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PPIC Releases Report on Californians' Overall Sentiment

by Terri Harel, published

A new Public Policy Institute of California survey was released this week. The report offers data on Californians' overall sentiment about the state, taking into account economics and politics in the region. The survey found Californians are generally optimistic about the economy, with 44 percent approving the direction in which the state is headed, a 30 point jump since its lowest point (14 percent) in July 2009. However, the state’s deficit remains a concern for Californians, with 68 percent rating it a “big problem.”

Overall, Californians support the governor and support spending reforms in the state. Interestingly, a majority of Californians, about 60 percent, still believes in the Proposition 13 1978 tax limitation on property to be beneficial to the state. However, some advocate for adjusting property taxes on commercial properties to generate additional revenue.

In 2010 California passed Proposition 14, which created a top-two primary system in California. Although the impacts of the reform will not be truly measurable for some election cycles to come, Californians see the passage of the initiative to be positive and progressive for the state.  The report highlights, "The 2012 elections were the first to use new voting districts drawn by a citizens’ commission and the top-two primary system. Majorities of Californians and likely voters say these reforms have had a positive effect."

Mark Baldassare, the president of PPIC, notes this is a great achievement for California’s confidence in its own political processes and decision-making.

“Most Californians are happy with the initiative process and the outcomes of the fiscal and governance changes that voters enacted at the ballot box—from Proposition 13 in 1978 to legislative redistricting, the top-two primary system, and Proposition 30 in November.”

While many Californians see more opportunities to improve the electoral system, such as by making “Yes” and “No” campaigns reveal their backers, they are generally happy with the way politics in California are handled.

The main premise of the study rests on how Californians perceive the state’s future. When asked, “Overall, do you think that in 2025 California will be a better place to live than it is now or a worse place to live than it is now or will there be no change?” 57 percent of Democrats, 23 percent of Republicans, and 43 percent of independents said they think California will be a better place to live in the future than it is now. And that's great news for California, because confidence fosters growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

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