New University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Poll on the California Economy and Budget


On behalf of the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in conjunction with American Viewpoint,conducted a new survey among 1,507 registered California voters. The latest survey shows:

  • California Republicans favor Romney
  • 48% of voters say charter schools provide better education
  • Majority of CA Voters Favor Increasing Taxes to Fund Public Schools

Key Findings

USC Dornsife College-LA Times FQ

USC Dornsife College-LA Times Crosstabs

  • President Obama maintains a comfortable lead in California, beating Mitt Romney in a vote matchup by 17 points and Herman Cain by 23 points.  With 57 percent of voters who give him a favorable rating, President Obama is well-positioned to carry California again in 2012.
  • Despite a generally favorable view of charter schools, California voters, by a three-to-one margin, would rather see an investment in improving the state’s existing public schools as opposed to investing more in increasing the number of charter schools.
  • Fifty-five percent of voters give the University of California system a favorable rating.  An identical 55 percent give the California State University system a favorable rating.  Only about one-quarter give each an unfavorable rating.  Despite a generally positive view of higher education in the state, the rising costs of higher education are being felt by these voters.  Only 33 percent think California’s public universities are somewhat affordable and only one in ten think they are very affordable.
  • Californians give the state’s public schools middling grades - a plurality of 41 percent give them a “C.”  However, voters think much more highly of their own neighborhood schools as opposed to schools in the state in general.  And these voters also have a clear openness to improving the system and making it work.  Nearly two-thirds support an increase in their own taxes to increase funding for California’s public schools.
  • Californians view public school teachers in a very positive light - more than three-quarters of voters have a favorable view of them and a majority thinks public school teachers in the state are underpaid.  Voters, and especially parents, are very supportive of measures to improve schools and improve teachers’ performance, like reducing class sizes and providing teachers with the opportunity to do an apprenticeship under a more experienced teacher.  Additionally, there is no support for making standardized testing the key measure of educational quality or success.

Articles

November 16

California Republicans favor Romney, poll finds - LA Times story

Romney Leads Republicans Among CA Voters - USC Dornsife story

November 17

48% of voters say charter schools provide better education - LA Times story 

November 18

Charter schools impress half of California voters - LA Times story 

November 19

Majority of CA Voters Favor Increasing Taxes to Fund Public Schools - USC Dornsife story

Methodology

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, in conjunction with American Viewpoint, conducted this survey on behalf of the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times.

These findings are based on a random sample survey of 1,500 (1,400 weighted) registered voters in the state of California, conducted from October 30th to November 9th, 2011.  Interviews were conducted by telephone using live interviewers from Interviewing Services of America.  Voters were randomly selected from a list of registered voters statewide and reached on a landline or cell phone depending on the number they designated on their voter registration.  Seventeen percent of this sample was reached on a cell phone.  Up to five attempts were made to reach and interview each randomly selected voter.  In order to examine distinctions and include a wider range of questions in this study, some questions were split into random half-samples, with 700 respondents in each split sample.

The study includes an oversample of Latino registered voters, with the total number of Latino voters interviewed at 476 (280 weighted).  All interviews among known Latinos were carried out via telephone by bilingual Latino interviewers, and conducted in the preferred language of the survey respondent, English or Spanish. Overall, 36 percent of interviews among the known Latino sample were conducted in Spanish and 64 percent in English. The technique of using fully bilingual interviewers yields higher response and cooperation rates and is greatly preferred because it does not terminate calls with Spanish-language households and require a callback.

Upon completion of all interviewing, the results were weighted to bring the Latino oversample population into line with the racial and ethnic composition of registered voters in California. The data were weighted to reflect the total population of registered voters throughout the state, balancing on regional and demographic characteristics for gender, age, race, and party registration according to known census estimates and voter file projections.

The maximum sampling error for the overall sample of 1,500 registered voters is +/- 2.52 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.  Margin of error for subgroups is higher.  The margin of error for the 476 Latino sample respondents is +/- 4.49 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.