Outsiders Love Bashing California but Residents are Souring on the State, Too

Traffic moves along the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles on Nov. 22, 2022. (Photo by Jae C. Hong, AP Photo)
By Dan Walters | CalMatters Commentary

As Republican presidential candidates were slogging through Iowa and talking to voters prior to this week’s caucuses, California-bashing was common.

Los Angeles Times reporter Seema Mehta picked up on the phenomenon, writing that “the Golden State, its elected leaders and its policies were a constant target.”

“Bashing California, one of the most liberal states in the nation, is a grand tradition in the GOP,” Mehta observed. “But Republican presidential candidates may be targeting the state and its politicians more this cycle because they are a better target than President Biden.”

“Biden isn’t as motivating a villain as other Democrats might be. So the Republican candidates are essentially running a negative campaign against California,” California politics scholar Dan Schnur told Mehta. “The very worst thing Ron DeSantis could think of to say about Nikki Haley during the debate was that she might be more liberal than (Gov.) Gavin Newsom. For an Iowa Republican – or any Republican for that matter – that’s an absolutely terrifying concept.”

California may be the state that many in the rest of the nation loves to hate, but a new poll of Californians indicates that they aren’t very sanguine about the state, either.

The UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that just 33% of California voters believe the state is headed in the right direction while 57% say it’s on a negative track.

“This is a somewhat more negative assessment than voters have given in similar measures conducted over the past 11 years,” poll director Mark DiCamillo said.

The sour attitudes extend to Newsom, the poll found. Asked about his job performance, 47% of voters surveyed disapprove and 46% approve. That’s a very slight improvement from the 49% to 46% ratio that pollsters found in October.

“However, similar to the October survey, twice as many voters say they strongly disapprove of the governor’s performance (33%) as strongly approve (17%),” DiCamillo noted.

The poll introduced a new topic – the whopping budget deficit that Newsom and the Legislature must address this year – and discovered that nearly 90% of voters consider it a serious issue and there’s almost no support (13%) for raising taxes to deal with it. Instead, voters prefer that Newsom and legislators cut spending (51%) or tap into state reserves (35%) to cover the deficit, which Newsom pegs at $38 billion but the Legislature’s budget analyst estimates to be $68 billion.

Newsom also has shunned raising taxes, but progressive legislators, with support from groups dependent upon the state budget, such as public employee unions, have continued to press for higher personal and corporate income taxes and/or a new tax on wealth.

It appears that by cutting or postponing some spending, using reserves, borrowing from special funds and implementing some accounting gimmicks, the governor and the Legislature could fashion a 2024-25 budget without new taxes.

However, Newsom’s budget advisors and those of the Legislature also agree that California faces continued multibillion-dollar deficits for the next several years, at least, which means the debate over spending cuts and taxes will continue for the remainder of Newsom’s governorship.

“The survey suggests little appetite for tax increases to address the deficit, but a challenge for Governor Newsom and the Legislature is that while spending cuts, in principle, are relatively popular, that support would likely dissipate when it comes time to making cuts to specific programs and services,” the co-director of the poll, Eric Schickler said.

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more stories by Dan Walters, go to Commentary.


Written by CalMatters

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics. (Articles are published in partnership with edhat.com)

What do you think?


0 Comments deleted by Administrator

Leave a Review or Comment


      • If somehow Gav were elected president and he tried to Californicate the country, I believe that more than half the states would decide not to participate and with the majority of the military coming from those states there would not be a damn thing he could do about it.

        • Garfish – so, if a progressive democrat is elected, rather than help the poor, house the homeless, encourage diversity/inclusion, etc, and all the other things Newsom tries to do, you think half the country would declare a civil war and kill other Americans to stop those horrible things from happening? Man, what a bleak view on our country. Sadly, I think you’re right though. So much absolute hate of anything deemed “progressive,” people would rather kill fellow countrymen than make an effort to civilize our country.

              • Sac – I do think that unfortunately Newsom presidency would result in the closes thing to succession since 1860.

                I don’t know what that would look like (the new “Texas and California vs the Fed” Civil War movie coming out sure is an interesting premise) but I think a lot of other states would simply not participate on a national level at that point.

                I don’t really see where anon is coming from, since if his approval is falling in his own state and other states don’t like him his once promising chance at a presidency is rapidly diminishing.

                I personally don’t like a lot of his politics but his persona is what I look for in a president. Strong willed, articulate and competent in his agenda.

                If only a younger, smarter and more personable centrist ram and people could put aside the “my party” mentality at the polls, America could truly be great (Donald didn’t do it)

                • SBSTONER – “his persona is what I look for in a president. Strong willed, articulate and competent in his agenda.” – I absolutely agree.

                  While he may be too progressive for most (me included at times), I think our country would be better off with someone with his passion, youth and empathy.

                  It is sad though, that so many would rather engage in a civil war or flat out refuse to adhere to things like DEI, helping the homeless, insuring undocumented workers, spending more on public education, etc.

                  I mean, specifically, what do people find so outright offensive about things like that?

                  • Helping the Homeless means building mental institutions where these people can be sheltered, given the medications needed and are clean and well cared for by professionals. If they have to be forced into these facilities than that is what has to be done. of course YOU will say that is ‘hateful’ I spent Christmas day with my wife, giving out $5 bills to people on State St , who OBVIOUSLY could not help themselves. unlike some, I can differentiate the hustlers and con men from the truly insane. It is called street smarts and it comes with experience . Some people just go around expousing methane instead of actually doing something.
                    NOT being left on the streets to die because they have a ‘Right to be hwrever they choose. They cannot make these decisions on their own. Would you let a 5 year old child on the street. As for the drug addicts that do not want to get rehabilitated, they are a problem that HAVE to be dealt with by law enforcement. They cannot be left on the street harrasing families and causing the failure of local business. They are engaged in criminal behavior and need to be arrested. These progressive new engagements are a dismal failure. We need to go back to what worked in the past. Basic common sense policing that protects society first and foremost

                    • CHALF – so all homeless belong in mental institutions? How informed of you.

                      And no, I don’t think it’s “hateful” to force the homeless into mental institutions, I think it’s “unconstitutional” and “Anti-American.”

          • House the homeless and help the poor….LOL Yes. Newsom is the man for the job. That is why CA has half the homeless in the country. DEI is dead! If you apply for a job or to go to a ivy league school, no one cares your color and now its illegal to base hiring and admission on race. THAT is true equality. You get in on merit! Hardwork and sacrifice which leads to excellency. NOT mediocrity which DEI does. DEI is racism. Asian born with higher grades were being left out for others less deserving grades wise. THAT is racism. No one cares what you are. That is a color blind society. Equality yes, equity for the sake of diversity NO! That is communism.

            • “DEI is racism.” – Yeah, before I studied history in high school I used to think like that as well.

              Slavery, systemic racism, centuries of oppression against LGBQT people, etc aren’t important to people who don’t understand history. I get it, CHALF, it’s soooooo much easier to just hate and be ignorant.

              Funny how all the “bootstrappers” are also the most lazy people in the country.

              • My friend, I didn’t read any hate into what Chalf wrote. It sounded to me like a passionate defense of color-blindness. You may not agree with him on whether or not we should collectively advocate for DEI, but to describe his post as “hate” is a real stretch.

                • IFORONE – you’ve clearly never read any of his/her other comments. Those are were I get the facts needed to conclude he/she is very hateful. And really? A “defense of color-blindness?” LOL come on.

                  Ignoring the fact that not everyone is coming from an equal playing field and that historical oppression has affected the ability of many to succeed, even today, is not “color blind,” it’s ignorant.

                  CHALF’s repeated insults and hate against others is well documented here. But by all means, please continue to defend his or her noble “defense” of ignorance and racism.

                  • You’re correct that I am not familiar with Chalf’s comment history. He may have made hateful comments in the past. But this is an example where having a long memory is destructive to constructive conversations. It’s better to assume our fellow citizens are arguing in good faith and only react to the immediate post. I’ll do that for you.

                    So, I sincerely did not see anything in his previous comment that was racist or hateful. It’s possible that it’s ignorant, certainly. But confounding racism and ignorance is a sure-fire way to obstruct education.

                    • CHALF – no, I think comments like calling Gazans “bottom feeders” and homeless people the “lower rungs of humanity” and calling DEI initiatives “racist” are hateful comments.

                      I disagree with many here all the time, and don’t refer to them as hateful. Only you and those who actually evidence your hate for those who are born differently than you.

            • CHALF – where did I tell anyone here not to laugh at something? You’re delusional and not even from our town. Why are you trolling a local news site of a town other than yours? Just go away with your weird hateful shit.

              • Hateful? . First what we should find humorous. Now who should be commenting. Is this a public forum, or SACJON personal opinion page? Now your the arbitor of who should be commenting on this site. ? I should go back and write in some local paper of my own. Who is the hateful person?
                Your problem is you have been expousing your view points unopposed and hate being challenged. This is NOT your forum. It is the publics. As for the term, bottom feeders, I use that term for Violent drug addicts, like those harassing families on State Street. NOT for the mentally ill homeless. I said you Always take the side of those types and NEVER show any compassion or empathy toward the locals who pay huge taxes, or the poor store owners who sometimes put their life savings into starting a business. Only to have some continually fight for the right of some unfortunate to sleep and deficate in their doorway. How many vacant stores on State Street does it take. Further more, it is NOT unconstitutional to remove vagrants from living on sidewalks. Where did you come up with that one? Unpatriotic? To demand our Government insures a safe, secure and clean environment is the very essence a governments purpose.
                As for my being a local. You should have more respect for the tourist that visit your city frequently and help with the taxes. Especially ones who love your city and hate seeing State Street deteriorating over the last 10 years.
                I give you the floor my friend. I have shined a light on your opinions and I shall let the readers come to their own conclusions. Hopefully. people like yourself will be moved out of the way of making ‘State Street Great Again’…..and it is OK , you can all laugh….LOL

  1. Yes, Dan Walters hit the nail on the head yet again. Thanks to Edhat for covering Calmatters. California is toast for a variety of reasons, not to mention $68 billion in the red. Unlike DC they can’t print more money. Folks, businesses, tax base all leaving in droves, why? 1) Public Sector unions, driving up costs and unfunded pension liabilities through the roof, 2) Trial Lawyers, driving costs due to litigation and frivolous lawsuits, 3) Environmental mandates by way of CEQA driving up costs related to building and development and 4) Illegal Immigration driving up cost for everything involving education, healthcare and criminal justice. Yes, that’s right, one party rule has screwed the pooch and the Dem’s are like a bunch of drunk sailors wanting more of our money for their social justice nonsense! Newsome is a disaster and comes from a lagacy of grifters! His dad, Newsome senior, was a bagman for J. Paul Getty back in the day!
    And yes, Steve Garvey for US Senate!

  2. “But Republican presidential candidates may be targeting the state and its politicians more this cycle because they are a better target than President Biden.” What? There is no better person to target in this political cycle than Biden. Biden is responsible for all that is wrong in America today. Has anyone seen Biden walk and talk at the same time? CA is simply a byproduct created by those that support Biden’s policies.

  3. “The UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that just 33% of California voters believe the state is headed in the right direction while 57% say it’s on a negative track.”

    And yet the majority still keep voting for the same politicians that put us on that “negative track.”

  4. This post is not actually about “left or right politics”… It’s about failed policies that don’t get corrected once everyone KNOWS they are Failed Policies and to add to the negative equation, MORE policies are written and passed which are bound to FAIL. The problem lays with the fact that Sacramento no longer has “Checks and Balances”… I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but these policies and making a California a State where a majority of the population is dependent on the State / Government subsidies is not the path to success… Look at Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba and other similar run governments… WAKE UP people!

California Investing in EV Charging Reliability Statewide with $63 Million in Federal Funding

Possible Overdose in Parking Lot Behind Downtown Santa Barbara Library