Why do so many people hate California?
By Emily Wilkins
Hearst Washington Bureau
Surf. Sun. Disneyland. What’s not to love about California?
Well, apparently, a lot of things. In a poll released Tuesday by the Public Policy Polling, California was the least popular state in the United States. Only 27 percent of Americans hold a favorable view of the Golden State compared to the 44 percent who view it unfavorably.
“There’s this arrogance about Californians,” said Patrick Dorinson, a radio host in California who refers to himself as the Cowboy Libertarian. “Californians still think it’s this great star. It’s a tarnished star at this point.”
The gap of 17 points puts California far behind Illinois (19 favorable, 29 not) and New Jersey (25 favorable, 32 not) as the least liked state in America.
“I’m actually quite surprised California fared so poorly,” said Albert M. Camarillo, a professor of history at Stanford University. “I think the national public knows of our difficult budget situation, our higher than average unemployment rate, the still very expensive housing market.”
The “Left Coast” is distinct in another way – more people have an opinion about California than any other state. For a majority of states, more than half of recipients answered “not sure” when asked whether they liked the state or not. But California had the lowest rate of indifference – only 28 percent of respondents couldn’t decide whether they liked the state or not.
“No one knows anything about Delaware. No one has a clue about Wyoming – but everyone knows California,” said Dowell Myers, a professor of policy planning and demography at the University of Southern California. “Its visibility is really high.”
There’s some good news for California — at least if you’re a female Democrat. Women were less likely than men to rate California as unfavorable, and there was a massive partisan gap. Democrats love California; Republicans can’t stand it. The opposite is true of Texas.
“I’m sure that for a lot of purple America the extra red Texas and blue California may seem a little far out there,” said Roger Salazar, a political consultant in California.
But whatever the reason, most Californians took the news that their state was the last popular in stride.
“They’re just jealous,” Salazar said.