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Voters positive about state, but party, location are factors

California's Highway 1 in Marin County. (Photo: Constantine Kulikovsky)

Californians are taking a more positive view of the direction of the state than then did four years ago when near record proportions (80%) felt the state was seriously off on the wrong track.

Currently, slightly more voters believe the state is moving in the right direction (43%) as feel it is off on the wrong track (41%). For a complete description of the poll’s results and methodology, click here.

Similar to voter appraisals of the direction of the state, there are big differences in opinions about the Legislature by region and partisan affiliation.

However, views about California’s overall direction vary considerably depending on where a voter lives and his or her party registration. Voters living in the state’s coastal counties and registered Democrats hold a much more positive assessment than do voters living in the state’s interior or those registered as Republicans.

Voter appraisals of the job performance of the state Legislature follow a similar pattern. In 2010 just 14% of voters on average approved of the job the legislature was doing, while 76% disapproved.

Opinions have rebounded since then, although they remain slightly more negative (42%) than positive (34%).

Similar to voter appraisals of the direction of the state, there are big differences in opinions about the legislature by region and partisan affiliation, with coastal county voters and registered Democrats viewing the legislature more positively than inland county voters and Republicans.

These are the findings of the latest Field Poll completed in late August among a representative sample of the state’s registered voters.

In recent surveys Californians have been reporting a more positive view of the direction of the state since the near record lows observed four years ago. At present, slightly more voters believe the state in moving in the right direction (43%) than feel it is off on the wrong track (41%). This contrasts dramatically with voter appraisals in 2010, when 80% felt the state was seriously off on the wrong track and just 13% thought it was moving in the right direction.

However, views about California’s overall direction vary considerably across the state depending on where a voter lives and party registration. For example, voters living in the state’s coastal counties are much more positive about California’s overall direction than are voters living in its inland counties. Coastal county voters, who comprise more than seven in ten of all registered voters in the state, believe the state is moving in the right direction by a 47% to 37% margin. By contrast, inland county voters believe the state is seriously off on the wrong track 51% to 34%.

There are even larger differences between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are more than two-to-one positive in their appraisals of the direction of the state (58% to 26%). This compares to a more than three-to-one negative appraisal among the state’s registered Republicans (21% right direction vs. 66% wrong track). The views of those with no party preference lie about mid-way between the two partisan extremes.

Over the past four years voters have also moderated the previous harsh view they had of the job performance of the state legislature. In 2010 the average voter appraisal of the legislature was 76% disapproving and just 14% approving. Now, just 42% of voters disapprove, while 34% approve. A sizeable 24% do not offer an opinion of the legislature in the current survey.

Similar to voter appraisals regarding the direction of the state, there are big differences in opinions about the legislature by region and partisan affiliation.

Voters living in the state’s coastal counties are about evenly divided in their assessments, with 38% approving the legislature’s job performance and 40% disapproving. Those living in inland counties offer a much less positive assessment, with 46% disapproving and just 27% approving. And, while registered Democrats approve of the legislature’s performance 48% to 31%, more than four times as many Republicans disapprove (62%) as approve (14%). Non-partisan voters have a more divided view, with about as many approving (35%) as disapproving (38%).

Ed’s Note: The survey was completed August 14-28, 2014 among 1,280 California registered voters. . Findings based on the random subsample of registered voters have a maximum sampling error of+/-4.0 percentage points.

 


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