Survey says Californians have negative outlook on state economy, jobs

The Public Policy Institute of California recently released the results of its 48th Californians and Their Government survey assessing public opinion on the economy, elected officials, policy and other social, economic and political factors.

Of the results, Californians — regardless of party, regional differences or other influencing characteristics — overwhelmingly shared a negative outlook on the economy and jobs.

Fifty percent of Californians believe the state is in a serious recession, 32 percent believe it’s a moderate recession and 7 percent believe it’s a mild recession. Furthermore, a record high of 67 percent claimed jobs and the economy as the most important issue Californians are currently facing — a 4 percent jump from the results in February 2009.

“It’s interesting that it’s hit its record now compared to the depth of the recession,” said PPIC Policy Associate Dean Bonner, who was involved in conducting the survey.

Bonner explained that the increase from 2009 in the Californian public’s prioritization of jobs and the economy might be attributed to the sustained effects of the recession, such as high unemployment, which makes Californians feel as if the recession is ongoing.

“I’m not sure that California is currently in a recession but I think that the perception is what people are feeling. In these cases, I think it’s more important what people are feeling than what the reality is,” Bonner said.

The PPIC poll also examined approval ratings for state and national elected officeholders. Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval ratings were at 41 percent, along with 31 percent of adults saying that they were unsure how to rate him.

Noticeably, Californian approval rating numbers for President Barack Obama hit a record low of 51 percent; this is in stark contrast to a 70 percent level approval among Californians in early 2009. Regardless, 50 percent of Californians trust Obama over economic policy compared to the 31 percent who trust Republicans.

Despite statewide concerns on jobs and the economy, the UCLA Anderson Forecast shows the Bay Area leading the state in job growth. Nonetheless, economic concerns remain prevalent among Bay Area residents.

“While the job numbers may be better, (the economy and jobs) are still in the minds of the Bay Area.” Bonner said.