Unfortunately, the results for the (once) Great State of California were less than unenthusiastic. As a forth-generation Californian, I have to ask, "What happened to my state?"
States Ranked by Their Favorable Rating
Hawaii had the highest "favorable" rating while Illinois scored dead last. California ranked below the national average at somewhere between #39 and 41 (Alabama and Minnesota had similar "favorable" scores).
States Ranked by Their Unfavorable Rating
Here's where the trouble begins for California. Montana has the lowest "unfavorable" rate while California's "unfavorable" rating was significantly higher than the national average (by over 3.5 standard deviations!). Even with the uncertainty in the poll results, this shows that California has a very high "unfavorable" rating.
The Net/Net: Difference between "Favorable" and "Unfavorable"
This chart shows the difference between a state's "favorable" rating and its "unfavorable" rating. Only five states had a higher "unfavorable" rating than its "favorable" rating--California, Illinois, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Utah. Because of its high "unfavorable" rating, California ranked dead last (by over 2.5 standard deviations!).
Here are a variety of cross-tabulations of the data that provide a little more insight and confirmation of the results.
By Age Group
All age groups had an overall "unfavorable" view of California. Respondents 18 to 29 years old had the smallest gap between "favorable" and "unfavorable" ratings while those 30 to 45 years old had the largest gap.
Both women and men had an overall "unfavorable" view of California. Men had the greatest gap between "unfavorable" and "favorable", with fewer "not sure" responses.
By Ethnic Background
Likely due to California's large Hispanic population, Hispanics provided a net "favorable" rating. Whites had a the largest "unfavorable" rating and the largest different between "favorable" and "unfavorable". Given California's strong multi-ethnic population, I personally found it odd that African-Americans and Others (mostly Asian and Pacific Islander) provided the strongest "not sure" rating.
By Political Party
Not surprisingly, Democrats had the highest "favorable" rating for California. Currently, every major California state-wide office is held by a Democrat and both Houses of the California State Legislature are dominated by Democrats, who hold strong, nearly 2-to-1 majorities. Equally unsurprising is that Republicans have high "unfavorable" ratings, likely for the same reasons that Democrats have "favorable" ratings. I did find it surprising that Independent/Other voters had such high "unfavorable" ratings.
By Political Leaning
Again, not surprisingly, those who consider themselves "liberal" had "favorable" ratings for Left-leaning California--a strong Blue state. Those who consider themselves "conservative" had very strong "unfavorable" ratings, likely because of California's fiscal mess and liberal policies. Among the "very conservative" group, there was an amazing 64% difference between "unfavorable" and "favorable" ratings. Also not surprisingly, those who consider themselves "moderate" had more balanced ratings, with "unfavorable" or "not sure" ratings edging out "favorable".
See also ...
- Public Policy Polling press release, "Americans love Hawaii, dislike California"