Nearly one in three Californians supports withdrawing from the United States, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll – a highly unlikely scenario that could nonetheless come before Golden State voters in the 2018 election.
The national survey, released on Monday, found 32 percent of California respondents inclined toward secession, a dramatic increase from the last time Reuters asked in 2014, when 20 percent favored the idea. That’s also significantly higher than the average support among all states of 22 percent, which has dropped two percentage points since 2014.
Why do so many Californians suddenly want to form their own country? Perhaps the election of President Donald Trump, who suffered a historic loss here in November.
The overwhelmingly Democratic state politicians have been defiant, already vowing legal challenges to Trump administration programs that conflict with California policies. As many as 1.2 million people are estimated to have participated in anti-Trump protests across the state on Saturday.
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A secessionist group called Yes California is trying to capitalize on that sentiment by pursuing a 2018 ballot measure that would start the process of breaking away from the United States, which they have dubbed “Calexit.”
But the plan is a longshot: Even if Californians approve the initiative affirming their desire to secede, they would likely need two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of states to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.