Hoover Poll: CA wants growth, not green programs or rail

Hoover Poll: CA wants growth, not green programs or rail

Golden Gate BridgeGov. Jerry Brown just won a resounding re-election victory. But his new budget released last week for Fiscal Year 2015-16, which begins on July 1, is out of sync with Californians on some important issues, according to the Hoover Institution’s new Golden State Poll. It questioned people between Dec. 9 and Jan. 4.

The poll’s findings are consistent no matter political party, income or education level, race, gender, ideology or interest in following the news.

The overwhelming voice of California likely voters seeks:

  • Economic growth: 72 percent
  • Solving the state’s drought and other water problems: 69 percent
  • Improving jobs: 66 percent
  • Balancing the state budget: 61 percent

Much lower down on the list are some of Brown’s top priorities:

  • Dealing with the environment: 32 percent
  • Global warming: 26 percent
  • Making public pensions sound: 26 percent
  • Strengthening gun laws: 26 percent
  • Continuing the state’s high-speed rail project: 16 percent

(See table below for a full list.)

Brown’s budget proposal runs against the grain of public opinion by:

  • Spending $532 million of the new $7.5 billion Water Bond from Proposition 1 that will do nothing directly to deal with drought (poll respondents had a 69 percent priority to deal with the drought).
  • Moving ahead with the bullet-train project (only 16 percent priority) with $250 million of funding from the California Air Resources Board’s cap-and-trade tax on industries and public utilities (only 26 percent priority).
  • Doing nothing to reduce the state’s $15 billion duplicative and ineffective energy efficiency and renewable energy programs per the California Legislative Office report of December 19, 2012 (only 40 percent priority).
  • Funding a school facilities bond that caters to special interests (54 percent priority against special-interest funding).
  • Including $1.4 billion for teacher pension funding (only 34 percent priority).


High responses (65 percent or higher) and low responses (35 percent or lower) are both strong indicators of what Californians want to be emphasized in the state budget and other policies. Conversely, modest responses (40 to 60 percent) are not strong indicators one way or another.

Viewed in that frame, the Hoover Poll indicates Californians want economic growth, jobs and a concrete solution to the state’s perpetual drought problems.

Conversely, they consider it a low priority to make pensions sound, reduce income inequality, protect the environment, deal with global warming or proceed with the high-speed rail. In fact, the rail project received the lowest priority of all by far: just 16 percent.

That means 84 percent of Californians are not enthusiastic about the project. Yet Brown has branded rail opponents “dystopians and declinists.”

Californians have modest and equivocal responses to improving roads, K-12 education, reforming the tax system, reducing crime, dealing with energy problems, helping the needy and reducing Medi-Cal costs.

One anomaly is over public pensions. Despite low public awareness, this is a $500 billion problem that just can’t go away. Even the bankrupt cities of Vallejo, San Bernardino and Stockton have been forced to fund pensions above all other priorities. Doing so has brought both large budget cuts to essential services and tax increases.

Legislature unlikely to rectify budget priorities

The voters’ voice is clear from the Hoover poll: Californians want economic growth, private sector jobs and a real solution to the drought problem.

However, it is unlikely the Legislature is going to rectify the budget to be more in line with voters’ priorities given that only 34 percent of those polled by Hoover had any trust in state government.

A mismatch between voter desires and government action is a recipe for political dysfunction.

Top Priorities for California’s State Government – Most Likely Voters

Question: In his State of the State speech, Governor Brown will talk about what he thinks should be priorities for California’s state government in 2015. Thinking about the issues facing California, what do you think should be a top priority, important but lower priority, not too important or should not be done?
Percent saying each is a “top priority” Total
Strengthening the state’s economy 72%
Dealing with the state’s water problems 69%
Improving the job situation 66%
Balancing the state’s budget 61%
Reducing influence of special interests on state government 54%
Dealing with the issue of illegal immigration 49%
Improving state’s roads, bridges and public transportation 47%
Improving the K-12 education system 46%
Reforming the state’s tax system 45%
Reducing crime 44%
Dealing with state’s energy problems 40%
Helping the poor and needy people 37%
Reducing the costs for Medi-Cal program 36%
Make public employee pensions fiscally sound 34%
Protecting the environment 32%
Reducing income inequality 29%
Reforming the state’s pension system 26%
Dealing with global warming 26%
Strengthening gun laws 26%
Continuing the state’s high speed rail project 16%
Data Source: Hoover Institution Golden State Poll, Dec. 9, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015



Write a comment
  1. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 15 January, 2015, 14:39


    Most cannot read, analyze or are informed about most anything doomers think make for a civilized society.

    Hoover Poll is Right and Field Poll is Left…. Accept the assertion these polls are crap!

    And Desi…..try prunes from Costco…..be a regular happy caver.

    Reply this comment
  2. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 16 January, 2015, 09:28

    UU, do you have anything resembling a life, or do you just lurk here trolling the comments section while chewing your prunes? As usual, your comments are semi literate and grammatically challenged. How hard was it for you to get that GED anyway?

    Reply this comment
    • eck
      eck 16 January, 2015, 19:01

      Hey, knock off the ad-hominem stuff. It makes you look like a troll. Stick to rational comments/criticisms/rebuttals, please. Show some class!

      Reply this comment
  3. Matt
    Matt 16 January, 2015, 09:30

    It would be interesting to see where the poll on”hoover Gloden State” was taken. it sounds like someone went inland and asked people of Bakersfield or Riverside what they thought and they forgot the opinion of people living on coastal areas

    Reply this comment
  4. eck
    eck 16 January, 2015, 18:58

    Matt, lay off the hooch. The moderator doesn’t. You appear as an drunken idiot – I think you’re not. But I do think you’re one of the “coastal” arrogant elitists. For your information, the poll was statewide.

    Reply this comment
  5. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 18 January, 2015, 15:03

    Eck. Two businees degrees, one MBA. One major east coast university and other major west coast university. Taught University nineteen years- real estate.

    Survivors don’t need grammar stuff out here to make it. No one can read and write much. A disadvantage to be stuffee and puff yourself up.

    There is gold in the gutters here. Just got to adapt your dredge regularly, run specials, look poor, serve your clients well, live day at a time, drive junk cars……the illiterate next door.

    Sorry I dissapoint you Bro!

    Reply this comment
    • eck
      eck 19 January, 2015, 18:18

      I wasn’t addressing you above, but your respondent(?) I’ve no reason to believe you’re a “troll”.

      Reply this comment

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