Friday, February 24, 2012

Public Policy Polling Survey and California's "Favorable" and "Unfavorable" Rankings

Public Policy Polling (PPP) recently released the results of a nationwide poll of 1,200 American voters.  Those surveyed were asked whether they had a "Favorable" or an "Unfavorable" perception for each of the 50 United  States.

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 bottom five states are Illinois, New York, Texas, New Jersey, and California.  Four out the five are also the most-populous U.S. states (New Jersey ranks 11th in population, Florida is among the five most-populous states).  Three of the five (California, New Jersey, and New York) also have the nation's least-favorable business tax climate, according to the Tax Foundation.

Perhaps not surprisingly, California also has high chronic unemployment.  That said, Nevada has the nation's highest unemployment rate yet scored 19 points better on its "unfavorable" ranking.

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!).

Digging Deeper

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.

By Gender

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 ...

1 comment:

  1. Terrific stuff. Such charts bring out the facts better than just tables of numbers.