PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Economic Well-Being – Public Policy Institute of California

July 26, 2022 · 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
August 16, 2022 · 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
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Mark Baldassare, Dean Bonner, Rachel Lawler, and Deja Thomas
Supported with funding from the James Irvine Foundation
While job conditions and economic circumstances have been recovering from the COVID-19 crisis over the past year, glaring disparities in economic well-being have taken center stage in policy discussions. Many lower-income Californians continue to struggle to make ends meet while higher-income Californians have seen their fortunes rise. Meanwhile, changes in federal leadership coupled with a large increase in state revenues have set the context for a renewed focus on expanding educational opportunities and safety net programs to improve the lives and future prospects of lower-income Californians.
These are among the key findings of a statewide survey on state and national issues that was conducted from October 12 to October 31 by the Public Policy Institute of California:
Economic optimism among Californians has rebounded since the early days of the pandemic: the share expressing optimism is similar to that of January 2020. However, fewer than half expect good economic times in the next 12 months. Majorities across income groups are pessimistic about the economy. Notably, majorities of Latinos (57%) and African Americans (54%) say good times are ahead, compared to about four in ten Asian Americans (43%) and whites (39%). Half of residents in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area are optimistic, while majorities in the Central Valley, the Inland Empire, and Orange/San Diego are pessimistic.
Most Californians say the availability of well-paying jobs is a problem in their part of the state, and 22 percent consider it a big problem. Residents in the Inland Empire and Orange/San Diego are slightly more likely to say this is a big problem than those in other regions. Californians in households making less than $20,000 a year are more likely than those making $80,000 or more to view the availability of well-paying jobs as a big problem. Overwhelming majorities across age, education, gender, and racial/ethnic groups view this as a problem. Notably, 26 percent of Californians say they have seriously considered moving from their part of the state because of the lack of well-paying jobs. Among those who have considered moving, most would leave the state rather than go somewhere else in California.
When asked about their personal finances, most Californians say they are doing about as well as they were a year ago, while one in six say they are worse off and about one in five say they are better off. Those making less than $20,000 per year are nearly three times more likely than those making $80,000 or more to say they are worse off (37% vs. 13%). College graduates are twice as likely as those with a high school diploma or less to say they are better off (29% vs. 14%). Majorities across regions and across age, education, gender, and racial/ethnic groups say they are doing about the same financially as last year.
When asked how difficult it would be to handle a $1,000 emergency expense, most Californians say that it would not be too difficult; however, there are differences across demographic groups. Californians in households with annual incomes under $40,000 are far less likely than those making $40,000 or more to say this expense would be not too difficult. Notably, about three in ten in the lowest-income households say this expense would be nearly impossible and another three in ten say it would be very difficult. Across racial/ethnic groups, whites and Asian Americans are much more likely to say this expense would be not too difficult. The share holding this view increases with rising educational attainment. Overall, most Californians (78%) are satisfied with their current financial situation, with 21 percent saying they are very satisfied. People of color, those with less formal education, and lower-income Californians are less likely to be very satisfied with their financial situation.
About one in five Californians report that they or someone in their household has cut back on food (21%), put off seeing a doctor or purchasing medicine to save money (18%), been unable to pay a monthly bill (17%), or had difficulty paying the rent or mortgage (17%) in the last 12 months. Results were similar last November, when many statewide restrictions were still in effect. Significant differences across income groups are present. More than one in four households earning less than $40,000 report these difficulties, compared to one in ten (or fewer) households making more than $80,000. Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos and African Americans are the most likely to report any of these issues. Renters are more likely than homeowners to report financial difficulties and the share experiencing these difficulties declines as age increases.
Sixteen percent of Californians say they or someone in their household has received food from a food bank in the past year, and 27 percent received unemployment benefits. These shares were similar last November. Lower-income Californians are the most likely to report receiving economic assistance or related services; the share receiving assistance is highest among households earning less than $20,000. Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos and African Americans are more likely than Asian Americans or whites to have received food from a food bank, while Latinos are somewhat more likely than those in other racial/ethnic groups to have received unemployment. Renters are much more likely than homeowners to say they have received assistance.
More than one in four Californians say they or someone in their household has had their work hours reduced or pay cut (28%) and about two in ten say someone has lost their job (19%) in the past 12 months, while nearly half (49%) have worked from home. The share of Californians who had pay or work hours cut was much higher last November amid COVID lockdowns (41%). Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos are the most likely to have experienced job loss or cuts to hours or pay, while Asian Americans are the most likely to have worked from home. Households with incomes of less than $80,000 are much more likely to have faced job loss or reductions in pay or hours. The share of Californians who report working from home is far higher among more-affluent households; it increases as education levels rise and declines with age.
Despite improved economic circumstances compared to last November, a substantial number of Californians continue to worry about their financial situation. About one in four worry every day or almost every day about saving for retirement (27%) and the cost of housing (25%); two in ten worry about the amount of debt they have (20%) and about health care costs for them and their family (19%). Similar shares reported these worries 12 months ago. Financial worries are more common in lower-income households, and about one in four or more Californians earning less than $20,000 worry about these financial issues every day or almost every day. The shares who worry frequently about these financial stressors vary across racial/ethnic groups. The share of adults who are worried about each of these issues decreases slightly as education levels rise. Renters are much more likely than homeowners to worry about the cost of housing, debt, and saving for retirement.
About two in ten Californians (19%) worry every day or almost every day about paying their bills, and 14% worry about job loss. Similar shares had these financial worries last November. Regionally, concern about paying bills is highest in the Inland Empire and lowest in the San Francisco Bay Area, while worries about job loss are highest in Los Angeles and lowest in Orange/San Diego. Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos are the most likely to be worried about job loss, while African Americans and Latinos are the most likely to worry about paying bills; whites are the least likely to be worried about either of these issues. Californians earning less than $20,000 are the most likely to worry: 44% worry every day or almost every day about paying bills and 27% worry about job loss. Concern about job loss and paying bills declines as education levels rise.
When asked about job satisfaction, 37 percent of employed adults are very satisfied and 53 percent are somewhat satisfied, while 10 percent say they are not satisfied with their current job. Satisfaction has increased since last November, when 82 percent of employed adults expressed satisfaction compared to 90 percent today. Asian Americans are less likely than other racial/ethnic groups to say they are very satisfied with their current job. Across income groups, the share saying they are very satisfied is highest among those making $80,000 or more.
Six in ten employed Californians say their jobs offer opportunities for growth, and about half (51%) say they are provided with educational or training assistance. Similar shares of men and women say they have opportunities for growth and advancement at work and are offered educational/training assistance. African Americans are somewhat more likely than any other racial/ethnic group to say their jobs provide opportunities for growth or educational/training assistance. The shares saying their jobs offer either of these increase with rising educational attainment and income. Employed adults with an income of less than $20,000 are the least likely across all demographic groups to say their current job offers either of these benefits.
About eight in ten adults completely (43%) or somewhat (38%) agree with the idea that it is important for workers to organize so that employers do not take advantage of them, and a similar share agree at least somewhat with the idea that voting gives people like them a say in what the government does (39% completely, 42% somewhat). There is agreement among partisan groups on both issues.
When asked about policy proposals to address the cost of higher education, nearly two in three Californians (65% adults, 60% likely voters) support a government policy to make college tuition free at both public two-year and four-year colleges, and about six in ten Californians (60% adults, 55% likely voters) support a government policy that would eliminate college debt. Democrats and independents largely support these policies, while majorities of Republicans oppose both. Across racial/ethnic groups, whites are the least likely to support these policies, though nearly half are in favor. Support is lowest among college graduates, those 55 and older, and those with incomes of $80,000 or more.
About seven in ten adults (72%) and likely voters (71%) are in favor of expanding eligibility for and payments of the earned income tax credit for lower-income working families and individuals. When asked whether they support increasing government funding so that childcare programs are available for more lower-income working parents, overwhelming majorities of adults (76%) and likely voters (74%) are in favor. Overwhelming majorities of Democrats and independents support increased funding for childcare programs and the expansion of earned income tax credits; about six in ten Republicans oppose both. While about two in three whites support both of these policies, they are the least likely to hold this view across racial/ethnic groups. Solid majorities across income groups favor these policies, but support is lowest among those making $80,000 or more.
Eight in ten adults (81%) and likely voters (82%) are in favor of increasing government funding for job training programs and about three in four (77% adults, 74% likely voters) support government offering a health insurance plan, similar to Medicare, that Americans can choose to purchase instead of private insurance. Majorities across partisan groups agree on increasing funding for job training programs, but there is a wide partisan divide on government-funded health care.
This map highlights the five geographic regions for which we present results; these regions account for approximately 90 percent of the state population. Residents of other geographic areas (in gray) are included in the results reported for all adults, registered voters, and likely voters, but sample sizes for these less-populous areas are not large enough to report separately.

The PPIC Statewide Survey is directed by Mark Baldassare, president and CEO and survey director at the Public Policy Institute of California. Coauthors of this report include associate survey director and research fellow Dean Bonner, who was project manager for this survey, and survey analysts Rachel Lawler and Deja Thomas. The Californians and Their Economic Well-Being survey is supported with funding from the James Irvine Foundation. The PPIC Statewide Survey invites input, comments, and suggestions from policy and public opinion experts and from its own advisory committee, but survey methods, questions, and content are determined solely by PPIC’s survey team.
Findings in this report are based on a survey of 2,292 California adult residents. The median time to complete the survey was 16 minutes. Interviews were conducted from October 12–31, 2021.
The survey was conducted by Ipsos, using its online KnowledgePanel, in English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified or traditional), Vietnamese, and Korean according to respondents’ preferences. We chose these languages because Spanish is the dominant language among non-English-speaking adults in California, followed in prevalence by the three Asian languages. KnowledgePanel members are recruited through probability-based sampling and include both those with internet access and those without. KnowledgePanel provides internet access for those who do not have it and, if needed, a device to access the internet when they join the panel. KnowledgePanel members are primarily recruited using address based sampling (ABS) methodology, which improves population coverage, particularly for hard-to-reach populations such as young adults and minority groups. ABS-recruited Latinos are supplemented with a dual-frame random digit dialing (RDD) sampling methodology that targets telephone exchanges associated with areas with a higher concentration of Latinos to provide the capability to conduct representative online surveys with Latinos, including those who speak only Spanish. KnowledgePanel’s recruitment was originally based on a national RDD frame and switched to the primarily ABS-based methodology in 2009. KnowledgePanel includes households with landlines and cell phones, including those with cellphones only and those without phones. ABS allows probability-based sampling of addresses from the US Postal Service’s Delivery Sequence File (DSF). The DSF-based sampling frame used for address selection is enhanced with a series of refinements—such as the appendage of various ancillary data to each address from commercial and government data sources—to facilitate complex stratification plans. Taking advantage of such refinements, quarterly samples are selected using a stratified sampling methodology that aims to retain the representativeness of the panel. KnowledgePanel recruits new panel members throughout the year to offset panel attrition.
To qualify for the survey, a panel member must be age 18 or older and reside in California. A general population sample of Californians was selected using Ipsos’s PPS (probability proportional to size) sampling procedure to select study-specific samples. Briefly, to select such samples, the panel is first weighted to population benchmarks and those panel weights are used as the measure of size for a PPS sample selection that yields a fully representative sample. An oversample of panelists with household income under $40,000 augmented the general population sample. A total of 2,369 respondents completed the survey out of 5,782 panelists who were sampled, for a response rate of 48 percent. To ensure the highest data quality, we flagged respondents who sped through the survey, which we defined as completing the survey in one fourth of the overall median time (less than 4 minutes). We also flagged respondents if their self-reported age or gender did not match the data stored in their profile. A total of 77 cases were removed after this review process, resulting in 2,292 total qualified and valid cases.
Accent on Languages, Inc., translated new survey questions into Spanish, with assistance from Renatta DeFever. Ipsos translated all survey questions into Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.
Ipsos uses the US Census Bureau’s 2015–2019 American Community Survey’s (ACS) Public Use Microdata Series for California (with regional coding information from the University of Minnesota’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series for California) to compare certain demographic characteristics of the survey sample—region, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education—with the characteristics of California’s adult population. The survey sample was closely comparable to the ACS figures. We also used voter registration data from the California Secretary of State to compare the party registration of registered voters in our sample to party registration statewide. The sample of Californians is first weighted using an initial sampling or base weight that corrects for any differences in the probability of selecting various segments of the KnowledgePanel sample. This base weight is further adjusted using an iterative proportional fitting (raking) procedure that aligns sample demographics to population benchmarks from the 2015–2019 ACS data as well as party registration benchmarks from the California Secretary of State’s voter registration file.
The sampling error, taking design effects from weighting into consideration, is ±3.2 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for the total unweighted sample of 2,292 adults. This means that 95 times out of 100, the results will be within 3.2 percentage points of what they would be if all adults in California were interviewed. The sampling error for unweighted subgroups is larger: for the 1,929 registered voters, the sampling error is ±3.5 percent; for the 1,543 likely voters, it is ±3.9 percent. The sampling error for the oversample of 1,027 lower-income Californians is ±5 percent. Sampling error is only one type of error to which surveys are subject. Results may also be affected by factors such as question wording, question order, and survey timing.
We present results for five geographic regions, accounting for approximately 90 percent of the state population. “Central Valley” includes Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo, and Yuba Counties. “San Francisco Bay Area” includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma Counties. “Los Angeles” refers to Los Angeles County, “Inland Empire” refers to Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, and “Orange/San Diego” refers to Orange and San Diego Counties. Residents of other geographic areas are included in the results reported for all adults, registered voters, and likely voters, but sample sizes for these less-populous areas are not large enough to report separately.
We present results for non-Hispanic whites, who account for 42 percent of the state’s adult population, and also for Latinos, who account for about a third of the state’s adult population and constitute one of the fastest-growing voter groups. We also present results for non-Hispanic Asian Americans, who make up about 15 percent of the state’s adult population, and non-Hispanic African Americans, who comprise about 6 percent. Results for other racial/ethnic groups—such as Native Americans—are included in the results reported for all adults, registered voters, and likely voters, but sample sizes are not large enough for separate analysis. Results for African American and Asian American likely voters are combined with those of other racial/ethnic groups because sample sizes for African American and Asian American likely voters are too small for separate analysis. We compare the opinions of those who report they are registered Democrats, registered Republicans, and decline-to-state or independent voters; the results for those who say they are registered to vote in other parties are not large enough for separate analysis. We also analyze the responses of likely voters—so designated per their responses to survey questions about voter registration, previous election participation, intentions to vote this year, attention to election news, and current interest in politics.
Sample sizes and margins of error for each subgroup are presented in the table below.
The percentages presented in the report tables and in the questionnaire may not add to 100 due to rounding.
We compare current PPIC Statewide Survey results to those in our earlier online surveys. Numerous questions were adapted from the Public Religion Research Institute’s (PRRI) California Workers Survey dated August 2018 and national surveys by the Pew Research Center. Additional details about our methodology can be found at www.ppic.org/wp-content/uploads/SurveyMethodology.pdf and are available upon request through [email protected]

October 12–October 31, 2021
2,292 California adult residents
English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Vietnamese, and Korean
Margin of error ±3.2% at 95% confidence level for total sample
Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Newsom is handling the issues of jobs and the economy?
61% approve
38% disapprove
1% don’t know
1a. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Newsom is handling the state’s kindergarten through 12th grade public education system?
60% approve
38% disapprove
2% don’t know
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling the issue of jobs and the economy?
56% approve
43% disapprove
1% don’t know
3. How much of the time can you trust the state government to do what is right when it comes to handling the issue of jobs and the economy? [rotate order top to bottom]
7% just about always
43% most of the time
49% only some of the time
– don’t know
4. Turning to economic conditions in California, do you think that during the next 12 months we will have good times financially or bad times?
47% good times
52% bad times
1% don’t know
5. Looking ahead, in California will we have mostly good times during the next five years or will we have mostly periods of widespread unemployment or depression?
47% good times
52% periods of depression or unemployment
1% don’t know
6. How much of a problem is the availability of well-paying jobs in your part of California today? Is it a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem?
22% big problem
57% somewhat of a problem
21% not a problem
– don’t know
7. Does the lack of well-paying jobs make you and your family seriously consider moving away from the part of California you live in now? (if yes, ask: “Are you considering moving elsewhere in California or outside of the state?”)
5% yes, seriously considered moving to another part of California
21% yes, seriously considered moving outside of California
74% no, have not seriously considered moving
– don’t know
8. Now thinking about your own personal finances, would you say you and your family are financially better off, worse off, or just about the same as you were a year ago?
20% better off
18% worse off
62% about the same
– don’t know
9. Now looking ahead, do you think a year from now that you and your family will be better off, worse off, or just about the same as now?
29% better off
15% worse off
56% about the same
– don’t know

10. How would you describe your household’s financial situation today? Would you say you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or not satisfied with your situation?
21% very satisfied
57% somewhat satisfied
22% not satisfied
– don’t know
11. Suppose that you have an emergency expense that costs $1,000. Based on your current financial situation, how difficult would it be for you to pay this expense? [rotate response top to bottom]
62% not too difficult
22% somewhat difficult
10% very difficult
7% nearly impossible
– don’t know 
12. On another topic, do you think the American Dream—that if you work hard you’ll get ahead—still holds true, never held true, or once held true but does not anymore?
37% still holds true
16% never held true
47% once held true but does not anymore
– don’t know
13. Do you think the American Dream is easier to achieve in California than elsewhere in the US or harder to achieve?
13% easier to achieve
57% harder to achieve
30% about the same
1% don’t know
14. When children today in California grow up, do you think they will be better off or worse off financially than their parents?
36% better off
63% worse off
1% don’t know
15. Do you think the gap between the rich and the poor in your part of California is getting larger, getting smaller, or has it stayed the same?
69% getting larger
6% getting smaller
25% stayed the same
1% don’t know
16. Looking ahead to the year 2030, do you think the gap between the rich and the poor in your part of California will be larger, be smaller, or will be the same?
64% be larger
10% be smaller
25% will be the same
2% don’t know
Now, please indicate whether you or anyone in your household has done or experienced any of the following in the last 12 months…
[rotate questions 17 to 28]

17. Been laid off or lost their job?
9% yes, happened to me
7% yes, happened to someone in my household
3% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
81% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
18. Had work hours reduced or pay cut?
13% yes, happened to me
10% yes, happened to someone in my household
5% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
71% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
19. Put off seeing a doctor or purchasing medication for financial reasons?
10% yes, happened to me
5% yes, happened to someone in my household
3% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
82% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
20. Was not able to pay a monthly bill?
10% yes, happened to me
4% yes, happened to someone in my household
3% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
83% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
21. Received food stamps?
9% yes, happened to me
5% yes, happened to someone in my household
2% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
84% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
22. Reduced meals or cut back on food to save money?
12% yes, happened to me
2% yes, happened to someone in my household
7% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
79% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
23. Received unemployment benefits?
12% yes, happened to me
11% yes, happened to someone in my household
4% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
73% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
24. Received food from a food bank or pantry?
9% yes, happened to me
4% yes, happened to someone in my household
3% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
84% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
25. Worked from home?
25% yes, happened to me
15% yes, happened to someone in my household
9% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
51% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
26. Had difficulty paying rent or mortgage?
9% yes, happened to me
4% yes, happened to someone in my household
4% yes, happened to me and someone in my household
84% did not happen to anyone in my household
– don’t know
Next, how often, if ever, do you worry about each of the following?
[rotate questions 27 to 34]

27. You or someone in your family losing their job?
8% every day
6% almost every day
32% sometimes
25% rarely
29% never
– don’t know
28. The cost of health care for you and your family?
10% every day
9% almost every day
37% sometimes
19% rarely
25% never
– don’t know 
29. The cost of housing for you and your family?
13% every day
12% almost every day
32% sometimes
17% rarely
26% never
– don’t know
30. Paying your bills?
9% every day
10% almost every day
27% sometimes
24% rarely
29% never
– don’t know
31. [parents of children 18 or younger only] The cost of childcare?
9% every day
10% almost every day
23% sometimes
15% rarely
44% never
– don’t know
32. The amount of debt you have?
11% every day
9% almost every day
27% sometimes
23% rarely
31% never
– don’t know
33. [parents of children 18 or younger only] Being able to save enough for your children’s college education?
16% every day
15% almost every day
38% sometimes
16% rarely
15% never
– don’t know 
34. Being able to save enough for your retirement?
15% every day
12% almost every day
38% sometimes
14% rarely
20% never
1% don’t know
35. [employed adults only] Overall, would you say you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or not satisfied with your job?
37% very satisfied
53% somewhat satisfied
10% not satisfied
– don’t know
Please answer yes or no about each of the following in regards to your current job…
[rotate questions 36 to 41]

36. [employed adults only] Would you say that you have stable and predictable pay at work?
86% yes
14% no
– don’t know

37. [employed adults only] Would you say that you have stable and predictable hours at work?
81% yes
19% no
– don’t know

38. [employed adults only] Would you say that your job offers opportunities for growth and advancement?
60% yes
40% no
– don’t know

39. [employed adults only] Would you say that your employer cares about your health and safety at work as it relates to COVID-19?
85% yes
15% no
– don’t know

40. [employed adults only] Would you say that you can voice your concerns at work without fear of negative consequences?
74% yes
26% no
– don’t know

41. [employed adults only] Would you say that the decisions made at work take into account your views and concerns?
61% yes
39% no
– don’t know
42. [employed adults only] Which describes your current employment or work situation?
61% working outside the home [skip to q44]
22% working from home/remotely [ask q43]
15% mix of some work from home, and some outside home/at workplace [ask q43]
2% something else [skip to q44]
– don’t know
43. [those working remotely some or all of the time only] Did you start working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns?
73% yes
27% no
– don’t know
44. [employed adults only] If you had the choice, for the next year, would you prefer to:
42% work outside the home/at your workplace full-time
24% work from home or remotely full time
33% mix some days working remotely, some days at the workplace
– don’t know

45. [parents of children 18 and under only] In the past year, did you or another adult in your household leave your job or change your work schedule in order to take care of your children, or not?
17% yes, happened to me [ask q45a]
7% yes, happened to someone in my household [ask q45a]
6% yes, happened to me and someone in my household [ask q45a]
70% did not happen to anyone in my household [skip to q46]
– don’t know
45a. [parents/household members have had to leave a job or change their work schedule only] Did you/that person stop working either temporarily or permanently cut back on hours, change your/their work schedule, or something else?
15% stopped working permanently
15% stopped working temporarily
17% cut back on hours
16% changed work schedule
14% work from home
7% changed jobs
17% something else
– don’t know

45b. [parents/household members have had to leave a job or change their work schedule only] Have you/has that person returned to working the hours you/they worked before this change, or are you/they still not working or working fewer hours?
32% returned to work or previous hours
33% have not returned to work or previous hours
12% work from home
10% changed job
12% something else
1% don’t know
Has this employment change had a major impact, minor impact, or no impact on:
[rotate questions 45c, 45d, 45e]

45c. [parents/household members have had to leave a job or change their work schedule only] Your family’s finances?
41% major impact
39% minor impact
20% no impact
– don’t know
45d. [parents/household members have had to leave a job or change their work schedule only] Your level of stress?
47% major impact
38% minor impact
14% no impact
– don’t know
45e. [parents/household members have had to leave a job or change their work schedule only] Your mental health?
37% major impact
40% minor impact
23% no impact
– don’t know
46. [employed adults only] Next, does your workplace offer a membership in or affiliation with a union, occupation association, worker center, or other type of group that represents workers?
28% yes
72% no
– don’t know
46a. [employed adults only] Are you or is anyone in your immediate family a member of a labor union? (If yes, ask: “Is that person you or someone else in your family?”)
15% yes, myself
11% yes, another person in my family
3% yes, myself and another person in my family
71% no
– don’t know
And thinking about the benefits offered at your current job…
47. [employed adults only] Does your current job provide health coverage?
75% yes
25% no
– don’t know
48. [employed adults only] Does your current job provide paid sick leave?
80% yes
20% no
– don’t know
49. [employed adults only] Does your current job provide retirement savings?
70% yes
30% no
– don’t know

50. [employed adults only] Does your current job provide educational or training assistance?
51% yes
49% no
– don’t know
Next, please read these two statements and say if you completely agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or completely disagree with each one.
[rotate questions 51 and 52]

51. It is important for workers to organize so that employers do not take advantage of them.
43% completely agree
38% somewhat agree
14% somewhat disagree
5% completely disagree
– don’t know
52. Voting gives people like me some say in what the government does.
39% completely agree
42% somewhat agree
11% somewhat disagree
8% completely disagree
– don’t know

On another topic,

Do you favor or oppose each of these policies that could improve the economic wellbeing of Californians?
[rotate questions 53 to 59]

53. Do you favor or oppose a government policy to make college tuition free at both public two-year and four-year colleges?
65% favor
35% oppose
– don’t know
54. Would you favor or oppose a government policy to eliminate college debt?
60% favor
40% oppose
– don’t know
55. Do you favor or oppose increasing government funding so that child care programs are available for more lower-income working parents?
76% favor
24% oppose
– don’t know
56. Do you favor or oppose increasing government funding or job training programs so that more workers have the skills they need for today’s jobs?
81% favor
19% oppose
– don’t know
57. Would you favor or oppose the government offering a health insurance plan, similar to Medicare, that Americans can choose to purchase instead of private insurance?
77% favor
23% oppose
– don’t know

58.
Do you favor or oppose the government expanding the eligibility and payments of the earned income tax credit for lower-income working families and individuals?
72% favor
28% oppose
– don’t know
59. Would you favor or oppose the federal government providing a guaranteed income, sometimes called a “Universal Basic Income,” of about $1,000 a month for all adult citizens, whether or not they work?
48% favor
52% oppose
– don’t know

59a. In recent months, how much, if at all, has your work life been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak?
19% a lot
26% some
21% just a little
33% not at all
– don’t know
On another topic,
60. How big of a problem is racism in the US today? Is it a big problem, somewhat of a problem, a small problem, or not a problem at all?
46% big problem
34% somewhat of a problem
12% small problem
7% not a problem at all
– don’t know
61. Was there a time in the last twelve months when you felt you were treated unfairly at your place of work because of your racial or ethnic background?
9% yes
91% no
– don’t know
62. How much do you think that racial and ethnic discrimination contributes to economic inequality in this country?
34% a great deal
36% a fair amount
21% not too much
9% not at all
1% don’t know
On another topic,

63. How much of a problem is the threat of wildfires in your part of California? Is it a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not much of a problem?
51% big problem
36% somewhat of a problem
13% not much of a problem
– don’t know
64. How serious is the threat of wildfires in your part of California to your personal and economic wellbeing—very serious, somewhat serious, or not too serious?
25% very serious
41% somewhat serious
34% not too serious
– don’t know
65. How much confidence do you have in the government in terms of its readiness to respond to wildfires in your part of California—a great deal, only some, or hardly any confidence?
34% a great deal
49% only some
17% hardly any confidence
– don’t know
Thinking about the process of recalling elected officials in California…

66. [likely voters only] At this time, how much would you say that you know about how the recall process works in California – a lot, some, very little, or nothing?
29% a lot
52% some
16% very little
16% nothing
3% don’t know
And please tell me if you would support or oppose the following ideas to change the way the recall process works in California.
67. [likely voters only] Currently, a statewide official can be recalled for any or no reason. Would you support or oppose changing this so that an elected official could only be recalled because of illegal or unethical activity?
64% support
36% oppose
– don’t know


68. [likely voters only] Currently, to qualify a recall for a statewide ballot, recall supporters need to gather enough signatures from registered voters to equal 12 percent of the total votes cast in the previous election for that office. For the special election to recall Governor Newsom, this number was about 1.5 million signatures. Would you support or oppose raising this requirement to 25 percent of the total votes cast in the previous election?
64% support
36% oppose
– don’t know
69. [likely voters only] Generally speaking, and regardless of how you felt about the recall election, do you think the recall election process in California needs major changes, minor changes, or is it basically fine the way it is?
50% major changes
28% minor changes
21% basically fine the way it is
1% don’t know
70. [likely voters only] Generally speaking, and regardless of how you felt about the recall election, do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing that the California constitution provides a way to recall the state’s elected officials, such as the Governor?
86% good thing
14% bad thing
– don’t know
71. [likely voters only] Currently, the winner of the second part of a recall ballot could get under 50 percent of the vote. Would you support or oppose changing the law so that if no candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote, there would be a runoff election between the top two candidates?
72% support
27% oppose
1% don’t know
72. [likely voters only] According to the state Department of Finance, the special election to recall Governor Newsom cost an estimated $276 million. Which of the following statements comes closest to your view:
79% this election was a waste of money
20% this election was worth the cost
– don’t know
72a. [likely voters only] Do you favor or oppose creating a bipartisan commission on improving the recall process that would hold public hearings and make recommendations for a state proposition on the November 2022 election ballot?
70% favor
29% oppose
1% don’t know
73. Some people are registered to vote and others are not. Are you absolutely certain that you are registered to vote in California?
77% yes
23% no
73a. Are you registered as a Democrat, a Republican, another party, or are you registered as a decline-to-state or independent voter?
46% Democrat [ask q74]
24% Republican [skip to q74a]
2% another party (specify) [skip to q75]
27% decline-to-state/independent [skip to 74b]
74. Would you call yourself a strong Democrat or not a very strong Democrat?
51% strong
49% not very strong
– don’t know

[skip to q75]

74a. Would you call yourself a strong Republican or not a very strong Republican?
56% strong
44% not very strong
-% don’t know

[skip to q75]

74b. Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican Party or Democratic Party?
33% Republican Party
63% Democratic Party
3% neither (volunteered)
1% don’t know
75. Would you consider yourself to be politically: [read list, rotate order top to bottom]
11% very liberal
20% somewhat liberal
42% middle-of-the-road
19% somewhat conservative
7% very conservative
1% don’t know
76. Generally speaking, how much interest would you say you have in politics—a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or none?
16% great deal
36% fair amount
34% only a little
13% none
– don’t know
[d1-d15 demograpic questions]
Mark Baldassare is president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California, where he holds the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Public Policy. He is a leading expert on public opinion and survey methodology, and has directed the PPIC Statewide Survey since 1998. He is an authority on elections, voter behavior, and political and fiscal reform, authoring ten books and numerous reports on these topics. He often provides testimony before legislative committees and state commissions, and regularly hosts PPIC’s Speaker Series, a public forum featuring in-depth interviews with state and national leaders. Previously, he served as PPIC’s director of research. Before joining PPIC, he was a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of California, Irvine, where he held the Johnson Chair in Civic Governance. He has conducted surveys for the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the California Business Roundtable. He holds a PhD in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dean Bonner is associate survey director and research fellow at PPIC, where he coauthors the PPIC Statewide Survey—a large-scale public opinion project designed to develop an in-depth profile of the social, economic, and political attitudes at work in California elections and policymaking. He has expertise in public opinion and survey research, political attitudes and participation, and voting behavior. Before joining PPIC, he taught political science at Tulane University and was a research associate at the University of New Orleans Survey Research Center. He holds a PhD and MA in political science from the University of New Orleans.
Rachel Lawler is a survey analyst at the Public Policy Institute of California, where she works with the statewide survey team. Prior to joining PPIC, she was a client manager in Kantar Millward Brown’s Dublin, Ireland office. In that role, she led and contributed to a variety of quantitative and qualitative studies for both government and corporate clients. She holds an MA in American politics and foreign policy from the University College Dublin and a BA in political science from Chapman University.
Deja Thomas is a survey analyst at the Public Policy Institute of California, where she works with the statewide survey team. Prior to joining PPIC, she was a research assistant with the social and demographic trends team at the Pew Research Center. In that role, she contributed to a variety of national quantitative and qualitative survey studies. She holds a BA in psychology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
This survey was supported with funding from the James Irvine Foundation.
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Dean and Professor
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President and CEO
Public Policy Institute of California
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Author and Farmer
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