What Does the U.S. Think of California?

February 13, 2024

In the heart of America’s imagination, California continues to shine as a beacon of innovation, cultural richness, and economic dynamism. From the sun-kissed beaches of the Pacific Coast to the tech hub of Silicon Valley, the Golden State has long captivated the nation with its promise of opportunity and progress. As we enter 2024, Leger’s latest poll explores the American psyche, exploring current perceptions of California. Despite facing challenges like housing shortages and a shifting population, as noted in a CalMatters article, the allure of California’s diverse landscapes, groundbreaking industries, and vibrant cultural scenes remain a subject of fascination. From January 26 to 28, 2024, we surveyed U.S. residents to discover what they think of California, if they would consider moving there, and its impact on the country.

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Some of the key highlights of our survey about the Perception of the State of California include…

  • Over one-third of U.S. residents believe that California is a model other states should avoid (39%), compared to 15% who think it should be copied and nearly half (46%) who believe it is a little bit of both. Democratic voters (25%) are more likely to say it is a model to copy, whereas Republican voters (66%) are more inclined to think the opposite.
  • 87% of U.S. residents agree that the state of California is too expensive (cost of living), 76% agree that it is diverse, and 65% consider it a good place to visit. Nearly half (52%) believe it is unsafe, and only one-third (37%) think it is a good place to raise a family.
  • 23% of U.S. residents not living in California would consider moving there, as opposed to 77% who would not. The main reasons for considering a move are employment opportunities (26%) and the warmer/mild climate (23%). The main reasons against moving, aside from a general reluctance to move (38%), are that it doesn’t correspond to their way of living (20%) and disliking the politics there (19%). Republican voters (30%) are more likely to reject moving there due to the politics.
  • More than half of U.S. residents (58%) think that California has a positive impact on the United States, while 42% think it has a negative impact. Democratic voters are more likely to view California’s impact as positive (87% compared to 33% among Republicans).
  • Generally, Republican voters are significantly more likely to have a negative opinion or rate the tested items more negatively compared to Democratic voters, who have a more positive perception of the state of California.

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