Hoover Poll: CA Wants Growth, Not Green Programs or Bullet Train

Gov. Jerry Brown just won a resounding re-election victory. But his new budget released last week for Fiscal Year 2015-16, which begins on July 1, is out of sync with Californians on some important issues, according to the Hoover Institution’s new Golden State Poll. It questioned people between Dec. 9 and Jan. 4.

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The poll’s findings are consistent no matter political party, income or education level, race, gender, ideology or interest in following the news.

The overwhelming voice of California likely voters seeks:

  • Economic growth: 72 percent
  • Solving the state’s drought and other water problems: 69 percent
  • Improving jobs: 66 percent
  • Balancing the state budget: 61 percent

Much lower down on the list are some of Brown’s top priorities:

  • Dealing with the environment: 32 percent
  • Global warming: 26 percent
  • Making public pensions sound: 26 percent
  • Strengthening gun laws: 26 percent
  • Continuing the state’s high-speed rail project: 16 percent

(See table below for a full list.)

Brown’s budget proposal runs against the grain of public opinion by:

  • Spending $532 million of the new $7.5 billion Water Bond from Proposition 1 that will do nothing directly to deal with drought (poll respondents had a 69 percent priority to deal with the drought).
  • Moving ahead with the bullet-train project (only 16 percent priority) with $250 million of funding from the California Air Resources Board’s cap-and-trade tax on industries and public utilities (only 26 percent priority).
  • Doing nothing to reduce the state’s $15 billion duplicative and ineffective energy efficiency and renewable energy programs per the California Legislative Office report of December 19, 2012 (only 40 percent priority).
  • Funding a school facilities bond that caters to special interests (54 percent priority against special-interest funding).
  • Including $1.4 billion for teacher pension funding (only 34 percent priority).


High responses (65 percent or higher) and low responses (35 percent or lower) are both strong indicators of what Californians want to be emphasized in the state budget and other policies. Conversely, modest responses (40 to 60 percent) are not strong indicators one way or another.

Viewed in that frame, the Hoover Poll indicates Californians want economic growth, jobs and a concrete solution to the state’s perpetual drought problems.

Conversely, they consider it a low priority to make pensions sound, reduce income inequality, protect the environment, deal with global warming or proceed with the high-speed rail. In fact, the rail project received the lowest priority of all by far: just 16 percent.

That means 84 percent of Californians are not enthusiastic about the project. Yet Brown has branded rail opponents “dystopians and declinists.”

Californians have modest and equivocal responses to improving roads, K-12 education, reforming the tax system, reducing crime, dealing with energy problems, helping the needy and reducing Medi-Cal costs.

One anomaly is over public pensions. Despite low public awareness, this is a $500 billion problem that just can’t go away. Even the bankrupt cities of Vallejo, San Bernardino and Stockton have been forced to fund pensions above all other priorities. Doing so has brought both large budget cuts to essential services and tax increases.

Legislature unlikely to rectify budget priorities

The voters’ voice is clear from the Hoover poll: Californians want economic growth, private sector jobs and a real solution to the drought problem.

However, it is unlikely the Legislature is going to rectify the budget to be more in line with voters’ priorities given that only 34 percent of those polled by Hoover had any trust in state government.

A mismatch between voter desires and government action is a recipe for political dysfunction.

Top Priorities for California’s State Government – Most Likely Voters

Question: In his State of the State speech, Governor Brown will talk about what he thinks should be priorities for California’s state government in 2015. Thinking about the issues facing California, what do you think should be a top priority, important but lower priority, not too important or should not be done?
Percent saying each is a “top priority” Total
Strengthening the state’s economy 72%
Dealing with the state’s water problems 69%
Improving the job situation 66%
Balancing the state’s budget 61%
Reducing influence of special interests on state government 54%
Dealing with the issue of illegal immigration 49%
Improving state’s roads, bridges and public transportation 47%
Improving the K-12 education system 46%
Reforming the state’s tax system 45%
Reducing crime 44%
Dealing with state’s energy problems 40%
Helping the poor and needy people 37%
Reducing the costs for Medi-Cal program 36%
Make public employee pensions fiscally sound 34%
Protecting the environment 32%
Reducing income inequality 29%
Reforming the state’s pension system 26%
Dealing with global warming 26%
Strengthening gun laws 26%
Continuing the state’s high speed rail project 16%
Data Source: Hoover Institution Golden State Poll, Dec. 9, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com


  1. Jerry Rodrigues says

    1. Global Warming is a Scientific Farce, so the Rich Get Richer using this farce to steal $22 Million out of the citizens pockets (Each Year!).

    2. I lived & taught in China for 4-years & I found it not only extremely efficient (something that our government & too many people have No Idea about is “Efficiency,” BUT, High Speed Rail with “Bullet Trains are So Popular, because they Move Large Amounts of People Constantly & Very Quickly.
    How Quickly you ask, Well, IF you want a seat to travel from Nanjing to Shanghai you’d better Quickly Get a Reservation For a Seat, otherwise, expect to be standing. The reservations Very Quickly fill-up!
    These Bullet Trains are ALWAYS FILLED-UP With Passengers & they More than Pay for themselves in passenger convenience, for Business People, as well as families wanting to save Gasoline AND Energy, and be well-rested when they arrive at their destinations!

    People, such as here in the USA, have No Idea, the Time-Saving, Gasoline Savings, as well as the comfort in reaching your destination.
    So, stop being against something such as this Very Fast, Economical People-Mover, when you have no experience using them , nor any idea about anything regarding these Quick, Very Efficient People Movers which save Oil Energy, as well as peoples energy !!!

    Jerry, in Californa who experienced this as a Teacher & Traveler in Mainland China for 4-years !

  2. Well guess what? They picked the wrong governor, even knowing his record and those are not his goals….STUPID VOTERS!!!

    Stop electing Liberal Democrats and politicians based on name recognition….STUPID VOTERS!!!

  3. Moonbeam has had his “way” with Californians ever since the 70’s when Prop 13 was overwhelmingly passed by the then fed up voters. Since then he and his cohorts have totally ignored the common sense core values of living within their means and have devised hundreds of various ways of extorting taxes and “fees” from not only the tax paying worker but their employers also. He and his “Elitist” left wing nuts truly do not believe you know what is best for yourself as well as the State of California. You have to understand that the Bay Bridge overrun, the impending train to nowhere, the water tunnel to Socal are for the most part paybacks to major Unions who ensure the Left’s control of the purse strings. As it is obvious there is no common sense being used as that is foreign to their basic rational. I was born and spent over 70 years there and can attest to my vision of the corruption and moral decay there in Government and the Education system (totally self serving for the most part). Last night I had the pleasure of listening to the State of the State speech by my new Governor and it brought tears to my eyes. Everything he proposed in the coming budget was for the actual betterment of the citizens of the State and not for it’s politicians and “Their” supporters. Ultimately the voters of California are going to have to take their State back from the Tax and Spenders and their enablers or continue on down the tube so to speak..

  4. We need to take back our state from moonbat brown and his hard line lemming limousine liberal dumbocraps! We are DEAD DEAD last in business friendly climates! What else is new for a democrat oligarchy in stinkramento! As we continue to swirl around the cesspool drain of history –

  5. Illegals voted him in and the citizens need to remove him. Cal Watch Dogs print out the petition and send it in. Do not just post and do nothing else. We need people going door to door.

  6. Why in the heck did you re elect the man who was very clear on his policies?! Not like he ever claimed to be doing anything different? He lies about the budget and finances for the state but he’s been very clear high speed rail and green energy. Proves people here in CA aren’t paying attention!!

  7. I didn’t realize how many stupid people we have in California until this last election. We’re doomed.

    • you can’t moderate the truth. The people of this state are stupid voting Brown in for the forth time,and than complaining about his priorities.

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