According to a recent report from the Pew Hispanic Center, the gap in party affiliation among Hispanics has widened drmamatically in the past 1 to 2 years. The gap in affiliation between Hispanics who identified themselves as Democrats and those who identified themselves as Republicans was only 21% in 2006. The gap is now 34%.
In 2004, 32% of Hispanic voters in California voted for George Bush. Bush lost the state by 10 percentage points. Hispanics constitute a strategic percentage of eligible voters in 4 out of 6 states where George Bush won in 2004 by 5 percentage points or fewer. (The 4 states are New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado.) In California, Hispanics constitute a project 16.8% of the share of the projected atate vote in 2008. In states like California, where the vote for president could be closely contested, the participation of Hispanic voters could mean the difference between one party winning or losing the election. That reality is even more apparent in states like the four mentioned above, because the 2004 election was far more closely contested in those states.
A recent report prepared for the California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency points out that California is the only state in the nation without a formal international trade and investment development program. (The state used to have such a program, run from the Technology, Trade, and Commerce Agency, but that agency was disbanded by the legislature in 2003.)
The report mentions other states with significant international trade budgets, including Pennsylvania, which has a $20.7 million budget set aside for this purpose, and the report explores the implications of California, which has the eighth-largest economy in the world if it were an independent nation, failing to fund such a program, including loss of competitive advantage.
A new Field Poll shows Californians evenly divided on Proposition 93, the term limits initiative, and Propositions 94 through 97, the initiatives that would renew and expand the gaming compacts that four Indian tribes have with the state.
A month ago, 50% favored Proposition 93 and 32% opposed it. The latest poll shows an exact even split — 39% favoring, 39% opposing, 22% undecided. The numbers on the Indian gaming measures have not changed all that much. A month ago, the split was 39-33% supporting the measures; now the split is 42-37%, with 21% undecided.
As the Field Poll says, “With voter preferences so closely divided, the outcomes of each are very much in doubt.”
The poll breaks down the differences in support and opposition among various demographic, geographic, age, and other subgroups and is well worth taking a look at. Also, we have detailed information resources on the all of the February ballot measures.
Update (1/30/08): A Los Angeles Times/CNN/Politico poll shows very similar narrowness of difference in voter attitudes toward Proposition 93, with 50% supporting it and 46% opposing.
As of January 18, money spent on the four Indian casino compact initiatives (Propositions 94-97) has shot over the $100 million mark, making the gambling initative battle the costliest in state history, according to an article from the Copley News Service. (The total is not all that surprising when you consider the flood of TV ads in support of and in opposition to the measures that have hit state airwaves in the past month.)
The four tribes advocating the ballot measures have collectively spent an estimated $82.7 million. The opposition to the measures, which comes largely from two other casino-operating tribes (the Pala Band of Mission Indians and the United Auburn Indian Community), a casino workers union, and the owners of the Hollywood Park and Bay Meadows race tracks, have spent an estimated $25.9 million.
See the IGS Library’s informative web resources covering the gaming initiatives here.
A new Field Poll shows New York Senator Hillary Clinton with a commanding 12-point lead over Illinois Senator Barack Obama in California in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, even after Obama’s convincing 8-point caucus victory in Iowa on January 3 and the ensuing flood of positive media coverage that ensued. (Obama has not won a caucus or primary since Iowa.) Former North Carolina Senator and 2004 vice-presidential nominee John Edwards is a distant third.
The breakdown is Clinton 39%, Obama 27%, and Edwards 10%. Clinton’s lead over Obama has narrowed significantly since mid-December, when her lead was one of 14 points, and since October, when her lead was a whopping 25 points. Edwards has never polled above 13% since the presidential preference question started being asked in March 2007.
Clinton Leads Obama by 12 Points in California [Field Poll]
Clinton’s lead over Obama is wider among Latinos, seniors, non-college graduates, and those with annual household incomes under $40,000. Obama has the advantage among African-Americans, college grads, and those with annual household incomes over $80,000. (This pattern holds in other caucus and primary states as well.) Clinton’s lead over Obama is down to 7 points if you consider only Bay Area registered Democrats.
A roundup of some of the reaction from media outlets and policy groups to the governor’s 2008-2009 budget:
Legislative Analyst’s Office:
The Governor has put forward an aggressive agenda for the special session and the 2008–09 budget. The Legislature should focus first on those areas where time is of the essence — where early decisions will allow state programs to achieve desired savings in the current year. The special session should also be used to lay the groundwork for achieving budget–year savings — for instance, by developing any program restructurings and taking any necessary actions on the current–year Proposition 98 minimum guarantee. In contrast to the Governor’s approach of across–the–board reductions, in our view the Legislature should (1) eliminate or further reduce low–priority programs in order to minimize the impact on higher priority programs and (2) examine additional revenue options as part of a more balanced approach. Making tough choices now will allow the state to move closer to bringing its long–term spending and revenues into alignment.
California Budget Project:
The magnitude of the proposed reductions and the policy changes necessary to achieve them are significant, even as compared to the sizeable shortfalls of the early years of this decade and the early 1990s.”
Governor Schwarzenegger unveiled his 2008-2009 budget yesterday, and, as expected, it was a bleak one. Under the proposed budget,
- all state agencies and departments would face mandatory across-the-board budget cuts of 10%;
- 48 state parks would be shuttered or closed to visitors;
- the Medi-Cal program would be hit with a $1 billion cut;
- K-12 school spending would be cut by $400 million in mid-year and by another $4 billion in the new fiscal year;
- Proposition 98 would need to be suspended to pave the way for the education cutbacks;
- funding to the CSU, UC, and community college systems would be cut by $1.1 billion (and student fees at UC campuses would rise by at least 7.4% and at CSU campuses by at least 10%);
- between 37,000 and 50,000 non-violent-felony prisoners would be given early releases and prison staffing would be slashed;
- and an $11 vehicle registration fee increase would be implemented.
Even if all of these cuts were implemented — by no means a certainty given the widespread opposition that they have already engendered — the state would still face a $3 billion deficit in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
The summary of the proposed 2008-2009 budget is available here.
The State of the State’s Children [Children Now]
According to a new report from the advocacy group Children Now, California’s children score from mediocre to poor on ranges of issues from health to education. The report points out that 763,000 children in the state are still uninsured (placing California 43rd out of the 50 states on the percentage of insured children 17 and under), roughly the same number as in 2003, despite the intense attention that has been focused on the issue of lack of insurance in the media and in policy debates.
In other findings, the report indicates that 21% of Californian children do not have dental insurance; 16% have asthma (with the asthma rate at 20% in the Central Valley); 33% of Californian children are obese; and only 65% of Californian children graduate on time with a regular high school diploma.
Another year-end Field Poll shows that Californians are pessimistic about the state’s economy, mirroring results from a PPIC survey in December. 52% of registered voters say that the state is in bad economic shape. Interestingly, that figure is only 3 points higher than when the poll asked the same question in 2005, when 49% said the state was in bad economic shape, and the number is down significantly from 2003, when 75% said the state was in bad economic shape. The proportion of voters who think that the state’s economic condition will get better over the next year is 25%; 35% say it will stay the same, 35% say it will get worse. The percent who say that things are going to get worse is the highest since 2001 (when 40% said they thought things would get worse), which roughly coincides with the tail end of the state’s last recession. Although voters are pessimistic about the state’s economic condition, 49% say that they expect no change in their own economic circumstances over the next year, 32% say they believe that they will be better off; 14% think that they will be worse off.