New Study Finds 8-in-10 Californians Are Registered to Vote

August 29, 2019 by Dan McCue

Voter registration is up in California, with 8-in-10 eligible adults registered. However, likely voters in the state still tend to be older, well-educated and disproportionately white, according to a study by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The Institute, a non-partisan public policy think tank, found that as of February 2019, 19.9 million of California’s 25.3 million eligible adults were registered to vote.

At 79.1% of eligible adults, this is an increase from the registration rate in 2015 (72.7%), the last year preceding a presidential election.

The share of registered voters who are Democrats (43.1%) is similar to what it was in 2015 (43.2%), while the share of Republicans (23.6%) has declined (28.0%).

At the same time, the share of voters who say they are independent (also known as “decline to state” or “no party preference”) has been increasing and is now 28.3%, up from 23.6% in 2015.

Dean Bonner, a research fellow at the Institute, told The Well News that one thing non-Californians should take away from the report is just how diverse California is.

“Further, while the state is diverse, those who turn out for elections tend to look differently than the general adult population—although that is changing,” he said.

Likely voters

Among likely voters in surveys conducted over the past year, 45% were Democrats, 27% were Republicans, 23% were independents, and 5% were registered with other parties.

Of those we consider infrequent voters, 41% were Democrats, 36% were independents, 20% were Republicans, and 4% were registered with other parties.

Among independent likely voters, 42% said they lean toward the Democratic Party, compared to 31% who lean toward the Republican Party and 26% who volunteer that they lean toward neither major party or were unsure.

Ideologically, 37% of likely voters self identify as  politically liberal, 29% are moderate, and 34% are conservative.

Among infrequent voters, 32% consider themselves liberal, 36% consider themselves moderate, and 32% consider themselves conservative.

White, Older Residents Most Likely to Vote

Whites make up only 42% of California’s adult population but 58% of the state’s likely voters.

In contrast, Latinos comprise 35% of the adult population but just 19% of likely voters. Asian Americans make up 15% of adults and 13% of likely voters, while 6% of both adults and likely voters are African American.

“Other race” and multiracial adults make up 3% of the adult population and 4% of likely voters.

About four in ten (38%) infrequent voters are white, and 35% are Latino. Nearly six in ten unregistered adults are Latino (56%); fewer are white (21%), Asian American (18%), or African American (3%).

When it comes to who California’solder electorate might favor on primary day, Bonner said only time will tell.

However, he also said a survey the Institute released in July might offer some clues.

It found former Vice President Joe Biden doing much better among older than younger likely voters, and Senator Bernie Sanders doing much better among younger than older. Sen. Kamala Harris garnered the most support among the 45 and older group, the study found.

Older, Affluent, and Born in the U.S.A.

Californians ages 55 and older make up 32% of the state’s adult population but constitute 47% of likely voters.

Young adults (ages 18 to 34) make up 33% of adults but only 20% of likely voters, while adults ages 35 to 54 are proportionally represented.

Eight in ten likely voters either have some college education (41%) or are college graduates (41%); 18% have no college education.

Almost half of likely voters (46%) have annual household incomes of $80,000 or more, while 27% earn between $40,000 and $80,000 and 27% earn $40,000 or less.

A strong majority of likely voters (67%) are homeowners, while one-third (33%) are renters.

In contrast, 69% of unregistered adults and 64% of infrequent voters are renters. The vast majority of likely voters (83%) were born in the United States (17% are immigrants). Women (53%) and men (47%) make up similar shares of California’s likely voters.

Regional Distribution

The share of likely voters in each region mirrors the region’s share of the state’s overall adult population:

Los Angeles County (26% of adults, 26% of likely voters);

San Francisco Bay Area (20% of adults, 22% of likely voters);

Orange/San Diego Counties (17% of adults, 17% of likely voters);

Central Valley (17% of adults, 17% of likely voters); and

Inland Empire (11% of adults, 9% of likely voters).

The largest shares of infrequent voters (29%) and unregistered adults (25%) live in Los Angeles County.

This research was supported with funding from the James Irvine Foundation.

State News

23 States Sue Trump Administration to Keep California's Auto Emission Rules State News
23 States Sue Trump Administration to Keep California's Auto Emission Rules
September 20, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON — California and 22 other states sued the Trump administration Friday to stop it from revoking the authority of The Golden State to set emission standards for cars and trucks. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the lawsuit against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration... Read More

Federal Judge Blocks California Law to Force Disclosure of Trump’s Tax Returns Taxes
Federal Judge Blocks California Law to Force Disclosure of Trump’s Tax Returns

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge ordered a temporary injunction Thursday against California’s first-in-the-nation law requiring candidates to disclose their tax returns for a spot on the presidential primary ballot, an early victory for President Donald Trump but a decision that will undoubtedly be appealed by... Read More

States Try to Combat Election Interference as Washington Deadlocks Elections
States Try to Combat Election Interference as Washington Deadlocks

WASHINGTON — With the White House and Congress paralyzed over how — or even whether — to act on intelligence agency warnings about foreign interference in U.S. elections, Maryland opted to take matters into its own hands. The state adopted transparency rules for political advertising on... Read More

Trump Revokes Rule Allowing Calif. to Set Stricter Auto Emission Standards Environment
Trump Revokes Rule Allowing Calif. to Set Stricter Auto Emission Standards

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expected Wednesday to revoke a decades-old rule that empowers California to set tougher car emissions standards than those required by the federal government — putting the state and the administration on a path to years of fighting in court. The... Read More

New Political Maps Pass NC Legislature, Judges Will Now Review State News
New Political Maps Pass NC Legislature, Judges Will Now Review

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s new political maps gained final approval from the N.C. House and Senate on Tuesday. Nearly all Republicans supported them, and Democrats were split. The maps can’t be vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper — the state constitution specifically forbids it — but... Read More

District of Columbia Evokes Spirit of 1776 in Battle for Statehood In The News
District of Columbia Evokes Spirit of 1776 in Battle for Statehood

WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton evoked the Founding Fathers to plead their case for district statehood while riding in a statehood parade to the Capitol on Monday. The two D.C. political leaders were joined in front of the... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top