The recent PPIC Statewide Survey offers an early snapshot of voters’ choices as we enter the November election cycle. The majority support for Governor Jerry Brown’s reelection and the Proposition 1 state water bond was widely cited in the media last week. But the poll also reveals surprising news about the voters’ overall mood this year: by a wide margin, likely voters would rather pay lower taxes and have a state government that provides fewer services (53%) than pay higher taxes and have a state government that provides more services (41%).
What is so special about this finding? We have been observing a slow but steady rise in the preference for lower taxes and fewer services since November 2012—when voters approved the Proposition 30 tax increase. In the 24 times since we first asked this question in our February 2003 poll, the preference for lower taxes and fewer services has usually been below 50 percent. Moreover, this preference has never exceeded 55 percent, placing the current reading close to the historic high.