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Californians Unite Behind These 3 Things They Say Are Wrong with the State

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Republicans, Democrats, and Independents agree in a recent poll that economic conditions, homelessness, and housing costs are the biggest threats the state faces. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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A December poll finds that Californians — regardless of party affiliation — agree that economic conditions, homelessness, and housing are the biggest issues plaguing the state.

The poll from the Public Policy Institute of California surveyed adults across the state.

When surveyors asked what issues were the most important, 31% of the respondents said the economy and inflation, 15% said housing costs and affordability, 14% listed homelessness, 8% crime, and 6% environmental issues.

Those issues have Republicans and Democrats alike thinking the state is headed in the wrong direction.

Many Californians More Afraid to Make Purchases Compared to 2023

Two-thirds of Californians say they expect bad economic conditions for 2024, the poll stated. But a smaller majority feel confident about their own personal fiscal situation. About 54% think they’ll be about the same financially in the next six months.

But that doesn’t translate to a confidence to spend their money.

Californians agree by a large majority (74%) they feel less comfortable making a large purchase than they did six months ago. Republicans felt it the most with 83% agreeing with that statement. Seventy-seven percent of independents agreed as did 64% of Democrats.

Even household purchases had respondents scared, with 66% saying they feel less comfortable making general purchases than they did six months ago. That sentiment traverses all income levels. Sixty percent of those making $80,000 or more felt uncomfortable making household purchases.

Democrats and Republicans Agree Homeless Need Help

Californians generally agree that homelessness is at least somewhat of a problem throughout the state. Democrats largely feel a variety of reasons lies at the cause of homelessness, almost evenly spread among substance abuse (78%), lack of affordable housing (76%), lack of mental health services (72%), and lost or reduced income (66%).

Republicans largely attribute substance abuse as the cause of the problem, at 87%. A majority of Republicans say that lack of affordable housing (55%), mental health services (50%), and lost income (52%) play a role in homelessness.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike favor policies helping people experiencing homelessness.

A majority of individuals from each political leaning could get behind the idea of providing short-term financial help, converting office space to housing, and building tiny homes.

Three-Fourths of Californians Want Policy Fix for Affordability

More than 75% of adults feel housing affordability is a “big problem” in the state. Only 17% of people say the cost of housing has put only a bit of a strain on their budgets. But more than a third say it places a big strain on their budgets.

That issue has about three-fourths of Californians saying the state needs more policies making homebuying or renting more affordable.

A strong majority of Democrats agree on the need for helpful homebuying policies (85%) as well as policies around rental units (83%).

Republicans don’t agree as much, with 57% supporting homebuying policies and 51% supporting policies around rentals.

Independents fall in the middle, with 72% saying the state needs more homebuying policies and 73% saying rental policies need to be instituted.

Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.