The Field Poll reports that for the first time in seven years more California voters believe the state is moving in the right direction (50%) than feel it is on the wrong track (41%). Those living in coastal California are much more likely to have a positive outlook on our state’s future than inland residents. And Democrats are more optimistic than Republicans, so it may be safe to assume that Democrats living in Malibu, Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are much happier than Republicans living in Central Valley and other areas with high unemployment.
Like politicians everywhere, California’s governing class will attempt to claim credit for this reversal of what had been nearly unanimous pessimism. Moreover, they will also claim that this is vindication of progressive policies that have given California one of the most harsh tax and regulatory environments in the nation.
However they explain the voters’ optimism, they are unlikely to bring up the one thing for which they can claim no credit whatsoever; the lower gas prices that existed during the period the poll was conducted, January 26-February 16, just before the cost of a gallon of gas began to vault upward again. With prices in late January down almost 2 bucks per gallon since the high in 2014, many Californians have had reason to smile. It is also interesting to note that the last time more voters than not were positive about their state, gas prices were also down.
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