With the release of the official Statement of the Vote, the final tally is in for the 2018 California primary. The election outcomes are encouraging news for California’s democracy—especially in light of criticisms of the top-two primary system by the national media. Several important statewide trends stand out:







The main takeaway from the June primary is that the vital signs of California’s democracy are healthy. In the wake of California’s many election reforms, records may be shattered in the numbers of registered voters and ballots cast this fall—and throughout the 2020s. The top-two primary system may have its quirks, but it is well suited for the burgeoning number of NPP voters. NPP candidates have found a home in the top-two primary, an NPP will be on the fall ballot, and there will likely be NPP statewide officeholders in the future. The fears about major party voters feeling left out of the fall election were overblown, and most top two candidates reflect the state’s diversity. Positive responses to the June ballot measures suggest an easy time for the state propositions from the legislature this fall; the fate of the nine citizens’ initiatives—including a repeal of the recent gas tax increase—is currently less clear.


At PPIC, the race for governor, US senator, and superintendent of public instruction stand out as uniquely worthy of public attention. We have invited the two candidates in each race to participate in conversations with me about the future of California. Stay tuned for more information about these public events. Meanwhile, throughout the fall the PPIC Statewide Survey will focus on the governor’s race, the US Senate election, and the congressional races—as well as the gas tax repeal and other state propositions that impact our future. We look forward to informing discussions and raising awareness about the importance of this consequential election for the state and nation.