The most recent survey from the Public Policy Institute of California demonstrates just how different the Golden State is from the rest of the country on some of the most important issues that define who we are, from health care and climate change to immigration and income equality.
The results underscore how marginalized the Republican Party has become and why Democrats have won every constitutional office in California, majorities in both houses of the Legislature and control of the Congressional delegation and both seats in the U.S. Senate.
Gone are the days when a Republican – at least one who espouses GOP national and state party ideology – can capture the hearts, minds and support of California voters.
This is why Republican voter registration has dropped to 28.1% compared to 43.3% for the Democrats and 23.3% Decline to State. But it’s worse for the GOP, according to the PPIC poll: Asked who they are closer to, 48% of Californians say the Democrats and just 26% say the Republicans.
Here are some reasons why (quoting from PPIC):
Health Care About half of Californians (52%) have a generally favorable opinion of the health reform law (42% generally unfavorable). In a national Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 41% had a favorable view. The PPIC survey also asks Californians how concerned they are about being able to afford necessary health care when a family gets sick. A strong majority are at least somewhat concerned (51% very concerned, 23% somewhat).
Climate Change Most Californians (60%) say global warming will be a very serious problem for the U.S. if nothing is done to reduce it, compared to 44 percent of adults nationwide in a recent New York Times/Stanford/RFF poll. Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos (75%) are most likely to see global warming as very serious, followed by blacks (70%), Asians (58%), and whites (46%). Adults age 55 and older (47%) are less likely than younger Californians to view global warming as a serious problem (65% age 18 to 34, 66% age 35 to 54).
Immigration A strong majority of Californians (70%) support the president’s order protecting up to 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. A December ABC News/Washington Post poll showed support at 52% nationally. Across all regions and demographic groups, an overwhelming majority of Californians (80%) support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements.
Income inequality Asked about the gap between rich and poor, 72% of Californians say it is growing—similar to their national counterparts in the January CBS News poll (69% getting larger). However, Californians (61%) are slightly more likely than adults nationwide (55%) to say the government should do more about it. California’s likely voters (80%) are more likely than state residents overall to say the income gap is growing—but less likely (51%) to say that government should do more to reduce it.
Other polling in California also has found from 60% to 80% support for abortion rights, gay marriage, restriction and regulation of fracking and legalization of marijuana, to name just a few more issues on which voters here lean leftward from other parts of the country.
The impact of these kinds of views? Consider one: No pro-life (anti-choice) candidate has won at the top of the ticket in a statewide race in California since George H.W. Bush beat the feckless Michael Dukakis for president in 1988. That’s 27 years ago! — before a substantial portion (maybe 15% or so) of California voters were even born.
Some of these views – like abortion rights and a pathway to citizenship – are so deeply ingrained in voters’ consciousness that they pre-determine whether a voter can or will even hear what a candidate might have to say on other “more important” issues like the economy, jobs, health care, education, law and order and defense.
Republicans who hope to attract Latino voters – and that does not include the majority of member of Congress who are more afraid of redneck backlash than they are of Latino dissatisfaction – should take note of the partisan breakdown from PPIC on pathway to citizenship.
It’s not only favored by 85% of Democrats and 77% of independents, but by 66% of Republicans in California as well. Oh, and 90% of Latinos.
Si usted puede.