while 39 percent say reducing the budget deficit. This past March, Californians were somewhat less likely to say a higher priority should be placed on spending to help the economy recover (48% spending for economy, 44% reducing deficit). Opinion among likely voters is divided (48% spending, 48% reducing deficit) and Democrats (64% spending) and Republicans (70% reducing deficit) fall on opposite sides of the debate. Among independents, a majority (55%) place a higher priority on spending to help the economy recover, while 43 percent prioritize reducing the deficit. Among those who say Congress and the Obama admin istration are not doing enough to create jobs, 54 percent prioritize spending for economic recovery, while 42 percent prioritize deficit reduction. In an August survey by the Pew Research Center, adults nationwide were divided on this question (47% spending, 46% reducing deficit). “If you were setting priorities for the federal government these days, would you place a higher priority on spending to help the economy recover or a higher priority on reducing the budget deficit? All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Spending to help the economy recover 56% 64% 25% 55% 48% Reducing the budget deficit 39 31 70 43 48 Don’t know 5 5 5 3 4 While they may not agree on what takes top priority for the federal government, Californians do agree that the budget deficit is a serious problem for the country right now. Among all adults, 68 percent consider it a very serious problem and 24 percent a somewhat serious problem. Findings were fairly similar in March (63% very serious, 28% somewhat serious ). Majorities across parties consider the federal deficit to be a very serious problem. Still, Republicans (86%) are much more likely to hold this view than independents (65%) and Democrats (59%). Those who disapprove of President Obama are far more likely to consider the federal deficit a very serious problem than those who approve (80% to 58%). And those who trust the Republicans in Congress to make the right economic decisions are much more likely than those who trust President Obama to consider the defi cit a very serious problem (78% to 60%). In a June poll by CBS News, an overwhelming majority of adults nationwide considered the federal deficit to be a very serious problem (75% very serious, 20% somewhat serious). “How serious a problem do you think the budget deficit is for the country right now?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Very serious 68% 59% 86% 65% 71% Somewhat serious 24 27 11 24 21 Not too serious 5 9 1 7 6 Not at all serious 2 3 2 3 2 Don’t know 1 1 – 1 – PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 22 FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT (CONTINUED) Half of Californians (52%) express approval of the law that was recently passed to raise the federal debt ceiling and make major cuts in government spending; 38 percent disapprove. Among likely voters, 49 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove of this plan. Findings again reflect strong partisan differences. Two in three Democrats (64%) approve of this plan while 60 percent of Republicans disapprove. Among independents, 53 percent approve and 39 percent disapprove. Among those who consider the federal deficit to be a very serious problem, 48 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove of the plan. In an August poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, adults nationwide were about evenly split on this issue (48% approve, 50% disapprove). “As you may know, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a bill that raises the federal government's debt ceiling through the year 2013 and makes major cuts in government spending over the next few years. Based on what you have read or heard, do you approve or disapprove of that bill ?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 52% 64% 34% 53% 49% Disapprove 38 28 60 39 43 Don't know 11 8 5 8 8 After being informed that a bipartisan congressional committee is expected to produce a proposal to significantly reduce the deficit, respondents were asked about two ideas that may be included in the proposal. The first idea —increases in taxes on businesses and higher -income Americans —garners the support of two in three Californians (67%) and 62 percent of likely voters. But o pinion is divided on the second idea: making major changes to the Social Security and Medicare systems (all adults: 46% should, 51% should not; likely voters: 46% should, 50% should not). Strong majorities of Democrats (82%) and independents (69%) support increasing taxes on upper -income earners and businesses, while most Republicans (38% favor, 58% oppose) are opposed. When it comes to changing the Social Security or Medicare systems, most Republicans (54%) and independents (55%) are in favor, while most Democrats (36% favor, 61% oppose) are not. In the poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, adults nationwide supported increased taxes on businesses and higher -income Americans (63% should, 36% should not) . But they opposed changing Social Security or Medicare (35% should, 64% should not), much more so than the 51 percent of Californians in our survey . “As you may know, that bill created a bipartisan congressional committee that is expected to produce a proposal to significantly reduce the federal budget deficit. Please tell me whether you think each of the following should or should not be included in that deficit reduction proposal. How about…” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Increases in taxes on businesses and higher -income Americans? Should 67% 82% 38% 69% 62% Should not 29 15 58 29 34 Don't know 4 4 4 2 4 Major changes to the Social Security and Medicare systems? Should 46 36 54 55 46 Should not 51 61 42 42 50 Don't know 3 3 4 4 3 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 23 PARTY PERCEPTIONS Amid continued concern over the economy and the federal budget deficit , and with the 2012 election season underway , how are political parties perceived? Californians have the most favorable impression of the Democratic Party (47% favorable, 42% unfavorable, 12% don’t know), followed by the Republican Party (32% favorable, 56% unfavorable, 12% don’t know) and the Tea Party movement (24% favorable, 52% unfav orable, 23% don’t know). Perception s of the major political parties w ere similar last October while unfavorable impressions of the Tea Party have grown somewhat (44% to 52%) . Likely voters (32%) have a somewhat more favorable impression of the Tea Party movement than all adults (24%). More Democrats (72%) have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party than Republicans (59%) do of their party. Fifty -six percent of Republicans have a favorable impression of the Tea Party movement while 74 percent of Democrats have an unfavorable impression. At least half of independents give unfavorable ratings to each party, but they are more likely to have favorable impressions of the Democratic Party (37%) than the Republican Party (30%) or the Tea Party movement (29%). “Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable impression of the…” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Democratic Party? Favorable 47% 72% 14% 37% 44% Unfavorable 42 21 81 53 50 Don't know 12 7 5 10 6 Republican Party? Favorable 32 13 59 30 30 Unfavorable 56 79 33 60 63 Don't know 12 8 8 10 7 The political movement known as the Tea Party? Favorable 24 9 56 29 32 Unfavorable 52 74 30 57 57 Don't know 23 16 14 14 12 When asked whether the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job representing the American people, 37 percent of all adults and 33 percent of likely voters say yes. A majority of Californians (51%) and likely voters (57%) think that the two parties do such a poor job that a third major party is needed. Independents (65%) are the most likely to say that a third party is needed, followed by Republicans (56%) and Democrats (50%). Californians held similar views in 2006, 2008 , and 2010, with at least half expressing the need for a third party. When this question was first asked in 2004, residents were divided (48% adequate job, 46% third party needed). Among those who say a third major party is needed, 55 percent have an unfavorable impression of the Tea Party movement. “In your view, do the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job representing the American people, or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Adequate job 37% 40% 34% 27% 33% Third party is needed 51 50 56 65 57 Don't know 12 10 11 7 9 September 2011 Californians and Their Government 24 REGIONAL MAP September 2011 Californians and Their Government 25 METHODOLOGY The PPIC Statewide Survey is directed by Mark Baldassare, president and CEO and survey director at the Public Policy Institute of California, with assistance from Dean Bonner, project manager for this survey, and survey research associates Sonja Petek and Jui Shrestha. The Californians and Their Government series is supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. We benefit from discussions with PPIC staff, foundation staff, and other policy experts, but the methods, questions, and content of this report were determined solely by Mark Baldassare and the survey staff. Findings in this report are based on a survey of 2,002 California adult residents, including 1,602 interviewed on landline telephones and 400 interviewed on cell phones. Interviewing took place on weekday nights and weekend days from September 6 to 13, 2011. Interviews took an average of 20 minutes to complete. Landline interviews were conducted 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 for selection and the sample telephone numbers were called as many as 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. Cell phone interviews were included in this survey to account for the growing number of Californians who use them. These interviews were conducted using a computer -generated random sample of cell phone numbers. All cell phone numbers with California area codes were eligible for selection and the sample telephone numbers were called as many as eight times to increase the likelihood of reaching an eligible respondent. Once a cell phone user was reached, it was verified that this person was age 18 or older, a resident of California, and in a safe place to continue the survey (e.g., not driving). Cell phone respondents were offered a small reimbursement to help defray the potential cost of the call. Cell phone interviews were conducted with adults who have cell phone service only and with those who have both cell phone and landline service in t he household. Landline and cell phone interviewing with live interviewers was conducted in English and Spanish according to respondents’ preferences. Accent on Languages, Inc. translated the survey into Spanish, with assistance from Renatta DeFever. Abt S RBI Inc. conducted the telephone interviewing. With assistance from Abt SRBI we used recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006– 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) for California to compare certain demographic characteristics of the survey sample— region, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education —with the characteristics of California’s adult population. The survey sample was closely comparable to the ACS figures. Abt SRBI used data from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey and data from the 2006– 2008 ACS for California both to estimate landline and cell phone service in California and to compare the data against landline and cell phone service reported in this survey. We also used voter registration data from the California Secretary of State to compare the party registration of registered voters in our sample to party registration in the state. The landline and cell phone samples were then integrated using a frame integration weight, while sample balancing adjust ed for any differences across reg ional, age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, telephone service, and party registration groups. The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is ±3. 6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for the tot al sample of 2,002 adults. This means that 95 times out of 100, the results will be within 3. 6 percentage points of what they would be if all adults in California PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 26 were interviewed. The sampling error for subgroups is larger: For the 1, 305 registered voters, it is ±3.8 percent; for the 958 likely voters, it is ±4.2 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, Tular e, 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, but sample sizes for these less populated areas are not large enough to report separately. We present sp ecific results for non- Hispanic whites and for Latinos, who account for about a third of the state’s adult population an d constitute one of the fastest -growing voter groups. We also present results for non- Hispanic Asians, who make up about 14 percent of the state’s adult population . Results for other racial/ethnic groups —such as non -Hispanic blacks and Native Americans—are included in the results reported for all adults, registered voters, and likely voters, but sample sizes are not large enough for separate analysis. We compare the opinions of those who report they are registered Democrats, Republicans, and decline -to -state or independent voters; the results for those who say they are registered to vote in another party ar e not large enough for separate analysis. We also analyze the responses of likely voters —so designated by their responses to survey questions on voter registration, previous election participation, and current interest in politics . The percentages presented in the report tables and in the questionnaire may not add to 100 due to rounding. We compare current PPIC Statewide Survey results to those in our earlier surveys and to those in national surveys by ABC News/ Washington Post, CBS News, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Gallup, and the Pew Research Center . Additional details about our methodology can be found at http://www.ppic.org/content/other/SurveyMethodology.pdf and are available upon request through surveys@ppic.org . September 2011 Californians and Their Government 27 QUESTIONNAIRE AND RESULTS CALIFORNIANS AND THEIR GOVERNMENT September 6–13, 2011 2,002 California Adult Residents: English, Spanish MARGIN OF ERROR ±3.6% AT 95% CONFIDENCE LEVEL FOR TOTAL SAMPLE PERCENTAGES MAY NOT ADD TO 100 DUE TO ROUNDING 1. First, thinking about the state as a whole, what do you think is the most important issue facing people in California today? [code, don’t read] 67% jobs, economy 6 education, schools 6 state budget, deficit, taxes 4 immigration, illegal immigration 2 crime, gangs, drugs 2 government in general 2 health care, health costs 9 other 2 don’t know 2. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Jerry Brown is handling his job as governor of California? 41% approve 28 disapprove 31 don’t know 3. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling its job? 26% approve 56 disapprove 18 don’t know 4. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job that the state legislators representing your assembly and senate districts are doing at this time? 35% approve 48 disapprove 17 don’t know 5. Do you think things in California are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction? 30% right direction 61 wrong direction 8 don’t know 6. Turning to economic conditions in California, do you think that during the next 12 months we will have good times financially or bad times? 25% good times 67 bad times 8 don’t know 7. 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?) 50% yes, serious recession 32 yes, moderate recession 7 yes, mild recession 10 no 2 don’t know 8. Are you concerned that you or someone i n your family will lose their job in the next year, or not? ( if yes: Are you very concerned or somewhat concerned?) 30% yes, very concerned 19 yes, somewhat 42 no 8 have lost job already (volunteered) 1 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 28 9. On another topic, in general, how much would you say you know about how your state and local governments spend and raise money —a lot, some, very little, or nothing? 19% a lot 37 some 30 very little 10 nothing 3 don’t know 10. 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? 68% big problem 27 somewhat of a problem 2 not a problem 3 don’t know 11. Would you say that your local government services —such as those provided by city and county governments and public schools —have or have not been affected by recent state budget cuts? ( i f they have, ask: Have they been affected a lot or somewhat? ) 67% affected a lot 25 affected somewhat 6 not affected 2 don’t know 12. Overall, do you think the state and local tax system is in need of major changes, minor changes, or do you think it is fine the way it is? 62% major changes 24 minor changes 10 fine the way it is 4 don’t know 13. Would you favor or oppose a shift of some tax dollars and fees from the state government to local governments, in order for local governments to take on the responsibility of running certain programs curr ently run by the state? 61% favor 23 oppose 15 don’t know 14. If the state were to shift some tax dollars and fees to local governments, how confident are you that local governments would be able to take on the responsibilities of running certain progra ms currently run by the state? Are you very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident? 10% very confident 49 somewhat confident 24 not too confident 13 not at all confident 3 don’t know 15. As you may know, state funding is being provided to shift some of the lower -risk inmates from state prisons to county jails , to reduce prison overcrowding and lower state costs. How confident are you that your local government is able to take on this responsibility? Are you very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident? 8% very confident 40 somewhat confident 25 not too confident 22 not at all confident 5 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 29 [ rotate questions 16 to 19] 16. As you may know, voters passed Proposition 25 in 2010, a constitutional amendment that reduced the legislative vote requirement to pass a state budget from a two -thirds vote to a simple majority, or 50 percent plus one vote this year. Do you think it is a good idea or bad idea to lower the vote requirement to pass a state budget and state taxes from a two- thirds vote to a simple majority or 50 percent plus one vote? 45% good idea 44 bad idea 11 don’t know 17. The California legislature has operated under term limits since 1990, meaning that members of the state senate and state assembly are limited in the number of terms they can hold their elected office. Some people have proposed reducing the total amount of time a person may serve in the state leg islature from 14 years to 12 years and allowing a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the assembly, the senate, or a combination of both. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea? 62% good idea 26 bad idea 11 don’t know 18. There is a pr oposal to change the California legislature from full -time to part -time status. Do you think that having a part -time legislature is a good idea or a bad idea? 31% good idea 58 bad idea 11 don’t know 19. There is a proposal to change the California le gislature from 40 state senators and 80 assembly members to a single body of 120 members resulting in representatives serving smaller districts. Do you think that having a single body of 120 members in the legislature is a good idea or a bad idea? 43% goo d idea 38 bad idea 19 don’t know On another topic, California uses the direct initiative process, which enables voters to bypass the legislature and have issues put on the ballot —as state propositions —for voter approval or rejection. 20. Generally speaking, would you say you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or not satisfied with the way the initiative process is working in California today? 12% very satisfied 50 somewhat satisfied 30 not satisfied 7 don’t know 21. Overall, how much would you say that the initiative process in California today is controlled by special interests —a lot, some, or not at all? 54% a lot 34 some 6 not at all 6 don’t know Reforms have been suggested to address issues that arise in the initiative process. Please say whether you would favor or oppose each of the following reform proposals. [rotate questions 22 and 23] 22. How about a system of review and revision of proposed initiatives to try to avoid legal issues and drafting errors? 68% favor 19 oppose 14 don’t know 23. How about requiring initiatives which create new programs or reduce taxes to identify a specific f unding source? 73% favor 17 oppose 10 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 30 Next, [rotate questions 24 to 27] 24. Which of the following statements comes closest to your own view, even if neither is exactly right ? [rotate ] (1) The government should pass more laws that restric t the availability of abortion; [ or ] (2) the government should not interfere with a woman’s access to abortion. 28% should pass more laws 69 should not interfere with access 4 don’t know 25. Which of the following statements do you agree with more? [r otate ] (1) The penalty for first -degree murder should be the death penalty; [ or ] (2) the penalty for first -degree murder should be life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole. 39% death penalty 54 life imprisonment with no parole 7 don’t know 26. In general, do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not? 46% yes, legal 51 no, not legal 3 don’t know 27. Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married? 53% favor 42 oppose 5 don’t know 28. On another topic, overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States? 51% approve 43 disapprove 6 don’t know [rotate questions 29 and 30] 29. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Dianne Feinstein is handling her job as U.S. s enator? 46% approve 37 disapprove 17 don’t know 30. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Barbara Boxer is handling her job as U.S. s enator? 49% approve 38 disapprove 14 don’t know 31. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling its job? 27% approve 64 disapprove 9 don’t know 32. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way your own representative to the U.S. House of Representatives in Congress is handling his or her job? 48% approve 37 disapprove 15 don’t know 33. Do you think things in the United States are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction? 30% right direction 65 wrong direction 5 d on’t know 34. Turning to economic conditions, do you think that during the next 12 months the United States will have good times financially or bad times? 29% good times 65 bad times 6 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 31 35. Next, since taking office, have Barack Obama’s economic policies made economic conditions better, worse, or not had an effect so far? 26% better 29 worse 40 no effect so far 2 too soon to tell (volunteered) 3 don’t know 36. Overall, do you think that [ rotate ] (1) Congress [ and ] (2) the Obama administration are doing more than enough, just enough, or not enough to help create jobs? 7% more than enough 21 just enough 67 not enough 5 don’t know 36a. Who do you trust more to make the right decisions about the nation’s economy: [rota te] (1) the Republicans in Congress [or ] (2) Barack Obama? 50% Barack Obama 31 Republicans in Congress 2 b oth (volunteered) 12 n either (volunteered) 6 don’t know 36b. [asked starting September 9] Recently, President Barack Obama announced his “American Jobs Act,” an economic plan which would include tax cuts for individuals, tax cuts and credits for businesses, an extension of unemployment benefits, and investments in government programs for infras tructure projects. This plan could cost about $450 billion and would be fully paid for as part of the p resident’s long-term deficit reduction plan. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the p resident’s plan? 53% satisfied 37 dissatisfied 3 haven’t heard anything about the plan (volunteered) 7 don’t know 37. If you were setting priorities for the federal government these days, would you place [rotate] (1) a higher priority on spending to help the economy recover [or] (2) a higher priority o n reducing the budget deficit? 56% spending to help economy recover 39 reducing the budget deficit 5 don’t know 38. How serious a problem do you think the budget deficit is for the country right now — very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious or not at all serious? 68% very serious 24 somewhat serious 5 not too serious 2 not at all serious 1 don’t know 39. As you may know, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a bill that raises the federal government's debt ceiling through the year 2013 and makes major cuts in government spending over the next few years. Based on what you have read or heard, do you approve or disapprove of that bill? 52% approve 38 disapprove 11 don’t know As you may know, that bill created a bipartisan congr essional committee that is expected to produce a proposal to significantly reduce the federal budget deficit. Please tell me whether you think each of the following should or should not be included in that deficit reduction proposal. [rotate questions 40 and 41] 40. How about increases in taxes on businesses and higher -income Americans? 67% should 29 should not 4 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 32 41. How about major changes to the Social Security and Medicare systems? 46% should 51 should not 3 don’t know Next, [rotate questions 42 and 43] 42. Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable impression of the Democratic Party? 47% favorable 42 unfavorable 12 don’t know 43. Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable impression of the Republican Party? 32% favorable 56 unfavorable 12 don’t know 44. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of the political movement known as the Tea Party? 24% favorable 52 unfavorable 23 don’t know 45. In your view, do the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequat e job representing the American people, or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed? 37% adequate job 51 third party is needed 12 don’t know 46 . Next, some people are registered to vote and others are not. Are you absolutely certain that you are registered to vote in Calif ornia? 66% yes [ask q 46a] 34 no [skip to q47 b] 46a. Are you registered as a Democrat, a Republican, another party, or are you registered as a decline -to -state or independent voter? 45% Democrat [ask q47] 31 Republican [skip to q47a] 4 another party (specify) [skip to q48] 20 independent [skip to q47b] 47. Would you call yourself a strong Democrat or not a very strong Democrat? 52% strong 46 not very strong 1 don’t know [skip to q48 ] 47a.Would you call yourself a strong Republican or not a very strong Republican? 47% strong 51 not very strong 2 don’t know [skip to q48 ] 47b.Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican Party or Democratic Party? 28% Republican Party 50 Democratic Party 19 n either (volunteered) 4 don’t know 48 . Next, would you consider yourself to be politically: [read list, rotate order top to bottom] 12% very liberal 22 somewhat liberal 28 mid d le-of -the -road 21 somewhat conservative 15 very conservative 3 don’t know 49 . Generally speaking, how much interest would you say you have in politics? 24% great deal 38 fair amount 30 only a little 8 none [d1–d16: demographic questions] PPIC STATEWIDE SURVEY ADVISORY COMMITTEE Ruben Barrales President and CEO San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Angela Blackwell Founder and CEO PolicyLink Paul Brest President The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Mollyann Brodie Senior Vice President Kaiser Family Foundation Bruce E. Cain Executive Director University of California Washington Center James E. Canales President The James Irvine Foundation Jon Cohen Director of Polling The Washington Post Russell Hancock President and CEO 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 CEO The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Monica Lozano Publisher and CEO La Opinión Donna Lucas Chief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs Lisa Pitney Vice President, Government Relations The Walt Disney Company Dan Rosenheim News Director KPIX -TV Robert K. Ross, M.D. President and CEO The California Endowment Most Reverend Jaime Soto Bishop of Sacramento Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento 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. PPIC BOARD OF DIRECTORS John E. Bryson, Chair Retired Chairman and CEO Edison International Mark Baldassare President and CEO Public Policy Institute of California Ruben Barrales President and CEO San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Marí a Blanco Vice President, Civic Engagement California Community Foundation Brigitte Bren CEO, International Strategic Planning, Inc. Gary K. Hart Former State Senator and Secretary of Education State of California Robert M. Hertzberg Partner Mayer Brown, LLP Walter B. Hewlett Director Center for Computer A ssisted Research in the Humanities Donna Lucas Chief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs David Mas Masumoto Author and farmer Steven A. Merksamer Senior Partner Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni , LLP Kim Polese Chairman, ClearStreet, Inc . Thomas C. Sutton Retired Chairman and CEO Pacific Life Insurance Company 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 operating foundation. 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 CEO of PPIC. John E. Bryson is Chair of the Board of Directors. 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 copyright notice below is included. Copyright © 201 1 Public Policy Institute of California All rights reserved. San Francisco, CA PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, California 94111 phone: 415.291.4400 fax: 415.291.4401 PPIC SACRAMENTO CENT ER 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(113) "https://www.ppic.org/publication/ppic-statewide-survey-californians-and-their-government-september-2011/s_911mbs/" ["_next":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_prev":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_css_class":protected]=> NULL ["id"]=> int(8811) ["ID"]=> int(8811) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_content"]=> string(0) "" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:41:03" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(4170) ["post_status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["post_title"]=> string(8) "S 911MBS" ["post_type"]=> string(10) "attachment" ["slug"]=> string(8) "s_911mbs" ["__type":protected]=> NULL ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(12) "S_911MBS.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(6) "482889" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(81682) "CONTENTS About the Survey 2 Press Release 3 State Issues 6 National Issues 16 Regional Map 24 Methodology 25 Questionnaire and Results 27 their government SEPTEMBER 2011 & P P I C S TAT E W I D E S U R V E Y Californians Mark Baldassare Dean Bonner Sonja Petek Jui Shrestha in collaboration with The James Irvine Foundation September 2011 Californians and Their Government 2 ABOUT THE SURVEY The PPIC Statewide Sur vey provides policymakers, the media, and the public with objective, advocacy-free information on the perceptions, opinions, and public policy preferences of California residents. Inaugurated in April 1998, this is the 120th PPIC Statewide Sur vey in a series that has generated a database of responses from more than 254 ,000 Californians. This sur vey is the 48th in the Californians and Their Govern ment series, which is conducted periodically to examine the social, economic, and political trends that influence public policy preferences and ballot choices. The series is suppor ted with funding from The James Ir vine Foundation. This sur vey seeks to info rm decisionmakers, raise public awareness, and stimulate policy discussions and debate about impor tant state issues, with a par ticular focus on the California state budget. The background for this sur vey includes growing concern about the global economic recover y and the slow pace of employment growth nationally. Within the state, Governor Jerr y Brown saw his $1 billion tax package blocked by the legislature, which also sent him 600 bills that he must sign or veto by Oct. 9. Among these are reforms to the initiative process, the second phase of the California DREAM Act, and an online voter registration bill. President Barack Obama introduced his American Jobs Act as the sur vey was being conducted; the bill would provide tax breaks to individuals and businesses, extend unemployment benefits, and invest in infrastructure projects . In addition, a special joint committee of Congress prepared to meet for the first time in an attempt to identify ways to reduce the federal deficit. This sur vey presents the responses of 2,002 adult residents throughout the state, inter viewed in English or Spanish and contacted by landline or cell phone. It includes findings on these topics:  State issues, including overall mood, perceptions of both current and future economic climates, and concerns about job l oss; job approval ratings of Governor Brown, the state legislature, and individual state representatives ; perceptions of state and local fiscal matters and of the state/local relationship; preferences for legislative refo rms; attitudes toward the citizens’ intitiative process and possible initiative reforms; and policy preferences regarding abor tion restrictions, same- sex marriage, marijuana legalization, and the death penalty .  National issues, including perceptions of the countr y’s direction and its economic future; approval ratings of federal elected officials including President Obama, Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, Congress, and individual congressional representatives ; attitudes towards U.S. economic policy, the federal budget deficit, and the federal debt limit; and perceptions of political par ties.  Time trends and the extent to which Californians may differ in their perceptions, attitudes, and preferences regarding state issues and the budget , based on their political par ty affiliation, likely voting in elections, region of residence, race/ethnicity, and other demographics. This repor t may be downloaded free of charge from our website ( www.ppic.org). For questions about the sur vey, please contact sur vey@ppic.org . Tr y our PPIC Statewide Sur vey interactive tools online at http://www.ppic.org/main/sur vAdvancedSearch.asp. PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 7 STATE OF THE STATE Californians (67%) continue to name jobs and the economy as the most important issue facing people in the state today . Far fewer mention the state budget, deficit, and taxes (6%), education and schools (6%), or immigration (4%). Mention of jobs and the economy has reached a new high, surpassing the previous high in February 2009 (63%). Jobs and the econ omy has topped the list of most important issues since March 2008 (35%), and has been above 50 percent since February 2009. More than six in 10 across parties, regions, and demographic groups name jobs and the economy as the most important issue. There ar e some differences across groups. Democrats (73%) are more likely than independents (66%) and Republicans (64%) to mention jobs and the economy while Latinos (74%) are more likely than Asians (65%) and whites (61%) to say this . “Thinking about the state as a whole, what do you think is the most important issue facing people in California today? ” Top four issues mentioned All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Jobs, economy 67% 73% 64% 66% 67% Education, schools 6 7 7 4 6 State budget, deficit, taxes 6 6 10 11 10 Immigration, illegal immigration 4 2 4 4 3 Californians remain negative about the direction of the state : 61 percent say things are going in the wrong direction and 30 percent say the right direction. The percentage holding this negative view is similar to June (60%) and negative perceptions have been above 50 percent since September 2007. Across party lines, Republicans (82%) are much more likely than independents (63%) and Democrats (55%) to say things are going in the wrong direction. Across regions, residents in the Other Southern California r egion (66%) are most likely to hold this view , followed by those in the Central Valley (60%), Los Angeles (60%), and the San Francisco Bay Area (57%). Negative perceptions of the state’s direction are much higher among whites (68%) than among Asians (56%) and Latinos (54%). P essimism increases as income increases and rises slightly with education . Younger Californians age 18 to 34 (54%) are less likely than those 35 and older (65%) to say 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 Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Right direction 30% 37% 13% 26% 25% Wrong direction 61 55 82 63 69 Don’t know 8 8 5 11 7 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 8 ECONOMIC SITUATION Similar to the share naming jobs and the economy as the most important issue, two in three Californians (67%) think that the state will have bad times financially in the next 12 months; 25 percent expect good times . N egative attitudes about the state’s economic outlook have eclipsed 50 percent since September 2007. Among likely voters, 74 percent expect bad times . Republicans (84%) are much more likely than independents (71%) and Democrats (61%) to expect bad economic times and two in three or more across regions hold this view. Nearly all Californians (89%) say the state is in an economic recession (50% serious, 32% moderate, 7% mild). In 2011 more than eight in 10 have said the state is in a recession (86% January, 83 % March, 88% May, 89% today). The p erception that California is in a recession has been above 70 percent each time since we began asking this question in March 2008. The belief that California is in a recession is similar across regions, but residents in the Other Southern California r egion (55%) are the most likely —and those in the San Francisco Bay Area (46%) the least likely —to say the recession is serious. Across parties, most say the state is in a recession , but Republicans (62%) are much more likely than independents (48%) and Dem ocrats (44%) to call the recession serious. Whites (53%) and Latinos (47%) are more likely than Asians (38%) to think the state is in a serious recession and the belief that the recession is serious increases with age. “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?)” All Adults Region Likely Voters Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles Other Southern California Serious recession 50% 50% 46% 50% 55% 53% Moderate recession 32 32 32 31 27 31 Mild recession 7 8 9 7 8 5 Not in a recession 10 9 9 11 8 9 Don’t know 2 2 4 1 1 2 Half of Californians are very (30%) or somewhat concerned (19%) that someone in their family will experience job loss in the next year, while 42 percent are not concerned and 8 percent volunteer that someone in their family has already lost a job . Concern has been similar each time we asked this question in 2011 (44% March, 48% May, 49 % today ). Los Angeles residents (55%) are more concerned than residents elsewhere (48% San Francisco Bay Area, 45% Other Southern California Region, 43% Central Valley). Concern is much higher among Latinos (62%) than among Asians (46%) and whites (39%). Lower -income Californians are twice as likely as upper -income residents to be very concerned. “Are you concerned that you or someone in your family will lose thei r job in the next year, or not? ( if yes : Are you very concerned or somewhat concerned? )” All Adults Household Income Likely Voters Under $40,000 $40,000 to under $80,000 $80,000 or more Yes, very concerned 30% 38% 29% 19% 26% Yes, somewhat concerned 19 18 20 19 16 No 42 33 43 56 49 Already lost job (volunteered) 8 11 7 5 8 Don’t know 1 1 – 1 1 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 9 APPROVAL RATINGS OF STATE ELECTED OFFICIALS As Governor Brown prepares to sign or veto hundreds of bills sent to him by the legislature, four in 10 Californians (41%) and 45 percent of likely voters say they approve of his job performance. Three in 10 Ca lifornians are unsure of how to rate Governor Brown. Results among all adults have been similar the last three times we asked about the governor’s job performance (40% April, 42% May, 42% July, 41% today). Democrats (60%) are far more likely than independents (35%) and Republicans (25%) to approve of Governor Brown’s job performance. Across regions, San Francisco Bay Area (52%) residents are much more likely to approve of the governor than residents in Los Angeles (39%), the Other Southern California r egion (37%), and the Central Valley (36%) . Whites (47%) are more likely than Asians (40%) and Latinos ( 36 %) to voice approval . Approval increases with higher education level s. Job -performance ratings of the legislature continue to lag behind those of the govern or, with one in four Californians approving (26%) and 56 percent disapproving . Likely voters are even more negative (17% approve, 71% disapprove). Approval of the legislature has been similar all year but has rebounded somewhat from a low of 14 percent in November 2010. Today, disapproval of the legislature is much higher among Republicans (80%) than among independents (67%) and Democrats (56%) . Majorities of residents across regions disapprove of the legislature. Whites (69%) are far more likely than Asian s (45%) and Latinos (42%) to disapprove. Disapproval increases with education and income. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that…” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Jerry Brown is handling his job as governor of California? Approve 41% 60% 25% 35% 45% Disapprove 28 16 56 36 35 Don't know 31 24 19 29 20 The California Legislature is handling its job? Approve 26 28 10 21 17 Disapprove 56 56 80 67 71 Don't know 18 16 10 12 12 Californians ’ approval of their individual state legislator s’ job performance remains low at 35 percent, with nearly half of Californians disapproving (48%). Opinions of likely voters are even more negative (31% approve, 57% disapprove). Approval among adults is simila r to March (36% approve, 43% disapprove) and has been below 40 percent since September 2008. Republicans (70%) are much more likely than independents (55%) and Democrats (39%) to disapprove. Half of residents in the Other Southern California region (51%) , the Central Valley (50%) , and Los Angeles (48%) disapprove, compared to four in 10 San Francisco Bay Area (40%) residents . Disapproval is higher among whites (56%) than among Latinos (40%) and Asians (32 %), and higher among those age 35 and older (51% 35 –54, 54% 55 and older ) than those under 35 (38%). “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job that the state legislators representing your assembly and senate districts are doing at this time?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 35% 43% 20% 27% 31% Disapprove 48 39 70 55 57 Don't know 17 17 10 18 12 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 10 STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT BUDGETS When asked how much they know about how their state and local governments spend and raise money, a majority of Californians (56%) say they know a lot (19%) or some (37%); four in 10 say they know very little (30%) or nothing (10%). Majorities in January 20 10 (61%) and January 2011 (54% ) also said they knew a lot or some. Today, 74 percent of likely voters say they have at least some knowledge. Six in 10 or more across parties and majorities across regions hold this view. Whites (68%) are far more likely tha n Latinos (45%) and Asians (42%) to say they know a lot or some about state and local budgets. Reported knowledge increases sharply with education. Nearly all Californians (95%) think the state budget situation in California is a big problem (68%) or somew hat of a problem (27%). Likely voters are even more negative (81% big, 16% somewhat). The percentage of adults saying big problem has been similar during 2011, but was higher last September (80%). More than seven in 10 across parties (72% Democrats, 76% independents, 87% Republicans) and more than six in 10 across regions call it a big problem. Majorities a cross demographic groups (except Latinos, 49%) think the budget situation is 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 Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Big problem 68% 72% 87% 76% 81% Somewhat of a problem 27 24 11 21 16 Not a problem 2 2 1 1 1 Don’t know 3 2 1 3 2 When asked if their local government services have been affected by recent state budget cuts, 67 percent of adults say that local services have been affected a lot and 25 percent say services have been affected somewhat; only 6 percent say services have not been affected. Likely voters hold similar perceptions. Democrats (77%) are much more likely than Republicans (65%) and independents (61%) to say servic es have been affected a lot. More than six in 10 across regions and demographic groups say local government services have been affected a lot by recent state budget cuts. “Would you say that your local government services—such as those provided by city and county governments and public schools —have or have not been affected by recent state budget cuts? ( if they have , ask: “Have they been affected a lot or somewhat?”)? All Adults Region Likely Voters Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles Other Southern California Affected a lot 67% 72% 71% 68% 63% 68% Affected somewhat 25 21 25 24 26 24 Not affected 6 6 2 5 8 5 Don’t know 2 2 2 3 2 3 We also asked if the state and local tax system is in need of major changes, minor changes, or whether it is fine the way it is. Sixty -two percent of Californians say the system is in need of major changes and 24 percent say minor changes; only 10 percent say the system is fine the way it is. Findings were fairly similar last January and in January 2010. At least six in 10 across parties and regions say major changes are needed , and this perception is much higher among whites (71%) than Asians (58%) or Latinos (49%). PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 11 STATE AND LOCAL FISCAL REFORMS As part of Governor Brown’s budget proposal, there will be a realignment of certain state and local responsibilities. Sixty -one percent of Californians favor a shift of some tax dollars and fees from the state government to l ocal governments, so local governments can take on the responsibility of running certain programs currently run by the state; 23 percent are opposed. Likely voters have similar preferences . In January, right after the governor’s budget speech, 71 percent of Californians were in favor. Today, majorities across parties (57% Democrats, 59% independents, 69% Republicans) and regions favor this shift. Across demographic groups, about six in 10 or more are in favor . When asked about their confidence in local government’s ability to take on the responsibilities of running certain programs currently run by the state, about six in 10 Californians are very (10%) or somewhat (49%) confident; 37 percent are not too (24%) or not at all (13%) confident. In January, results were similar (14% very, 49% somewhat). Today, likely voters hold similar opinions to all adults. Republicans (64%) and independents (61%) are more confident than Democrats (53%). Across regions , confidence is highest among residents in the San Francisco Bay Area (65%), followed by those in the Other Southern California r egion (58%), the Central Valley (56%) , and Los Angeles (56%). Majorities across demographic groups express at least some confidence, but Asians (66%) are more confident tha n whites (59%) or Latinos (58%). Among those who are in favor of the state -to -local shift, 73 percent express confidence; among those who are opposed, only 37 percent are confident. “If the state were to shift some tax dollars and fees to local governments, how confident are you that local governments would be able to take on the responsibilities of running certain programs currently run by the state?” All Adults Region Likely Voters Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles Other Southern California Very confident 10% 11% 10% 6% 11% 11% Somewhat confident 49 45 55 50 47 48 Not too confident 24 29 21 27 22 25 Not at all confident 13 12 7 16 17 14 Don’t know 3 3 6 1 3 2 By comparison, fewer Californians are very (8%) or somewhat confident (40%) about their local government ’s taking on the responsibilit ies associated with shifting lower-risk inmates from state prisons to county jails . Half or fewer across parties and regions are at least somewhat confident . Latinos (56%) are most likely to be confident , followed by Asians (50%) and whites (44%). Among those who are in favor of realignment , 51 percent are confident ; among those who are opposed, 42 percent are confident. “As you may know, state funding is being provided to shift some of the lower- risk inmates from state prisons to county jails to reduce prison over crowding and lower state costs. How confident are you that your local government is able to take on this responsibility?” All Adults Region Likely Voters Central Valley San Francisco Bay Area Los Angeles Other Southern California Very confident 8% 9% 9% 8% 9% 8% Somewhat confident 40 35 38 40 41 38 Not too confident 25 28 29 25 21 26 Not at all confident 22 24 18 22 26 24 Don’t know 5 3 6 5 3 4 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 12 LEGISLATIVE REFORMS A year after voters passed Proposition 25, the constitutional amendment lowering the vote requirement to pass a state budget from a two -thirds vote to a simple majority, Californians still remain divided on doing the same for passage of the state budget and state taxes. Forty -five percent call it a good idea, and 44 percent a bad one. Findings were similar last September (48% good idea, 42% bad idea). Lik ely voters are also divided (49% good idea, 43% bad idea), similar to their view s in September 2010 (44% good idea, 46% bad idea). The change to a simple majority vote for both the budget and taxes divides Californians along party lines ; 56 percent of Democrats say it is a good idea and 60 percent of Republicans say it is a bad one. Among independents, 49 percent call it a good idea and 45 percent a bad one. “Do you think it is a good idea or bad idea to lower the vote requirement to pass a state budget and state taxes from a two-thirds vote to a simple majority or 50 percent plus one vote?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Good idea 45% 56% 31% 49% 49% Bad idea 44 31 60 45 43 Don't know 11 13 9 6 8 A solid majority of Californians (62%) and likely voters (65%) support a modification of term limits by reducing the maximum time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years, and allowing a person to serve those 12 years either in the assembly, the senate, or in a combination of both. Support was slightly higher in March 2011 (68%), but similar in September 2009, when 65 percent said it was a good idea. There is solid bipartisan support for the proposal (71% Republicans, 65% independents, 60% Democrats). A proposal very similar to this has qualified for the June 2012 ballot. “Some people have proposed reducing the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years and allowing a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the assembly, the senate, or a combination of both. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea? ” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Good idea 62% 60% 71% 65% 65% Bad idea 26 32 21 26 27 Don't know 11 8 9 9 9 When asked about a proposal to change the California legislature from a full -time to a part-time body , about six in 10 say this is a bad idea (58%) while 31 percent call it a good one. Democrats (65%) and independents (53%) say this is a bad idea , while Republicans are slightly more likely to say a part -time legislature is a good idea (48%) than to say a bad idea (40%). In a similar past question, pluralities said having a part -time legislature would be a bad thing (September 2004 : 22% good thing, 53% bad thing, 17% no difference; September 2009: 23% good thing, 44% bad thing, 27% no difference) . Californians are divided about another proposal that would change the legislature from 40 state senators and 80 assembly members to a single body of 120 members, resulting in representatives serving smaller districts. About four in 10 say this is a good id ea (43%) and another four in 10 say it is a bad idea (38%); 19 percent say they are unsure . Independents (46%) and Democrats (42%) are somewhat more likely than Republicans (35%) to ex press support for this proposal. PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 13 INITIATIVE PROCESS AND REFORMS October 2011 marks the 100 th anniversary of the citizens’ initiative process in California. In general, residents are either very satisfied (12%) or somewhat satisfied (50%) with the way the initiative process is working in California today. Thirty percent say th at they are not satisfied. Since 2000, majorities have at least been somewhat satisfied with the process. Satisfaction was highest in August 2006 (72%) and lowest in October 2010 (55%). Majorities across parties are at least somewhat satisfied (68% i ndependents , 64% Republicans , 59% Democrats) . “Generally speaking, would you say you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or not satisfied with the way the initiative process is working in California today?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Very satisfied 12% 12% 13% 9% 15% Somewhat satisfied 50 47 51 59 47 Not satisfied 30 36 33 29 35 Don't know 7 5 3 4 3 While Californians are generally satisfied with the way the initiative process is working, they are open to possible reforms. An overwhelming majority support requiring initiatives that create new programs or reduce taxes to identify a specific funding source. At least seven in 10 adults (73%), likely voters (76%) and voters across parties favor this reform proposal. Strong majorities of adults (68%) and likely voters (70% ) support a system of review and revision of proposed initiatives to try to avoid legal issues and drafting errors. There is bipartisan support for this re form (71% independents, 68% Democrats, 64% Republicans) . Support for a system of review and revision was similar in previous years. “Reforms have been suggested to address issues that arise in the initiative process. Please say whether you would favor or oppose each of the following reform proposals. How about …” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Requiring initiatives which create new programs or reduce taxes to identify a specific funding source? Favor 73% 74% 75% 74% 76% Oppose 17 16 16 14 15 Don't know 10 10 9 12 9 A system of review and revision of proposed initiatives to try to avoid legal issues and drafting errors? Favor 68 68 64 71 70 Oppose 19 20 17 19 18 Don't know 14 12 19 10 12 When asked about the influence of special interests on the initiative process, nearly 90 percent of Californians say the process is controlled a lot (54%) or some (34%) by special interests. Likely voters are much more likely to say special interests control the initiative process a lot (70% a lot, 24% some) . Very few (6% all adults, 4% likely voters) s ay there is no control of the process by special interests. Results are comparable to past years : at least half held the view that special interests control led the initiative process a lot in September 2005 (56%) and in January 2001 (52%). Sixty -six percen t of Democrats and Republicans say special interests control the initiative process a lot, compared to 55 percent of independents. At least half across regions share this belief, which increases with age and education. Whites (69%) are far more likely than Asians (39%) and Latinos (38%) to say special interests control the initiative process a lot. PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 14 ABORTION RIGHTS; SAME SEX MARRIAGE When asked to choose the statement that is closest to their own views about the government’s role in regulating abortion, 69 percent of Californians say the government should not interfere with a woman’s access to abortion, while 28 percent say the government should pass more laws that restrict the availability of abortion. Results have been similar since 2000, with at least six in 10 saying the government should not interfere. Likely voters (76%) and more than six in 10 across parties agree. Still, Democrats (78%) and independents (77%) are more likely than Republicans (63%) to say the government should not interfere with access to abortion. At least half of those who are ideologically conservative (54%) agree, compared to 74 percent of moderates and 82 percent of liberals. While a majority across demographic groups agree the government should not interfere with access to abortion, differences exist. The share holding this view increases sharply with income and education. Californians with children age 18 or younger (63%) are less likely than those without (73%) to agree. Whites (79%) and Asians (77%) are far more likely than Latinos (51%) to say the government should not interfere with a woman’s access to abortion. M en and women agree (69% each) that the government s hould not interfere. “Which of the following statements comes closest to your own view, even if neither is exactly right. The government should pass more laws that restrict the availability of abortion; or the government should not interfere with a woman ’s access to abortion.” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Should pass more laws 28% 20% 34% 19% 21% Should not interfere with access 69 78 63 77 76 Don't know 4 2 4 4 3 Fifty-three percent of Californians and likely voters favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married, while 42 percent of each are opposed. This continues a shift in opinion on same -sex marriage that began in 2010. Last year was the first year when at least half (50% March, 52% September) said they favored same -sex marriage in our surveys. In prior years, Californians either were more divided or opposed to same- sex marriage. Opposition was highest in January 2000 (55%) when this question was f irst asked. Two in three Democrats and six in 10 independents favor same -sex marriage , while two in three Republicans oppose it . An overwhelming majority of liberals (76%) and 59 percent of moderates are in favor, while two in three conservatives (65%) are opposed. Support is highest in the San Francisco Bay Area (62%), followed by the Other Southern California region (54%), and Los Angeles (50%). The Central Valley (55% oppose) is the only region where a majority of res idents oppose same -sex marriage . Support increases with education and income levels and declines sharply with age. A majority of whites (59%) and Asians (54%) favor same- sex marriage. Latinos are divided on the issue (47% favor, 47% oppose). At least half of those with children 18 or yo unger (51%) and those without (55%) favor same -sex marriage. “Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Favor 53% 66% 28% 57% 53% Oppose 42 30 67 38 42 Don't know 5 4 5 5 5 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 15 MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION; DEATH PENALTY Californians are still divided on legalizing marijuana, with 46 percent saying it should be made legal while 51 percent disagree. Findings were similar in September 2010 (47% legal, 49% illegal) and in May 2010 (48% legal, 49 % illegal). Likely voters hold similar views. In 2010, voters rejected Proposition 19 (53.5% no) , which would have legalized marijuana in the state. Most Democrats (53%) support legalizing ma rijuana use, while most Republicans (59%) oppose it. Independents are much more likely to support making marijuana use legal (56%) than keeping it illegal (40%). Over half of liberals (59%) and moderates (52%) favor legalization, while 68 percent of conservatives oppose legalization of marijuana. The San Francisco Bay Area is the only region where residents are more likely to say marijuana should be made legal (55%) than illegal (40%). In other regions, residents of the Central Valley (60%), Lo s Angeles (57%), and the Other Southern California region (53%) prefer to keep marijuana illegal . Latinos (68%) are most likely to oppose legalizati on, compared to 53 percent of Asians and 41 percent of whites . A majority (55%) of white s favor legalization . Just over half of men (53% legal, 44% illegal ) think marijuana should be legal; a majority of women disagree (39% legal, 58% illegal). “In general, do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Yes, legal 46% 53% 36% 56% 48% No, not legal 51 44 59 40 48 Don't know 3 3 5 4 4 As a penalty for first -degree murder, Californians prefer life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole (54%) to the death penalty (39%). Findings were similar in February 2004 ( 53% life in prison, 38 % death penalty) , while in January 2000 , Californians were divided (47% life in prison, 49% death penalty). Likely voters are more divided than adults (50% life in prison, 45% death penalty). Partisan differences are present, with 59 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents preferring life imprisonment, while 60 percent of Republicans prefer the death penalty. Those with liberal (68%) and moderate (53%) ideological leanings prefer life imprisonment. Half of conservatives (51%) prefer the death penalty compared to 44 percent saying life imprisonment. Across regions, at least half prefer life imprisonment without parole to the death penalty; residents of Los Angeles (62%) are most likely to say this. Two in three Latinos (67%) prefer lif e imprisonment, while Asians (50% life in prison, 44% death penalty) and whites (46% life in prison, 49% death penalty) are more divided. R esidents under 35 and those earning less than $40,000 annually are more likely than older and more affluent Californians to favor life imprisonment over the death penalty for first - degree murder. “Which of the following statements do you agree with more? The penalty for first-degree murder should be the death penalty; or the penalty for first degree murder should be life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole .” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Death penalty 39% 34% 60% 40% 45% Life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole 54 59 35 56 50 Don't know 7 7 5 4 5 September 2011 Californians and Their Government 16 NATIONAL ISSUES KEY FINDINGS  A record low 51 percent of Californians approve of President Obama’s job performance , but partisan s differ widely . Approval of Congress overall remains low, but half of Californians approve of their own member of the House of Representatives . ( page 17)  Nearly half of Californians approve of Senators Boxer and Feinstein, with partisans hold ing differing views . (page 18)  Californians offer mixed opinions about the impact of Barack Obama’ s economic policies, but they are much more likely to trust him than Republicans in Congress when it comes to making the right decisions about the nation’s economy . ( page 19 )  Two in three Californians say Congress and the Obama administration are not doing enough to create jobs, while 53 percent are satisfied with President Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act. ( page 20)  Almost all Californians call the federal budget deficit a serious problem, but a majority —with partisans divided —would place a higher priori ty on spending to help the economy recover rather than on efforts to reduce the budget deficit . (page 21)  Partisans are divided about the recent debt ceiling agreement and hold differing opinions about what should be included in the deficit reduction plan . (page 22)  Californians are divided in their impression of the Democratic Party (47% favorable, 42% unfavorable) while most have unfavorable opinions of both the Republican Party (32% favorable, 56% unfavorable) and the Tea Part y movement (24% favorable , 52% unfavorable ). (page 23 ) 53 48464544 53 41 49 51 50514948 54 44 46 0 20 40 60 80 Oct04Oct05Sep06Sep07Sep08Sep09Sep10Sep11 Percent all adults Boxer Feinstein Approval Ratings of U.S. Senators 71 6358525651 4339 24263027 0 20 40 60 80 100 Mar09Sep09Mar10Sep10Mar11Sep11 Percent all adults President Obama Congress Approval Ratings of Federal Elected Officials 4650 37 31 0 20 40 60 80 Adults nationwide*Californians Percent all adults Barack Obama Republicans in Congress Trust to Make the RightDecisions About the Economy *CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, September 2011 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 17 APPROVAL RATINGS OF FEDERAL ELECTED OFFICIALS Two in three Californians (65%) say the nation is going in the wrong direction, while just 30 percent say right direction. The share saying wrong direction has increased since October 2010 (58%) and December 2009 (53%). Although majorities across parties are negative about the country’s direction, Republicans (84%) and independents (72%) are much more likely than Democrats (56%) to express this view. Pessimism is also prevalent among adults nationwide: a recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll found that 77 percent said things in the nation were off on the wrong track ; just 20 percent said right direction. As President Obama begins his reelection bid, half of Californians (51%) say they approve of the way he is handling his job while 43 percent disapprove. Obama’s a pproval is at a record low; however, it was nearly identical last September (52%). Since he first took office in 2009, the president’s approval rating has eroded steadily from the 70 percent level. Today, for the first time among likely voters, more say they disapprove (50%) than approve (47%) of the president. There is widespread approval among Democrats (76%) while a similarly overwhelming majority of Republican s (81%) disapprove. For the first time among independents, more disapprove (50%) than approve (45%). Among those who say the country is headed in the wrong direction, 59 percent disapprove. In a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, adults nationwi de were more likely to disapprove (5 5%) than approve (43%) of the president. A solid majority of Californians (64%) disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job while 27 percent approve. Findings are nearly identical to last September (26% approve, 6 6% disapprove) just before the 2010 midterm elections. Among likely voters, 79 percent disapprove and just 15 percent approve. Disapproval is widespread across parties. In a recent Gallup poll, 15 percent of adults nationwide said they approve of Congress and an overwhelming 82 percent said they disapprove. “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that…” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States? Approve 51% 76% 17% 45% 47% Disapprove 43 20 81 50 50 Don't know 6 3 3 5 3 The U.S. Congress is handling its job ? Approve 27% 17% 19% 21% 15% Disapprove 64 75 73 76 79 Don't know 9 9 7 3 6 Despite low ratings for Congress overall, Californians are more positive about their own member of the House of Representatives: 48 percent approve and 37 percent disapprove. Last September, 43 percent approved and 39 percent disapproved of their own House member. Among likely voters, 49 percent approve and 41 percent disapprove. Across parties, a majority of Democrats (58%) approve of their House member compared to about four in 10 Republicans (42%) and independents (41%). “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way your own representative to the U.S. House of Representatives in Congress is handling his or her job? ” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 48% 58% 42% 41% 49% Disapprove 37 28 48 46 41 Don't know 15 14 10 12 10 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 18 APPROVAL RATINGS OF CALIFORNIA’S U.S. SENATORS Forty-six percent of Californians approve and 37 percent disapprove of Senator Diann e Feinstein, who faces re- election next year. Last September, ratings among all adults were similar (44% approve, 39% disapprove) . Among likely voters, 48 percent approve a nd 44 percent disapprove. At a similar point in time before her last reelection, approval among likely voters was slightly higher and disapproval lower (October 2005: 55% approve, 33% disapprove). Opinions of Senator Feinstein are sharply divided along partisan lines , with two in three Democrats (66%) approving and two in three Republicans (67%) disapproving. Independents are evenly split (42% approve, 42% disapprove). Approval of Senator Feinstein is highest in the San Francisco Bay Area (57%), followed b y Los Angeles (50%). Four in 10 in the Central Valley and the Other Southern California region (40% each) approve. Across racial/ethnic groups, a majority of Asians (55%) approve but fewer Latinos (46%) and whites (43%) do . Women are more likely to approve (48%) than disapprove (32%), while men are divided (44% approve, 42% disapprove). “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Dianne Feinstein is handling her job as U.S. s enator?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 46% 66% 27% 42% 48% Disapprove 37 20 67 42 44 Don't know 17 14 6 16 8 About half of Californians and likely voters (49% each) approve of the way Barbara Boxer is handling her job as U.S. Senator, while 38 percent of adults and 44 percent of likely voters disapprove. Approval is up 8 points among all adults and 6 points among likely voters since last September, just before her reelection. Since February 2002 , when PPIC surveys began tracking ratings of Senator Boxer, approval has ranged between a low of 41 percent (September 2003, March 2008, and September 2010) and a high of 53 percent (October 2004 and September 2009). Democrats (69% approve) and Republicans (74% disapprove) hold opposing views of Senator Boxer, while independents are divided (41% approve, 45% disapprove). Across regions, slim majorities in Los Angeles (55% approve, 33% disapprove) and the San Francisco Bay Area (53% approve, 34% disapprove) approve of Senator Boxer, while residents are divided in the Other Southern California region (45% approve, 43% disapprove) and the Central Valley (41% approve, 41% disapprove). Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos (55%) are the most likely to approve, followed by Asians (50%) and whites (43%). Women are more likely to approve (51%) than disapprove (32%), while men are divided (46% approve, 43% disapprove). “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Barbara Boxer is handling her job as U.S. s enator?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 49% 69% 20% 41% 49% Disapprove 38 20 74 45 44 Don't know 14 10 7 14 7 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 19 U.S. ECONOMIC POLICY Echoing pessimism about the direction of the nation, 65 percent of Californians also expect the country to have bad times financially in the next 12 months. Just 29 percent expect good times. Pessimism about economic conditions has grown slightly higher since last September (35% good times, 58% bad times). The percentage expecting bad times has exceeded the percentage expecting good times since June 2007 . A majority of likely voters (74%) expect bad times while 20 percent expect good times. Across parties, majorities expect bad financial times: Republicans (84%) are the most likely to hold this view, followed by independents (73%) and Democrats (58%). When it comes to President Obama’s economic policies, a plurality (40%) say that these policies have had no effect on economic conditions so far. Twenty -six percent say they have made cond itions better and 29 percent say they have made conditions worse. Findings have shifted only somewhat since September 2010 (32% better, 28% worse, 36% no effect) and December 2009 (31% better, 21% worse, 42% no effect). Democrats either say the president’s policies have improved economic conditions (42%) or have had no effect so far (41%), while a strong majority of Republicans say his policies have worsened economic conditions (68%). In a June survey by the Pew Research Center, adults nationwide also offer ed mixed opinions of the president’s economic policies (27% better, 34% worse, 33% no effect so far). “Since taking office, have Barack Obama’s economic policies made economic conditions better, worse, or not had an effect so far? ” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Better 26% 42% 8% 23% 27% Worse 29 10 68 30 37 No effect so far 40 41 19 42 31 Too soon to tell (volunteered) 2 3 1 – 2 Don’t know 3 3 4 4 3 Still, amid intense ongoing debate about the nation’s tenuous economy and federal budget situation, most Californians (50%) say they trust Barack Obama to make the right decisions about the economy; 31 percent say they trust the Republicans in Congress and 12 percent volunteer they trust neither. Opinion is sharply divided along party lines: 77 percent of Democrats trust the president and 69 percent of Republicans t rust congressional Republicans. More independents trust President Obama (45%) than Republicans in Congress (31%). In a similar recent question by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, adults nationwide were also more likely to trust the president over congressional Republicans (46% to 37%) to handle the economy. “Who do you trust more to make the right decisions about the nation’s economy: the Republicans in Congress or Barack Obama?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Barack Obama 50% 77% 10% 45% 48% Republicans in Congress 31 10 69 31 33 Both (volunteered) 2 2 1 2 1 Neither (volunteered) 12 10 16 18 16 Don’t know 6 2 4 4 2 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 20 U.S. ECONOMIC POLICY (CONTINUED) Reflecting concerns about jobs and the economy in the state, a strong majority of Californians (67%) say that Congress and the Obama administration are not doing enough to help create jobs; just one in five say they are doing just enough and only 7 percent say they are doing more than enough. Opinion about the job creation efforts of federal officials has not changed significantly since last September (7% more than enough, 26% just enough, 64% not enough). Among likely voters, three in four say Congress and the Obama administration are not doing enough. Republicans (83%) are the most likely to say not enough is being done to create jobs, followed by independents (71%) and Democrats (64%). Whites (74%) and Asians (73%) are muc h more likely than Latinos (58%) to say Congress and the Obama administration are not doing enough to create jobs. The percentage holding this view rises as age, education , and income increase. Those who are currently employed (68%) are more likely than those who are unemployed and looking for work (56%) to think federal officials are not doing enough to create jobs. “Overall, do you think that Congress and the Obama administration are doing more than enough, just enough, or not enough to help create jobs? ” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind More than enough 7% 8% 2% 4% 5% Just enough 21 23 8 19 16 Not enough 67 64 83 71 74 Don’t know 5 5 7 6 5 President Obama recently released a plan, the American Jobs Act, to create more jobs nationwide. The president announced the plan on September 8. Beginning on September 9, we began asking about it. After being read a brief summary of the plan, 53 percent of Californians say they are satisfied with it, while 37 percent are dissatisfied. Findings among likely voters are nearly identical to those for all adults . Opinion about the president’s jobs plan is sharply divided along partisan lines. Eight in 10 Democr ats (80%) are satisfied, while seven in 10 Republicans (72%) are dissatisfied. Among independents, a majority (56%) are satisfied with the plan. Among those who say not enough is being done to create jobs, 46 percent are satisfied and 45 percent are dissatisfied with this plan. In January 2009, we asked a question about President Obama’s earlier economic stimulus plan (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). Satisfaction with that plan was similar to satisfaction with his jobs plan today, but dissatisfaction was lower (2009 stimulus plan: 57% satisfied, 26% dissatisfied). “Recently, President Barack Obama announced his ‘American Jobs Act,’ an economic plan which would include tax cuts for individuals, tax cuts and credits for businesses, an extension of unemployment benefits, and investments in government programs for infrastructure projects. This plan could cost about $450 billion and would be fully paid for as part of the p resident’s long-term deficit reduction plan. In general, are you sati sfied or dissatisfied with the president’s plan?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Satisfied 53% 80% 17% 56% 52% Dissatisfied 37 15 72 35 39 Haven't heard anything about the plan (volunteered) 3 1 4 4 3 Don’t know 7 5 6 5 6 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 21 FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT Today, there are calls both for spending to help the economy recover and for reigning in the federal budget deficit . Which one do Californians view as most important? A majority (56%) say a higher priority should be placed on spending to help the economy recover, while 39 percent say reducing the budget deficit. This past March, Californians were somewhat less likely to say a higher priority should be placed on spending to help the economy recover (48% spending for economy, 44% reducing deficit). Opinion among likely voters is divided (48% spending, 48% reducing deficit) and Democrats (64% spending) and Republicans (70% reducing deficit) fall on opposite sides of the debate. Among independents, a majority (55%) place a higher priority on spending to help the economy recover, while 43 percent prioritize reducing the deficit. Among those who say Congress and the Obama admin istration are not doing enough to create jobs, 54 percent prioritize spending for economic recovery, while 42 percent prioritize deficit reduction. In an August survey by the Pew Research Center, adults nationwide were divided on this question (47% spending, 46% reducing deficit). “If you were setting priorities for the federal government these days, would you place a higher priority on spending to help the economy recover or a higher priority on reducing the budget deficit? All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Spending to help the economy recover 56% 64% 25% 55% 48% Reducing the budget deficit 39 31 70 43 48 Don’t know 5 5 5 3 4 While they may not agree on what takes top priority for the federal government, Californians do agree that the budget deficit is a serious problem for the country right now. Among all adults, 68 percent consider it a very serious problem and 24 percent a somewhat serious problem. Findings were fairly similar in March (63% very serious, 28% somewhat serious ). Majorities across parties consider the federal deficit to be a very serious problem. Still, Republicans (86%) are much more likely to hold this view than independents (65%) and Democrats (59%). Those who disapprove of President Obama are far more likely to consider the federal deficit a very serious problem than those who approve (80% to 58%). And those who trust the Republicans in Congress to make the right economic decisions are much more likely than those who trust President Obama to consider the defi cit a very serious problem (78% to 60%). In a June poll by CBS News, an overwhelming majority of adults nationwide considered the federal deficit to be a very serious problem (75% very serious, 20% somewhat serious). “How serious a problem do you think the budget deficit is for the country right now?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Very serious 68% 59% 86% 65% 71% Somewhat serious 24 27 11 24 21 Not too serious 5 9 1 7 6 Not at all serious 2 3 2 3 2 Don’t know 1 1 – 1 – PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 22 FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT (CONTINUED) Half of Californians (52%) express approval of the law that was recently passed to raise the federal debt ceiling and make major cuts in government spending; 38 percent disapprove. Among likely voters, 49 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove of this plan. Findings again reflect strong partisan differences. Two in three Democrats (64%) approve of this plan while 60 percent of Republicans disapprove. Among independents, 53 percent approve and 39 percent disapprove. Among those who consider the federal deficit to be a very serious problem, 48 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove of the plan. In an August poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, adults nationwide were about evenly split on this issue (48% approve, 50% disapprove). “As you may know, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a bill that raises the federal government's debt ceiling through the year 2013 and makes major cuts in government spending over the next few years. Based on what you have read or heard, do you approve or disapprove of that bill ?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Approve 52% 64% 34% 53% 49% Disapprove 38 28 60 39 43 Don't know 11 8 5 8 8 After being informed that a bipartisan congressional committee is expected to produce a proposal to significantly reduce the deficit, respondents were asked about two ideas that may be included in the proposal. The first idea —increases in taxes on businesses and higher -income Americans —garners the support of two in three Californians (67%) and 62 percent of likely voters. But o pinion is divided on the second idea: making major changes to the Social Security and Medicare systems (all adults: 46% should, 51% should not; likely voters: 46% should, 50% should not). Strong majorities of Democrats (82%) and independents (69%) support increasing taxes on upper -income earners and businesses, while most Republicans (38% favor, 58% oppose) are opposed. When it comes to changing the Social Security or Medicare systems, most Republicans (54%) and independents (55%) are in favor, while most Democrats (36% favor, 61% oppose) are not. In the poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, adults nationwide supported increased taxes on businesses and higher -income Americans (63% should, 36% should not) . But they opposed changing Social Security or Medicare (35% should, 64% should not), much more so than the 51 percent of Californians in our survey . “As you may know, that bill created a bipartisan congressional committee that is expected to produce a proposal to significantly reduce the federal budget deficit. Please tell me whether you think each of the following should or should not be included in that deficit reduction proposal. How about…” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Increases in taxes on businesses and higher -income Americans? Should 67% 82% 38% 69% 62% Should not 29 15 58 29 34 Don't know 4 4 4 2 4 Major changes to the Social Security and Medicare systems? Should 46 36 54 55 46 Should not 51 61 42 42 50 Don't know 3 3 4 4 3 PPIC Statewide S urvey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 23 PARTY PERCEPTIONS Amid continued concern over the economy and the federal budget deficit , and with the 2012 election season underway , how are political parties perceived? Californians have the most favorable impression of the Democratic Party (47% favorable, 42% unfavorable, 12% don’t know), followed by the Republican Party (32% favorable, 56% unfavorable, 12% don’t know) and the Tea Party movement (24% favorable, 52% unfav orable, 23% don’t know). Perception s of the major political parties w ere similar last October while unfavorable impressions of the Tea Party have grown somewhat (44% to 52%) . Likely voters (32%) have a somewhat more favorable impression of the Tea Party movement than all adults (24%). More Democrats (72%) have a favorable impression of the Democratic Party than Republicans (59%) do of their party. Fifty -six percent of Republicans have a favorable impression of the Tea Party movement while 74 percent of Democrats have an unfavorable impression. At least half of independents give unfavorable ratings to each party, but they are more likely to have favorable impressions of the Democratic Party (37%) than the Republican Party (30%) or the Tea Party movement (29%). “Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable impression of the…” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Democratic Party? Favorable 47% 72% 14% 37% 44% Unfavorable 42 21 81 53 50 Don't know 12 7 5 10 6 Republican Party? Favorable 32 13 59 30 30 Unfavorable 56 79 33 60 63 Don't know 12 8 8 10 7 The political movement known as the Tea Party? Favorable 24 9 56 29 32 Unfavorable 52 74 30 57 57 Don't know 23 16 14 14 12 When asked whether the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job representing the American people, 37 percent of all adults and 33 percent of likely voters say yes. A majority of Californians (51%) and likely voters (57%) think that the two parties do such a poor job that a third major party is needed. Independents (65%) are the most likely to say that a third party is needed, followed by Republicans (56%) and Democrats (50%). Californians held similar views in 2006, 2008 , and 2010, with at least half expressing the need for a third party. When this question was first asked in 2004, residents were divided (48% adequate job, 46% third party needed). Among those who say a third major party is needed, 55 percent have an unfavorable impression of the Tea Party movement. “In your view, do the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job representing the American people, or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed?” All Adults Party Likely Voters Dem Rep Ind Adequate job 37% 40% 34% 27% 33% Third party is needed 51 50 56 65 57 Don't know 12 10 11 7 9 September 2011 Californians and Their Government 24 REGIONAL MAP September 2011 Californians and Their Government 25 METHODOLOGY The PPIC Statewide Survey is directed by Mark Baldassare, president and CEO and survey director at the Public Policy Institute of California, with assistance from Dean Bonner, project manager for this survey, and survey research associates Sonja Petek and Jui Shrestha. The Californians and Their Government series is supported with funding from The James Irvine Foundation. We benefit from discussions with PPIC staff, foundation staff, and other policy experts, but the methods, questions, and content of this report were determined solely by Mark Baldassare and the survey staff. Findings in this report are based on a survey of 2,002 California adult residents, including 1,602 interviewed on landline telephones and 400 interviewed on cell phones. Interviewing took place on weekday nights and weekend days from September 6 to 13, 2011. Interviews took an average of 20 minutes to complete. Landline interviews were conducted 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 for selection and the sample telephone numbers were called as many as 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. Cell phone interviews were included in this survey to account for the growing number of Californians who use them. These interviews were conducted using a computer -generated random sample of cell phone numbers. All cell phone numbers with California area codes were eligible for selection and the sample telephone numbers were called as many as eight times to increase the likelihood of reaching an eligible respondent. Once a cell phone user was reached, it was verified that this person was age 18 or older, a resident of California, and in a safe place to continue the survey (e.g., not driving). Cell phone respondents were offered a small reimbursement to help defray the potential cost of the call. Cell phone interviews were conducted with adults who have cell phone service only and with those who have both cell phone and landline service in t he household. Landline and cell phone interviewing with live interviewers was conducted in English and Spanish according to respondents’ preferences. Accent on Languages, Inc. translated the survey into Spanish, with assistance from Renatta DeFever. Abt S RBI Inc. conducted the telephone interviewing. With assistance from Abt SRBI we used recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006– 2008 American Community Survey (ACS) for California to compare certain demographic characteristics of the survey sample— region, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education —with the characteristics of California’s adult population. The survey sample was closely comparable to the ACS figures. Abt SRBI used data from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey and data from the 2006– 2008 ACS for California both to estimate landline and cell phone service in California and to compare the data against landline and cell phone service reported in this survey. We also used voter registration data from the California Secretary of State to compare the party registration of registered voters in our sample to party registration in the state. The landline and cell phone samples were then integrated using a frame integration weight, while sample balancing adjust ed for any differences across reg ional, age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, telephone service, and party registration groups. The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is ±3. 6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for the tot al sample of 2,002 adults. This means that 95 times out of 100, the results will be within 3. 6 percentage points of what they would be if all adults in California PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 26 were interviewed. The sampling error for subgroups is larger: For the 1, 305 registered voters, it is ±3.8 percent; for the 958 likely voters, it is ±4.2 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, Tular e, 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, but sample sizes for these less populated areas are not large enough to report separately. We present sp ecific results for non- Hispanic whites and for Latinos, who account for about a third of the state’s adult population an d constitute one of the fastest -growing voter groups. We also present results for non- Hispanic Asians, who make up about 14 percent of the state’s adult population . Results for other racial/ethnic groups —such as non -Hispanic blacks and Native Americans—are included in the results reported for all adults, registered voters, and likely voters, but sample sizes are not large enough for separate analysis. We compare the opinions of those who report they are registered Democrats, Republicans, and decline -to -state or independent voters; the results for those who say they are registered to vote in another party ar e not large enough for separate analysis. We also analyze the responses of likely voters —so designated by their responses to survey questions on voter registration, previous election participation, and current interest in politics . The percentages presented in the report tables and in the questionnaire may not add to 100 due to rounding. We compare current PPIC Statewide Survey results to those in our earlier surveys and to those in national surveys by ABC News/ Washington Post, CBS News, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Gallup, and the Pew Research Center . Additional details about our methodology can be found at http://www.ppic.org/content/other/SurveyMethodology.pdf and are available upon request through surveys@ppic.org . September 2011 Californians and Their Government 27 QUESTIONNAIRE AND RESULTS CALIFORNIANS AND THEIR GOVERNMENT September 6–13, 2011 2,002 California Adult Residents: English, Spanish MARGIN OF ERROR ±3.6% AT 95% CONFIDENCE LEVEL FOR TOTAL SAMPLE PERCENTAGES MAY NOT ADD TO 100 DUE TO ROUNDING 1. First, thinking about the state as a whole, what do you think is the most important issue facing people in California today? [code, don’t read] 67% jobs, economy 6 education, schools 6 state budget, deficit, taxes 4 immigration, illegal immigration 2 crime, gangs, drugs 2 government in general 2 health care, health costs 9 other 2 don’t know 2. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Jerry Brown is handling his job as governor of California? 41% approve 28 disapprove 31 don’t know 3. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling its job? 26% approve 56 disapprove 18 don’t know 4. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the job that the state legislators representing your assembly and senate districts are doing at this time? 35% approve 48 disapprove 17 don’t know 5. Do you think things in California are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction? 30% right direction 61 wrong direction 8 don’t know 6. Turning to economic conditions in California, do you think that during the next 12 months we will have good times financially or bad times? 25% good times 67 bad times 8 don’t know 7. 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?) 50% yes, serious recession 32 yes, moderate recession 7 yes, mild recession 10 no 2 don’t know 8. Are you concerned that you or someone i n your family will lose their job in the next year, or not? ( if yes: Are you very concerned or somewhat concerned?) 30% yes, very concerned 19 yes, somewhat 42 no 8 have lost job already (volunteered) 1 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 28 9. On another topic, in general, how much would you say you know about how your state and local governments spend and raise money —a lot, some, very little, or nothing? 19% a lot 37 some 30 very little 10 nothing 3 don’t know 10. 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? 68% big problem 27 somewhat of a problem 2 not a problem 3 don’t know 11. Would you say that your local government services —such as those provided by city and county governments and public schools —have or have not been affected by recent state budget cuts? ( i f they have, ask: Have they been affected a lot or somewhat? ) 67% affected a lot 25 affected somewhat 6 not affected 2 don’t know 12. Overall, do you think the state and local tax system is in need of major changes, minor changes, or do you think it is fine the way it is? 62% major changes 24 minor changes 10 fine the way it is 4 don’t know 13. Would you favor or oppose a shift of some tax dollars and fees from the state government to local governments, in order for local governments to take on the responsibility of running certain programs curr ently run by the state? 61% favor 23 oppose 15 don’t know 14. If the state were to shift some tax dollars and fees to local governments, how confident are you that local governments would be able to take on the responsibilities of running certain progra ms currently run by the state? Are you very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident? 10% very confident 49 somewhat confident 24 not too confident 13 not at all confident 3 don’t know 15. As you may know, state funding is being provided to shift some of the lower -risk inmates from state prisons to county jails , to reduce prison overcrowding and lower state costs. How confident are you that your local government is able to take on this responsibility? Are you very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident? 8% very confident 40 somewhat confident 25 not too confident 22 not at all confident 5 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 29 [ rotate questions 16 to 19] 16. As you may know, voters passed Proposition 25 in 2010, a constitutional amendment that reduced the legislative vote requirement to pass a state budget from a two -thirds vote to a simple majority, or 50 percent plus one vote this year. Do you think it is a good idea or bad idea to lower the vote requirement to pass a state budget and state taxes from a two- thirds vote to a simple majority or 50 percent plus one vote? 45% good idea 44 bad idea 11 don’t know 17. The California legislature has operated under term limits since 1990, meaning that members of the state senate and state assembly are limited in the number of terms they can hold their elected office. Some people have proposed reducing the total amount of time a person may serve in the state leg islature from 14 years to 12 years and allowing a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the assembly, the senate, or a combination of both. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea? 62% good idea 26 bad idea 11 don’t know 18. There is a pr oposal to change the California legislature from full -time to part -time status. Do you think that having a part -time legislature is a good idea or a bad idea? 31% good idea 58 bad idea 11 don’t know 19. There is a proposal to change the California le gislature from 40 state senators and 80 assembly members to a single body of 120 members resulting in representatives serving smaller districts. Do you think that having a single body of 120 members in the legislature is a good idea or a bad idea? 43% goo d idea 38 bad idea 19 don’t know On another topic, California uses the direct initiative process, which enables voters to bypass the legislature and have issues put on the ballot —as state propositions —for voter approval or rejection. 20. Generally speaking, would you say you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or not satisfied with the way the initiative process is working in California today? 12% very satisfied 50 somewhat satisfied 30 not satisfied 7 don’t know 21. Overall, how much would you say that the initiative process in California today is controlled by special interests —a lot, some, or not at all? 54% a lot 34 some 6 not at all 6 don’t know Reforms have been suggested to address issues that arise in the initiative process. Please say whether you would favor or oppose each of the following reform proposals. [rotate questions 22 and 23] 22. How about a system of review and revision of proposed initiatives to try to avoid legal issues and drafting errors? 68% favor 19 oppose 14 don’t know 23. How about requiring initiatives which create new programs or reduce taxes to identify a specific f unding source? 73% favor 17 oppose 10 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 30 Next, [rotate questions 24 to 27] 24. Which of the following statements comes closest to your own view, even if neither is exactly right ? [rotate ] (1) The government should pass more laws that restric t the availability of abortion; [ or ] (2) the government should not interfere with a woman’s access to abortion. 28% should pass more laws 69 should not interfere with access 4 don’t know 25. Which of the following statements do you agree with more? [r otate ] (1) The penalty for first -degree murder should be the death penalty; [ or ] (2) the penalty for first -degree murder should be life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole. 39% death penalty 54 life imprisonment with no parole 7 don’t know 26. In general, do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not? 46% yes, legal 51 no, not legal 3 don’t know 27. Do you favor or oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married? 53% favor 42 oppose 5 don’t know 28. On another topic, overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Barack Obama is handling his job as president of the United States? 51% approve 43 disapprove 6 don’t know [rotate questions 29 and 30] 29. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Dianne Feinstein is handling her job as U.S. s enator? 46% approve 37 disapprove 17 don’t know 30. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way that Barbara Boxer is handling her job as U.S. s enator? 49% approve 38 disapprove 14 don’t know 31. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is handling its job? 27% approve 64 disapprove 9 don’t know 32. Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way your own representative to the U.S. House of Representatives in Congress is handling his or her job? 48% approve 37 disapprove 15 don’t know 33. Do you think things in the United States are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction? 30% right direction 65 wrong direction 5 d on’t know 34. Turning to economic conditions, do you think that during the next 12 months the United States will have good times financially or bad times? 29% good times 65 bad times 6 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 31 35. Next, since taking office, have Barack Obama’s economic policies made economic conditions better, worse, or not had an effect so far? 26% better 29 worse 40 no effect so far 2 too soon to tell (volunteered) 3 don’t know 36. Overall, do you think that [ rotate ] (1) Congress [ and ] (2) the Obama administration are doing more than enough, just enough, or not enough to help create jobs? 7% more than enough 21 just enough 67 not enough 5 don’t know 36a. Who do you trust more to make the right decisions about the nation’s economy: [rota te] (1) the Republicans in Congress [or ] (2) Barack Obama? 50% Barack Obama 31 Republicans in Congress 2 b oth (volunteered) 12 n either (volunteered) 6 don’t know 36b. [asked starting September 9] Recently, President Barack Obama announced his “American Jobs Act,” an economic plan which would include tax cuts for individuals, tax cuts and credits for businesses, an extension of unemployment benefits, and investments in government programs for infras tructure projects. This plan could cost about $450 billion and would be fully paid for as part of the p resident’s long-term deficit reduction plan. In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the p resident’s plan? 53% satisfied 37 dissatisfied 3 haven’t heard anything about the plan (volunteered) 7 don’t know 37. If you were setting priorities for the federal government these days, would you place [rotate] (1) a higher priority on spending to help the economy recover [or] (2) a higher priority o n reducing the budget deficit? 56% spending to help economy recover 39 reducing the budget deficit 5 don’t know 38. How serious a problem do you think the budget deficit is for the country right now — very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious or not at all serious? 68% very serious 24 somewhat serious 5 not too serious 2 not at all serious 1 don’t know 39. As you may know, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a bill that raises the federal government's debt ceiling through the year 2013 and makes major cuts in government spending over the next few years. Based on what you have read or heard, do you approve or disapprove of that bill? 52% approve 38 disapprove 11 don’t know As you may know, that bill created a bipartisan congr essional committee that is expected to produce a proposal to significantly reduce the federal budget deficit. Please tell me whether you think each of the following should or should not be included in that deficit reduction proposal. [rotate questions 40 and 41] 40. How about increases in taxes on businesses and higher -income Americans? 67% should 29 should not 4 don’t know PPIC Statewide Survey September 2011 Californians and Their Government 32 41. How about major changes to the Social Security and Medicare systems? 46% should 51 should not 3 don’t know Next, [rotate questions 42 and 43] 42. Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable impression of the Democratic Party? 47% favorable 42 unfavorable 12 don’t know 43. Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable impression of the Republican Party? 32% favorable 56 unfavorable 12 don’t know 44. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of the political movement known as the Tea Party? 24% favorable 52 unfavorable 23 don’t know 45. In your view, do the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequat e job representing the American people, or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed? 37% adequate job 51 third party is needed 12 don’t know 46 . Next, some people are registered to vote and others are not. Are you absolutely certain that you are registered to vote in Calif ornia? 66% yes [ask q 46a] 34 no [skip to q47 b] 46a. Are you registered as a Democrat, a Republican, another party, or are you registered as a decline -to -state or independent voter? 45% Democrat [ask q47] 31 Republican [skip to q47a] 4 another party (specify) [skip to q48] 20 independent [skip to q47b] 47. Would you call yourself a strong Democrat or not a very strong Democrat? 52% strong 46 not very strong 1 don’t know [skip to q48 ] 47a.Would you call yourself a strong Republican or not a very strong Republican? 47% strong 51 not very strong 2 don’t know [skip to q48 ] 47b.Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican Party or Democratic Party? 28% Republican Party 50 Democratic Party 19 n either (volunteered) 4 don’t know 48 . Next, would you consider yourself to be politically: [read list, rotate order top to bottom] 12% very liberal 22 somewhat liberal 28 mid d le-of -the -road 21 somewhat conservative 15 very conservative 3 don’t know 49 . Generally speaking, how much interest would you say you have in politics? 24% great deal 38 fair amount 30 only a little 8 none [d1–d16: demographic questions] PPIC STATEWIDE SURVEY ADVISORY COMMITTEE Ruben Barrales President and CEO San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Angela Blackwell Founder and CEO PolicyLink Paul Brest President The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Mollyann Brodie Senior Vice President Kaiser Family Foundation Bruce E. Cain Executive Director University of California Washington Center James E. Canales President The James Irvine Foundation Jon Cohen Director of Polling The Washington Post Russell Hancock President and CEO 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 CEO The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Monica Lozano Publisher and CEO La Opinión Donna Lucas Chief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs Lisa Pitney Vice President, Government Relations The Walt Disney Company Dan Rosenheim News Director KPIX -TV Robert K. Ross, M.D. President and CEO The California Endowment Most Reverend Jaime Soto Bishop of Sacramento Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento 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. PPIC BOARD OF DIRECTORS John E. Bryson, Chair Retired Chairman and CEO Edison International Mark Baldassare President and CEO Public Policy Institute of California Ruben Barrales President and CEO San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Marí a Blanco Vice President, Civic Engagement California Community Foundation Brigitte Bren CEO, International Strategic Planning, Inc. Gary K. Hart Former State Senator and Secretary of Education State of California Robert M. Hertzberg Partner Mayer Brown, LLP Walter B. Hewlett Director Center for Computer A ssisted Research in the Humanities Donna Lucas Chief Executive Officer Lucas Public Affairs David Mas Masumoto Author and farmer Steven A. Merksamer Senior Partner Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni , LLP Kim Polese Chairman, ClearStreet, Inc . Thomas C. Sutton Retired Chairman and CEO Pacific Life Insurance Company 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 operating foundation. 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 CEO of PPIC. John E. Bryson is Chair of the Board of Directors. 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 copyright notice below is included. Copyright © 201 1 Public Policy Institute of California All rights reserved. San Francisco, CA PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, California 94111 phone: 415.291.4400 fax: 415.291.4401 PPIC SACRAMENTO CENT ER 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 09:41:03" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(8) "s_911mbs" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:41:03" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 09:41:03" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["guid"]=> string(50) "http://148.62.4.17/wp-content/uploads/S_911MBS.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) }