News

Survey: Special interests rule Capitol

Two-thirds of likely voters believe California’s Capitol is ruled by a handful of powerful special interests, while only a fourth believe government is run for the benefit of all the people,  according to a survey by the Public Policy Institute of California.

PPIC’s report also noted that despite a recent string of scandals that has tarnished the Senate, the public’s perception of lawmakers has remained constant.

“In this context, the recent unprecedented suspension of three Democratic state senators has had little to no effect on legislative approval ratings and party perceptions,” said PPIC President Mark Baldassare.

“A strong majority says state government is pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves (68%), while just 24 percent say it is run for the benefit of all the people. This level of distrust is high, but it is about the same as it was in December (76% can trust government some or none of the time, 71% government run by a few big interests). A slim majority of likely voters (53%) say the state government wastes a lot of taxpayer money, a slight decline since December, when 60 percent of likely voters held this view,” PPIC said in releasing the report.

Just over a third of likely voters — 36 percent — say they approve of the way legislators are handling their job, about the same as in January, which was 33 percent. A year ago, the approval level stood at 29 percent.

The lowest approval rating for the California Legislature was in September 2010, when it was 10 percent. The highest, 40 percent, was in 2002.

The survey of 1,702 people found that a majority, 61 percent, said government can be trusted to do what is right only some of the time, while about 11 percent said the government can be trusted none of the time. A small minority, 3 percent, said government can be trusted all of the time, while a about fourth of those surveyed said they trust government “most of the time.”

Two-thirds of those surveyed said the severity of the drought is hitting home, and “they are following news about it closely,” while 59 percent said water supply in their area was “a big problem.”

Meanwhile, a slim majority of likely voters (53%) say the state government wastes a lot of taxpayer money, a slight decline since December, when 60 percent of likely voters held this view,” PPIC said in releasing the report.

“In this context, the recent unprecedented suspension of three Democratic state senators has had little to no effect on legislative approval ratings and party perceptions,” said PPIC President Mark Baldassare.

On other topics, the survey reported:

–Most likely voters, about 57 percent, would rather use the projected state budget surplus to pay down debt and build up the reserve than restore some funding for social service programs that were cut in recent years.

–Gov. Jerry Brown, up for reelection this year, has a 54 percent approval rating among likely voters, and about a third — 35 percent — disapprove and 11 percent have no opinion. His approval rating is down from the 60 percent high he reached in January.

–Brown also leads contenders in the primary, with 48 percent saying they would vote for him. Some 15 percent said they would vote for Republican Tim Connelly and 10 percent said they supported Republican Neel Kashkari.

–Two-thirds of those surveyed said the severity of the drought is hitting home, and “they are following news about it closely,” while 59 percent said water supply in their area was “a big problem.”

–About six out every 10 surveyed said they believed global warming poses a serious threat, while 35 percent said it did not.

–Some 30 percent favor the increased use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in oil production, while 54 percent said they were opposed.


Ed’s Note: The PPIC Statewide Survey was based on a telephone survey of 1,702 California adult residents interviewed on landlines and cell phones from May 8–15. Interviews were conducted in English or Spanish, according to respondents’ preferences. The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is plus-or-minus 3.6 percent for all adults and plus-or-minus  4 percent for the 1,360 registered voters.

 


  • gimmemymoney

    “government is run for the benefit of all the people”… This is definitely Peter Pan thinking… There is NO way that government can be for ALL the people… By its very nature, government will benefit one group at the expense of another…

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