The fact is, California is really not as liberal as the politicians it continues to elect. According to a little reported March, 2015 poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California (“PPIC”), a respected bi-partisan organization, an eye-popping plurality of 35% of Californians consider themselves to be “conservative”, while 34% consider themselves to be “liberal”, and 30% identify themselves as “middle-of-the-road.”
Looked at another way, a huge majority of 65% of Californians identify themselves as center or right!
Respected public opinion polls conducted by organizations like PPIC, USC/Los Angeles Times, and The Field Organization reveal a markedly more politically diverse, moderate and even conservative outlook of the populace than reflected by the cast of characters California routinely now elects to office. Actual voter sentiment on many issues is in some cases startlingly different from the actions of its elected leaders. It is these opinions of Californians themselves that give hope for reforming the state. It is not such an extreme statement to make in saying that just as the personal views of the East German people themselves were not reflected by their own distant and abusive communist government before these citizens tore down the Berlin Wall, it is these voter sentiments in California that serve as the reason for me not giving up on the state, and in urging my conservative and Republican friends to stick around and join the fight! Voters are actually with us on many issues.
For example, other important findings in the PPIC poll conflict with the policies California’s elected leaders in control seek to impose. While Sacramento politicians still introduce new tax increase measures by the dozen, 62% of voters think the tax burden is already near the top or above average compared to other states; 57% think they are paying more taxes than they should be; 78% think that the state and local tax system should be changed and of that 47% favor major changes; 81% oppose raising the state gasoline tax; and 74% oppose increasing vehicle registration fees.
A Field poll confirms PPIC’s findings, and shows again that 76% of Californian’s think the gasoline tax is too high, while just 4% think the state’s gas taxes are lower than those in other states.
Though voters accepted Governor Jerry Brown’s arguments in November, 2012, to “temporarily” raise taxes to record levels, 56% of Californians today either oppose the taxes or are against making them permanent.
After years of liberals trying to lay the blame on the Proposition 13 tax cut, a recent poll showed 58% of Californians today still support Proposition 13.
The contrast today in voter attitudes and the philosophies of the people Californians elect could not be starker than in the case of voter sentiment in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline is favored by Congressional Republicans, but opposed by environmentalists and President Obama, and both of California’s liberal U.S. Senators, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, who voted against it. While the majority of Californians approve of the job Obama, Boxer and Feinstein are doing, 54% favor building the pipeline. And though Feinstein and Boxer are indeed popular, when voters were askedwhether the state would be better off if California’s two U.S. Senators who have served for 22 years continued to run for re-election or if new candidates should become senators, nearly 60% voters said the state would be better off with new candidates, as opposed to 29% who said California would be better off if the long-serving senators continued to run. And 48% of voters said they felt “strongly” that the state would be better off with new candidates, according to the poll.
So take heart my conservative and Republican friends in California. You are not alone and we have plenty to work with to reform this state!
~James V. Lacy