Exclusive: CityNews Publishes Poll of California Mayors and Councilmembers, Divides Clear on Top Public Policy Issues

CityNews is pleased to announce the release of a first-of-its-kind opinion poll of California mayors and councilmembers. The poll was produced through a partnership of CaliforniaCityNews.org and the Prime Group, a full service opinion research and message development company co-located in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. 

The results demonstrate polarized attitudes among the state’s local elected leaders on key issues ranging from Presidential approval, sanctuary cities, marijuana legalization and others.

Some key findings:

  • Among local elected officials, President Trump receives a 37% approval rating, Governor Brown receives a 50% approval rating, and the California state legislature receives a 44% approval rating. 
  • State and local pension issues is the highest ranked priority overall. Nearly half of local elected officials (48%) rank this as the first or second most important priority.
  • Local elected officials are evenly split on the issue of sanctuary cities – 49% agreeing with President Trump and 51% in support of sanctuary cities.
  • Two-thirds of these elected officials see major problems looming in the implementation of legalized recreational marijuana with half (47%) saying those problems “won’t be resolved for years” and an additional one-fifth (19%) expecting implementation to be “an unmitigated mess.” 

Local elected officials are highly polarized on key issues, with Democrats, Republicans, and those with no party preference showing starkly different views on the direction of the country overall, the direction of the state, approval ratings of President Trump and Governor Brown, the top priorities for the state, and immigration issues. “This is a unique and valuable look into the mindset of local elected leaders,” said Wen-Tsing Choi, Senior Vice President of Research and Analytics and manager of Prime Group's West Coast operations. “This poll provides a baseline of attitudes on key issues, as well as a preview of hot issues likely to dominate local politics across the state.”

A full breakdown and discussion of the poll’s findings will take place Thursday, June 14 at 11:30am PST through a free, WebEx seminar. For more details and to register, please click here

You can also read a full memo on the polling results here.

After pension issues, Independents ranked immigration and water issues in their top three – surprising as Republicans took a much lower interest in immigration (18% lower interest) despite the national conversation among top Republican leaders on the subject. It might also come as a surprise that homelessness and education were ranked the lowest priority among all participants in the poll, with both receiving just 1% of the vote each.

What might be considered most compelling from the poll is how divided the state’s local elected officials truly are – Democrats, Republicans and Independents have completely different views on the direction of the country and the state. Ninety-four percent of Democrats believe the country overall is heading in the wrong direction, but only 11% feel that way about California. In stark contrast, only 19% of Republican local elected officials are worried about the direction of the country, while 95% of those same Republicans think California is on the wrong track. Independents are divided even among themselves, with roughly half on one side or the other.

On Sanctuary Cities, local elected officials are evenly split – 49% agreeing with President Trump's position and 51% in support of sanctuary cities. The differences fall almost perfectly along party lines, with Democrats in support of sanctuary cities (94%) and Republicans agreeing with President Trump (95%)


To See A Full Breakdown of Results, register for our free webinar on key findings Wednesday June 14 at 11:30am.

The survey was conducted May 1 - 10, 2017. The survey was made available to California mayors and city council members by e-mail invitation or through the CaliforniaCityNews.org newsletter, and the survey reflects completed response from 118 participants. 


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