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Poll: Nearly 70% Happy in California, but Over 40% Think of Leaving

Nearly 70% of California residents say they are happy in the state, but over 40% also say that they are thinking about leaving it, according to a new poll.

The California Community Poll, by Strategies 360, was conducted by the Los Angeles Times and a consortium of community groups between June 6 to 16 among 1354 residents of the Golden State. It found, among other results: “Robust majorities of residents across regional, demographic, and racial lines feel happy about living in California (71%), report that living in California is important to their personal identities (68%), and say California is a place where they fit in and feel comfortable (68%).”

However, the Times noted, over 40% are thinking of leaving, largely because of the cost of living, but also because of the state’s policies:

More than 40% of residents say they’re contemplating moving out of California, with nearly half of them saying they’re considering that “very seriously.” About 61% pointed to the high cost of living here as the reason they’d go. People of color are far more likely to say that the expense of living in California is the reason they might leave. About 71% of residents who are either Black or Asian/Pacific Islander and considering relocating cited the cost of living.

Nearly 30% of those surveyed said they might leave because the state’s policies and laws don’t align with their political views, a reflection of the polarization of the state and the nation at the moment. Respondents who identified as conservative were much more likely to cite the politics of the state as the reason why they were considering moving.

Self-identified Republicans were three times as likely as Democrats to say that the state’s politics were why they wanted to go.

The apparent contradiction in the poll results could affect Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chances as he lines himself up for a potential presidential run, either in 2024 — if President Joe Biden steps aside — or in 2028.

Newsom has few concrete policy achievements to his name after two decades in politics, and faced a recall in 2021 driven by outrage over his flouting of his own draconian coronavirus restrictions. However, he has championed liberal positions on social issues, and the state continues to attract talented and ambitious young people, even as it loses residents overall to other states with lower taxes, fewer regulations, less crime, and lower costs of living.


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