Poll responses show Californians believe living standard worse

The Associated Press
Tuesday May 22, 2001

Not since the mid-’90s have more Californians believed the state is headed in the wrong direction. 

And it may get worse. Nearly 60 percent of state residents expect the economy to worsen in the next year, while about 40 percent see a brighter horizon, according to a new poll. 

The telephone survey of 2,001 adult Californians was done over eight days in early May by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. The poll was conducted in English and Spanish. 

The twin culprits were the souring economy and the electricity crisis. 

“Californians clearly see the electricity crisis as a harbinger of other growth-related problems,” said Mark Baldassare, the research institute’s survey director. “This crisis and general economic uncertainty have severely undermined public confidence in California’s future and in its leaders.” 

Change has come swiftly. 

In January, 62 percent of state residents said California was headed in the right direction, compared to 48 percent this month. 

Other key findings include: 

• 82 percent of respondents said population growth over the next 20 years will make California a less desirable place to live. 

• 86 percent of respondents said the electricity crisis will hurt the state’s economy. 

• 43 percent of respondents favor building more power plants, up from 32 percent in January. The second most popular solution, re-regulating the electricity industry, was the favored solution in January. 

• Traffic congestion, affordable housing, air pollution and a shortage of good jobs top the list of negative consequences respondents foresee from the state’s population growth.