PALO ALTO — California’s expectations for Donald Trump’s presidency are in the cellar, with little more than a third of voters believing it will be a success, a new Hoover Institution Golden State Poll shows.
But a plurality of voters holds more positive than negative views about some of Trump’s more controversial positions, including his call to restrict immigrants from certain countries, end sanctuary cities and to deport undocumented immigrants.
On the eve of Trump’s inauguration, just 36 percent of voters believe he will be successful, compared to 46 percent who believe he will be a failure. Nineteen percent aren’t sure, the poll showed.
“This is the time of optimism for a new president, when their job approval ratings will be at its highest,’’ said Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution fellow. “But as far as California is concerned, they’re not giving him the benefit of the doubt.”
On Trump’s plan to suspend immigration from countries with links to terrorism, a plurality of California voters, 42 percent, said it would make California “better off.” That compares to 35 percent who said “worse off,” and 23 percent who had no view.
Regarding the effects of Trump’s promise to deport illegal immigrants, 44 percent said it would make California “better off,’’ 39 percent said worse off,’’ and 18 percent undecided, the poll showed.
On Trump’s plan to end “sanctuary cities,’’ 41 percent expressed support, 36 percent said they were opposed, and 22 percent were undecided. On the president-elect’s intention to withdraw federal funding to “sanctuary cities’’ like San Francisco and Oakland, 38 percent expressed support, 40 percent were opposed, and 22 percent had no view, the poll showed
California voters had a positive outlook on some of Trump’s key positions on fiscal issues, the poll showed. Fifty-five percent said Trump’s vow to lower personal income taxes would make California better off, compared to 23 percent who said it would make the state worse off, and 22 percent who were undecided, according to the poll.
But a strong plurality believes that repealing the Affordable Care Act will have a negative impact on the state. Nearly half of respondents, 48 percent, said repealing the ACA will make California “worse off,’’ while 34 percent said “better off,’’ and 18 percent were undecided.
The Golden State Poll numbers show that for the new president, “there’s a sales job to be done in California,’’ said Whalen. “It’s a lost cause when you’re talking about 55 electoral votes. But there’s a handful of congressional seats here that the GOP needs to protect. And if you look at the numbers of people in those districts, they have a big stake.”
“People think this administration is going to turn its back on California. But there’s a number of Republicans out here for whom (the success of the Trump presidency) is very important,’’ he said.
Trump’s ratings are a marked contrast to those of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, whose handling of the state budget is approved by a strong plurality of state voters, 47 percent, compared to 29 percent who disapprove, and 25 percent with no opinion.
And a majority of Californians, 51 percent, say they approve of Brown’s handling of economic growth issues in California, compared to 26 percent who disapprove and 23 percent with no view.
On climate change, 49 percent approve of Brown’s handling of the matter, compared to 26 percent who disapprove, and 28 percent with no opinion.
“It’s good to be the king, and that’s Jerry Brown,’’ said Whalen, who added that the governor’s robust numbers are directly related to the fact that he is “the rare government official who’s not distracted by national ambitions.”
“At a time when politicians are trying to figure ways to get airtime, he’s the exact opposite,’’ he said. “He is selective when he engages with the media. He’s not spending every waking hour trying to make news. He’s not in the 24/7 shout-fest on cable, and that keeps his numbers up.”
Some of the poll’s other key findings:
- On Trump’s promise to build a border wall, 35 percent of California voters think it would make the state “better off,” 45 percent said “worse off”, and 20 percent were undecided.
- On Trump’s plan to end “unfair” trade practices, 41 percent say that would make the state “better off,’’ 25 percent “worse off,’’ and 24 percent undecided.
- On Trump’s vow to lower federal business taxes, 45 percent said that would make the state better off, 31 percent worse off, and 24 percent undecided.
- On “Calexit” — a proposal for California to secede from the United States — just 25 percent of state voters said they’d vote in favor, 58 percent were opposed and 17 percent had no view.
- Forty-four percent sees California as a model state, while 34 percent does not, with a decidedly partisan split: 62 percent of Democrats see the Golden State as a model, 62 percent of Republicans do not. Independents are also evenly split — 33 percent say yes, 34 percent no.
The generally positive numbers about the state, up slightly from last year, reflect a confidence in state leadership and in Brown, says Whalen. “It suggests more Californians feel not just better about the state, but good about what California is doing,’’ he said.
The Golden State poll, sponsored by the Hoover Institution and the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, was taken Jan. 5 to Jan. 9 of 1,700 state voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.82 percentage points for the entire sample.