The conclusion of a tumultuous presidential primary season has done nothing to improve Californians’ dim view of the country’s overall direction, according to a new poll, with a majority of voters saying the United States is seriously off on the wrong track.
The Field Poll, released Thursday, continues a streak of gloomy assessments dating back more than a decade. Not since 2002 have a majority of California voters said the country was heading in the right direction.
If there is a bright spot in Californians’ mood, it is closer to home. By a 52 percent to 39 percent margin, voters say California is generally moving in the right direction.
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“There are so many things that can be said about California that are true, that are negative,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll. “Yet when you ask voters here about the direction of the state, it’s on the upswing, and they’re positive.”
The poll follows a tense presidential primary in which Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton emerged as their parties’ presumptive nominees. But the conclusion of the primary contest appears to have had little effect on voters’ outlook, with results mirroring a previous survey in April.
DiCamillo attributed the negative outlook to frustration with political gridlock in Washington, not either presidential candidate.
From the view of voters, he said, “There’s just a failure of our major institutions to kind of do the people’s business.”
The poll reflects stark ideological differences in opinion about the direction of the station and nation, with Republicans far more likely than Democrats to say the state and nation are off on the wrong track.
Voters living in coastal counties tend to offer more optimistic assessments about the direction the state than those living in inland areas.