Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

52 Percent of Californians Say a Decade of Gov't Spending Lowered the Quality of Life in the Golden State


According to the Tax Foundation, California state spending has increased 42 percent per capita adjusted for inflation since 2000. The October Reason-Rupe poll asked Californians if this increased spending improved their quality of life, decreased the quality of life in California or had no significant impact. In fact, we find a majority, 52 percent, says this increased state spending decreased their quality of life in the state. Fourteen percent say it has improved the quality of life in the Golden State, and 28 percent say it has had no significant impact.

In other words, 80 percent of Californians think this near 50 percent increase in state spending either made things worse or made no difference. This comports with the average Californian thinking the state wastes an average of 50 cents of every dollar it spends. Likewise, this may also explain why a majority (56 percent) favors rolling back California state spending per capita to 2000 levels, adjusted for inflation.

Despite the fierce opposition that tends to emerge whenever lawmakers attempt to cut government spending, majorities across nearly every demographic and political group favor rolling California state spending back to 2000 levels. Perhaps using 2000 as a baseline provides some grounding to the uncertainty that emerges whenever someone calls for cutting spending. Californians don't seem to recall government spending being too low in 2000 and thus are willing to consider rolling spending back to those levels.

California telephone poll conducted October 11th-15th on both landline and cell phones, 696 adults, margin of error +/- 3.8%. The sample also includes 508 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 5.1%. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full methodology can be found here. Full poll results found here.