There appears to be a big partisan divide in California when it comes to how we feel about some of the top issues facing the state.
The latest Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll asked voters their opinions about a wide range of topics, including — housing, homelessness, the environment, gas prices, taxes and high-speed rail.
Director of the Berkeley IGS Poll, Mark DiCamillo, spoke with CapRadio host Randol White about what Californians are most concerned about this year.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
On if the poll shows a growing partisan divide
Oh, no question about it.
Voters on a whole host of issues are in a kind of a hyper-partisan mode. They view the world through their own partisan lens, and you can clearly see that when we ask voters to select which issues they consider most important for the state to now address.
On what people across the political spectrum seem to find most important
Right at the top of the list for Democrats are three issues — housing affordability, homelessness and climate change. Between a quarter and a third of all Democrats selected that as one of the top two issues that they want the state to address.
Republicans offer a different array of issues, with the top issue being crime [at] 39%, almost four out of 10 Republicans. Then gas prices 28%, and then taxes 26%, and immigration, actually 27%.
So all four of those get more than a quarter. And as I say, crime is getting the most attention among Republican voters.
As is true on many issues, no party preference voters more closely align with the total overall electorate. So their top issues are housing affordability, homelessness and then comes crime and gas prices, which are the same top issues that the overall electorate says.
So as soon as you kind of step away from partisanship, you pretty much look at what the mainstream voter in California is thinking.
On voters' opinions on high-speed rail
When we asked voters whether the state should continue with its current plans to have operations of high-speed rail only from Bakersfield to Merced in the Central Valley by the year 2030 and then on to the Bay Area by the year 2033, voters actually are supportive of that.
And it's mostly coming from Democrats and no party preference voters. Republicans are there-to-one opposed, but the overall electorate 56% [are] in favor, 35% oppose. We just read the current plans to the state, and voters accept that as a worthy goal.
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