published on October 2, 2017 - 12:16 PM
Written by David Castellon

Residents of inland California’s agricultural communities mostly believe Gov. Jerry Brown is doing a good job, that race relations today are worse than in the past and that a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is a bad idea — but are divided on whether Russia meddled in last year’s presidential election.

These are some of the findings of “Californians & Their Government,” a statewide survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, a San Francisco-based charity working to inform people about public policy issues.

The survey has been conducted annually since 1998, covering both state and federal public policy and political issues.

“Every survey we do is a mix of tracking questions we’ve done for years and new ones based on ongoing policy debates,” said Linda Strean, a spokeswoman for the Public Policy Institute.

They include current hot-button topics, including this year’s questions on the growing tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

Another asks the 1,734 Californians surveyed across the state about their confidence in President Donald Trump’s ability to handle conflict with North Korea. Statewide, 67 percent of the respondents said they were uneasy, while 29 percent indicated confidence in the president, with the rest saying they were unsure or declining to offer opinions.

The surveyors divided California into five regions, including a “Central Valley” region covering more geography than what people here consider the Central Valley. This one extends through most of the central part of the state, from Kern County all the way north to Shasta County, an area comprising much of the prime agricultural counties in the California.

In this extended Central Valley region, 62 percent of the people surveyed expressed uneasiness in the president’s ability to handle North Korea, while 36 percent expressed confidence.

Among the political questions, 52 percent of the 342 Central Valley respondents said they believe Jerry Brown is doing a good job as governor, 47 percent approve of how the California Legislature is doing its job — just four percentage points higher than the ratio of people who disapprove — and 62 percent disapprove of how Donald Trump is handling his job as president.

In the Central Valley, 75 percent favor Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections for undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S. as children — not far from the 78 percent who answered the same statewide — while 58 percent had favorable opinions of the Affordable Care Act.

In addition, only 18 percent believe the Republican Congress should continue working on its own, alternative federal health plan, while 22 percent believe Republicans should move on from health care legislation and 56 percent believe Republicans should work with their Democrat counterparts to develop a bipartisan health plan.

Here’s how the 342 Central Valley respondents answered some of the other questions in the survey:

Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way the US Congress is handling its job?

28% Approve

66% Disapprove

6% Don’t know

Do you think things in California are generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction?

46%      Right direction

50%      Wrong direction

4%        Don’t know

Does the cost of your housing make you and your family seriously consider moving away from the part of California you live in now or not? (If yes, Does it make you consider moving elsewhere in California or outside of the state?)

35% Yes (6% Elsewhere in California, 28% outside the state, 1% other)

64% No

0% Don’t know

Please indicate which statement comes closest to your own view – even if neither is exactly right.

73% Immigrants are a benefit to California

24% Immigrants are a burden to California

3% don’t know.

All in all, would you favor or oppose building a wall along the entire border with Mexico?

31% Favor

68% oppose

0% Don’t know

View the entire survey and the statewide findings on the Public Policy Institute’s web page at or go directly to the report at

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