Californians Brighten on Economy
Non-partisan Field Poll of registered voters finds Republicans most positive
SAN FRANCISCO - 08/30/04 - Californians have a more optimistic view of the state's economy this year and are much more positive that it will improve over the next year, according to a new poll reported by the Associated Press.
The percentage of registered voters who described California as being in bad economic times dropped from 75% in 2003 to 53% this year, according to a nonpartisan Field Poll released late last week.
Twenty-four percent of those polled said the state was in good economic times.
Also, 44% of people believe the economy will improve over the next year, while only 14% believe it will get worse. Last year, 30% of people thought the economy would improve and 30% thought it would get worse.
According to the AP, more respondents also said their economic situation had improved, with 41% saying they were better off than a year ago and 27% saying they were worse off.
"You have to recall where we were last year," Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said.
?"Last year, we were getting record low numbers on a lot of different measures in California -- political leadership, the Legislature, the right-track, wrong-track questions and also very pessimistic numbers on the economy. Now things aren't as bad. But we really just went back to where we were two years ago, which wasn't that positive to begin with."
More than three-quarters of respondents are concerned about unemployment, with 35% saying it is a very serious problem and 43% saying it was somewhat serious.
There were big differences along party lines, with 61% of Democrats holding negative views about the economy, compared to 43% of Republicans.
Democrats were also less optimistic about the next year.
"This is definitely related to the presidential election," DiCamillo told the press agency.? "Democrats have given up on Bush and in some ways that ties to their views of economy. They think the economy is worse than Republicans do."
The San Francisco Bay Area remained the most negative region as Silicon Valley was the hardest-hit area by the recent economic downturn. But people in the area are much more optimistic than a year ago.
The percentage of people who believe the state is in a bad economic time fell from 89% to 59%, which is 6 points higher than the state as a whole.
"The Bay Area has been the caboose in this particular downturn," DiCamillo said. "That's not always the case. In the early '90s, the Bay Area region led the state out of the recession while Los Angeles was the laggard. This slowdown is the reverse."
The poll, conducted from July 30 through August 8, was based on interviews with 602 likely voters and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
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