New Golden State Poll: Jerry Brown top choice for California voters, but Californians remain unsure about the state’s economy

Thursday, June 5, 2014

On May 28, the Hoover Institution released the results from its third Golden State Poll. As with the previous two samplings from September and December 2013, this survey polled one thousand Californians on economic confidence issues as well as political and policy topics.

Among the findings, Governor Brown leads the open primary with 36 percent, with California assemblyman Tim Donnelly at 12 percent and businessman Neel Kashkari at 5 percent. On the new open primary system, 25 percent of registered voters say the open primary will lead to progress on important issues facing the state versus 45 percent who said it will not.

With the state having a projected budget surplus for the first time in many years, 20 percent of Californians prioritize taxpayer refunds, 14 percent, K–12 education, 13 percent, responding to future water shortages, and 12 percent, a rainy-day fund.

Voter are split on the reason behind the recent string of corruption in the state Senate: 29 percent name a culture of corruption in the Legislature, with 28 percent blaming the amount of money in politics and 27 percent thinking it is a lack of character among the lawmakers.

Marijuana legalization is popular, with 50 percent supporting such legalization and 40 percent opposing it. The top priorities on how to spend the additional revenue from taxing marijuana are K–12 and higher education (31 percent) and law enforcement, prisons, and public safety (23 percent).

Compared to the previous surveys, Californians have not changed their views on the economic recovery. As seen in September and December, twice as many Californians say they are worse off financially than a year ago. A plurality (46 percent) remain unsure of their ability to pay higher taxes while meeting other expenses, similar to previous surveys.

For more detailed analyses of the poll results, see the Defining Ideas article "California’s Primary Dilemma" by Hoover research fellow Carson Bruno.

  • Visit Hoover’s California blog Eureka for an overview of the survey’s findings.
  • To explore the poll directly, click here for the numbers and figures.
  • Read the press release relating to the third Golden State Poll from Business Wire.

The press releases of the previous surveys can be found here and here; more information about the September and December polls can be found here and here.