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BLOG: Desperation sets in among California voters

published on June 20, 2022 – 11:17
Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.

The cost of living is the primary lens through which voters view public policy in California. It may not come as much of a surprise, but this finding from a recent California Chamber of Commerce survey confirms that people are tired of seeing the quality of life decline.

Two thirds of voters believe the country is on the wrong track, while a majority feels the same about the Golden State. Optimism has turned into pessimism and the key factor is the cost of living.

Two-thirds of voters said inflation, gas prices and other expenses were extremely important among the issues facing California. Other issues of serious concern to voters include:

Drought/forest fires (63%)

Roaming (54%)

Housing (51%)

Crime/public safety (49%)

The poll — the eighth biannual online poll of 1,040 likely voters conducted May 20-23 — paints a picture of desperation.

Anxieties abound. Some 86% of voters agree that “earning enough income to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle is becoming nearly impossible in my part of California.” Another 58% think the economy will be worse in a year. Crime increased (77%) and homelessness worsened (78%)

When it comes to solutions, voters are leaning towards common sense. On homelessness, 81% agree with Governor Newsom’s CARE Tribunal proposal to provide mandatory services to homeless people with mental illness or disability. When it comes to drought, voters back any solution at hand, with particular support for fast-tracking approval for desalination plants and off-stream storage reservoirs.

In the face of inflation, voters are clear what they want to do with the budget surplus – two-thirds think expanding state water supplies is important and a clear majority thinks much of the surplus should return to taxpayers.