Majority of Californians Think Nation Is Headed in Wrong Direction: Survey

Majority of Californians Think Nation Is Headed in Wrong Direction: Survey

A man dresses in a clown-like portrayal of President Joe Biden in San Ysidro, Calif., on Feb. 3, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

2/29/2024

Updated: 3/5/2024

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With a primary election next week and a presidential election less than nine months away, 75 percent of Californians feel the nation is on the wrong track, according to a recently released survey by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.
Similar sentiment existed during the Great Recession in 2008 and arose again in October 2022 and has persisted since, researchers noted in the report.
Republicans are even more pessimistic, with 90 percent saying the country is misguided, compared to 85 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats. Younger generations are also more inclined to hold pessimistic views, the survey found.
Looking into the future, 63 percent of those surveyed said they expect financial problems to arise in the United States over the next year, though Democrats were split at 48 percent on the issue.
Support for President Joe Biden reached a record low of 42 percent for this survey, with 56 percent disapproving of his performance. Two-thirds of Democrats still support the president. The numbers were lower for independents and Republicans, at 37 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Among racial demographics, African Americans offered the most support at 62 percent and Latinos the least at 37 percent.
While 12 percent of respondents said they had a great deal of confidence the president would make the right decisions for the country, 35 percent said they were not confident.
Participants of a convoy protesting U.S. border policies pray together in San Ysidro, Calif., on Feb. 3, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Participants of a convoy protesting U.S. border policies pray together in San Ysidro, Calif., on Feb. 3, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Approval of Congress also reached the lowest level recorded in 10 years for this surveyor, at 19 percent, with similar findings across demographics, parties, and regions, according to the report. Independents are the most skeptical, with 11 percent in favor of the national legislative branch of government, while 20 percent of Democrats and 16 percent of Republicans approve.
Highlighting Congress’s recent track record, researchers said such could be responsible for the poor approval rating.
“Relatively few laws have been passed, putting this Congress on course to be the least productive in decades,” the authors wrote in the report.
Considering whether Congress will work effectively with the president to accomplish goals over the next year, 72 percent said they will fail to reach common ground.
Additionally, 60 percent of respondents said they are dissatisfied with democratic functions in the United States, with 70 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats expressing concern. Such opinions are spread across ages, income levels, genders, and regions in the state.
Border issues are of primary importance to most of those surveyed, though the reasons for concern differ by party line and demographics—with Democrats and Latinos focused on the lives and well-being of illegal immigrants while Republicans said the border problem is a matter of national security.
“Our latest [survey] found that for Californians immigration is also top of mind and one of the main issues for the governor and [Legislature] to work on in 2024,” the institute wrote on X on Feb. 27.
Citing a “surge” of approximately 250,000 illegal immigrants encountered at the border in December 2023, researchers noted in the report an increase in asylum claims in recent years as migrants from different countries attempted to cross the U.S.–Mexico border.
About 40 percent of Californians held that the situation is a crisis, though two-thirds said they believe the problems are related to how illegal immigrants are treated and the speed at which they are admitted. About one-third said they believe the nation should focus on blocking illegal immigration. Most Democrats and independents feel efficiency is the problem, while 65 percent of Republicans say a porous border is.
Participants in a convoy protest U.S. border policies in rural Yuma, Ariz., on Feb. 3, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Participants in a convoy protest U.S. border policies in rural Yuma, Ariz., on Feb. 3, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Citing national security issues, 97 percent of Republicans say the problem is a crisis or very serious problem, while 40 percent of independents and about one in three Democrats said they felt the same.
“A solid majority still think immigrants are a benefit to the state because of their hard work and job skills,” researchers wrote in the report.
Support for funding Ukraine’s war efforts is changing, with about a quarter of those surveyed saying they feel too much money is being provided. About three in 10 said they are unsure.
“Notably, the share saying the US is providing the right amount of support has declined,” researchers wrote in the report.
Regarding the war in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, about half of the participants strongly support a ceasefire, and 60 percent are in favor of ending the conflict. Majorities exist across regions and demographics, though Republicans are split in the middle on the issue.
About 40 percent of those surveyed said the United States should decrease military aid to Israel. Democrats and independents are more in favor of cutting such funds, while Republicans prefer maintaining or increasing financial support.
Slightly more than one-quarter of respondents favored increasing humanitarian aid to Palestinians, with distinct partisan variations. Democrats favor sending more money, independents were split in their views, while Republicans suggest funds should be cut.
More than 1,600 adults were questioned by the independent group via phone and online interviews between Feb. 6 and Feb. 13, with an estimated 3.3 percentage margin of error.
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Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

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Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

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