The People’s Voice: State Voters Pessimistic About Living in California

California voters have grown more anxious and pessimistic about living in California than a year ago, according to findings from the California Chamber of Commerce Poll, The People’s Voice, 2023.

A strong majority (57%) say California is heading down the wrong track, flipping their views from a year ago, where a majority said the state was headed in the right direction.

Voters peg inflation and the economy as key factors in worsening attitudes. Asked if rising prices caused them or their families to adjust spending habits, 83% said they had, nearly half (47%) by “a lot.” More than two of three voters reported that their households’ finances and current economic situation is worse than a year ago – nearly one-quarter said “much worse.”

Looking ahead, voters are pessimistic: 58% say the economy will be worse off. When asked this same question a year ago, a majority believed the economy would be better off. From a personal perspective, a slight majority (51%) of voters believe it “unlikely” that their own economic situation will “improve over the next year.”

Over a longer time frame, a plurality (39%) of voters think that five years in the future, California will be a worse place to live compared to today, 12 percentage points higher than those who believed California would be a better place.

Voter pessimism extends to their views on the American Dream, which they have seen steadily slipping away over the years. By a 63% to 26% margin, voters believe that the American Dream “once held true but does not anymore” compared with “still holds true.” Five years ago, a plurality of California voters (49%) believed the American dream “still holds true,” versus 44% who responded that “it once held true, but does not anymore.

Tomorrow, we will report on California voters’ opinions about staying in or leaving the state.

The CalChamber poll was conducted by Bold Decision and Pierrepont Consulting & Analytics with online interviews from October 2-8, 2023 with 1,002 online interviews of California likely 2024 general election voters. The margin of error for this study is +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level. This is the ninth year CalChamber has published The People’s Voice survey.


Contact: Loren Kaye

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.