The People’s Voice: Voters Anxious About Public Safety

Last week we reported about California voters’ deep concerns over an increasing cost of living and the fear of falling further behind. Eighty-five percent of voters reported that “earning enough income to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle is becoming almost impossible in my part of California.”

Along with economic insecurity, Californians are concerned about personal security.

Asked about public safety, more than two-thirds of voters say crime in California has increased “some” or “a lot.” Eighty-five percent (53% strongly) of voters agree that “homelessness and criminal behavior have become rampant throughout California,” and 59% of voters agree with the statement, “I no longer feel safe because of the danger and disorder in society today.”

On issues of crime and public safety, the most intensely concerned voters are women, voters aged 50 to 64, and residents of the Inland Empire.

Homelessness remains top-of-mind for Californians. Nearly three-quarters of voters say homelessness has gotten worse in the state, up six points since last year, and 63% say homelessness has gotten worse in their own communities, up seven points since last year.

This pessimism is maybe related to the visibility of the issue. Nearly half of voters report that they see someone homeless on the streets at least five days a week. Voters most concerned about the local effects of homelessness are women and residents of San Francisco and the Central Valley.

The CalChamber poll also closely examined numerous public policy issues of interest to voters and employers. Subsequent articles will take a deep dive into those issues.

The CalChamber poll was conducted by Core Decision Analytics and Pierrepont Consulting and Analytics with online interviews from October 9–12, 2021 with 1,003 online interviews of California 2022 general election voters. The margin of error for this study is +/- 3.09% at the 95% confidence level and larger for subgroups. This is the seventh year CalChamber has published a voter survey.

Contact: Loren Kaye

Loren Kaye was appointed president of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education in January 2006. He has devoted his career to developing, analyzing and implementing public policy issues in California, with a special emphasis on improving the state's business and economic climate. He also was a gubernatorial appointee to the state's Little Hoover Commission, charged with evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of state agencies and programs. Kaye served in senior policy positions for Governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian, including Cabinet Secretary to the Governor and Undersecretary of the California Trade and Commerce Agency. See full bio.