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Half of Americans say California in decline, poll say

California's national reputation as a place to dream and prosper has taken a hit from Republicans who hate nearly every aspect of the state and many Democrats who think it's too expensive and a poor place to raise a family. received and is in danger.

Fifty percent of adults nationwide think the state is in decline, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll.

Political polarization has increased negativity, with the survey finding that 48% of Republicans believe the state is “not the real America.” Three in 10 Republicans say the state, home to Yosemite's rugged mountains, towering redwoods and Malibu beaches, has worse natural conditions than other states.

Snowy landscape in California's King Canyon National Park. Three in 10 Republicans say their state's natural environment is worse than other states.

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

Nearly 40% of Republicans don't even think California is a good place to visit, while majorities of both parties say they have visited the state, the paper said. Survey of 1,004 adultsThe survey was conducted between January 26 and 28 by Leger, a Canadian company that conducts extensive public opinion polling in the United States.

“If you're a more conservative American, you basically don't like California,” said Christian Burke, executive vice president at Leger and the poll's supervisor. “Of course, everyone expected it to some degree, but in reality the difference was quite noticeable.”

But California continues to maintain its reputation as the new frontier that has long fueled the state, especially among young people.

Six in 10 adults nationwide believe their state is a trendsetter and has a positive impact on the country. The number of 18- to 34-year-olds who think California is a trendsetter has risen to seven in 10. A similar percentage of young Americans say California's influence on the United States has been positive.

Young people are also twice as likely as other Americans (43%) to say they would consider moving to the state. The top reason they cited was job opportunities (36%).

Among Republicans, only one-third say the state's impact on the country is positive, and two-thirds say it's net negative.

The extent to which partisanship drives public opinion reflects the extent to which Americans' views of California overlap with their views on seemingly unrelated but equally polarizing topics such as climate change, gender equality, racism, and abortion. You can tell from how it is.

For example, people who think racism is an important issue in the United States are more likely to say California is a good place to visit than those who think racism is not important (35%). are more than twice as likely to think so (77%).

Californians have markedly different views on some issues than residents in other parts of the country. Abortion stands out: Almost half (46%) of Californians say abortion should be legal in all cases, a view shared by just over one in four adults nationwide.

Many people came to see the Los Angeles skyline with the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains in the background.

The newly snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains provide a nice view of downtown Los Angeles from the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Baldwin Hills on Saturday.

(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

The poll cuts across party lines and highlights how recent economic trends are impacting California's image. Rising housing prices have caused a lingering homelessness crisis and helped drive the country's third consecutive year of population decline after more than a century of uninterrupted growth.

Polls show Californians of both parties complain that costs are too high, even those who value the state's natural environment and cultural values, with about 10 in 10 Californians complaining that costs are too high. Eight people, and nearly nine out of 10 residents of other states, were found to have such beliefs. .

Only about 2 in 5 Americans say California is a good place to raise a family, and a similar proportion say the state's economy is strong.

Fewer than three in 10 people nationwide judged the state's colleges and universities, which consistently rank among the highest in academic surveys, to be superior to higher education options in other states. Remarkably, however, young Americans and adults living in California were significantly more likely to rate California universities as better than other universities.

The extent to which political or ideological beliefs influenced such opinions was widespread. For example, fewer than 1 in 5 people overall say California has a higher standard of living than other states. Among Republicans, that number drops to 1 in 10. A majority of Republicans say California's standard of living is worse than most states.

By contrast, about 1 in 3 Democrats say California's standard of living is better than most states, while about 4 in 10 say it's worse. That's less than 2 in 10 people.

Students walking around the USC campus

USC, mentioned above, and several other California universities consistently rank among the nation's best universities in academic studies, but no one in the nation judges the state's colleges to be better than others. Less than 3 out of 10 people did.

(Allen J. Scherben/Los Angeles Times)

In recent years, political divisions have encompassed many aspects of American life. But California's transition from a political battleground to a democratic one has made it the target of particularly harsh attacks from conservative media figures and politicians. The attacks accelerated during the era of President Donald Trump, when the state frequently sued the federal government, particularly over immigration and environmental policies.

Memories of a Republican Governor Ronald Reagan in the 1960s and 1970s as the state transformed into a symbol of progress as Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom pushed to sign legislation combating red state policy on climate change. and Pete Wilson in the 1990s are alien to many Americans. Abortion, immigration status, gender, and other important issues.

Not all Democrats support the change, with 30% saying the state is too liberal, a sentiment shared by 81% of Republicans.

Conservative politicians increasingly define themselves by their opposition to California. This month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a bill aimed at reducing homelessness, including a crackdown on camping in public places, and declared, “We will not allow Florida to become San Francisco.”

Mr. DeSantis is a leading critic of the state and released a video from San Francisco alleging (without evidence) that he witnessed people defecating in the street as part of the former president's campaign campaign.

In January, a full moon rises over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

In January, a full moon rises over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. San Francisco has become a favorite target of conservative politicians like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who recently warned, “Don't let Florida become San Francisco.”

(Eric Risberg/Associated Press)

Other conservatives, including billionaire Tesla and He has fiercely criticized the state's policy of allowing access to paid public health services. A person who entered the country illegally.

Public condemnation by FOX News and conservative social media has fueled negative views of the state on issues such as safety: Three-quarters of Republicans are more concerned about crime statistics in Los Angeles and other major cities. Despite recent improvements, the state says it still considers it unsafe. 2022, the latest year announced by the FBI. Data by stateCalifornia's reported violent crime rate was above the national average, but similar to rates in unequal states like Colorado, South Carolina, and Missouri.

The clash of policies and cultures surrounding California began in December when DeSantis debated with Newsom on Fox News over which state is better governed and whose definition of freedom better aligns with American ideals. It reached its peak.

Polls show that for many Americans, the answer seems to be a tie. When asked whether California or Florida better represents their values, California and Florida were almost evenly split, with 52% supporting Florida and 48% supporting California. Opinion was similarly divided when the poll asked about California vs. Texas.

Views on whether California is more free than other states are similarly divided, with roughly a quarter saying it is more free and another quarter saying it is less free. I answered. The rest either said it was about the same or refused to answer.

Newsom argued that California is a symbol of freedom, citing the state's protections for abortion rights, affordable health care, clean air and other progressive priorities.

Opinion polls show he has support for that vision at home. When asked if their state is better than other states when it comes to freedom, Californians surveyed are twice as likely to say yes (43%) than adults nationally (21%). )was.

State residents also rate California better than the rest of the nation for health care, higher education, the natural environment, race relations, and standard of living.

of leger poll The survey was conducted online among 1,004 U.S. residents ages 18 and older, including 120 California residents. The sample is weighted to match benchmarks for age, gender, region, education, and ethnicity. The estimated margin of error is 3.1 percentage points for the entire sample.

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